Early Skilling Will Boost Confidence In Kids

Sandeep Singh Kaura, Chancellor, Lamrin Tech Skills University, Punjab, and Adviser to Govt of Punjab (Skill Development & Technical Education) delineates his university’s initiatives to empower the youth of the state

The skills movement has gained prominence in the country for over a decade. Would you say that as regards various parameters like infrastructure, availability of trainers, the relevance of courses to the industry needs and mapping of needs, we have done well?  

Skill development is very important for a sustainable future. It has become a priority area for all educational institutions and corporates. We have understood how we can train our future generation. Yes, we are dealing with infrastructure and trainers’ shortage. However, I am sure this is not a mammoth task to deal with. To understand the infrastructure and availability of trainers - first, we need to understand the National Education Policy (NEP). Under new guidelines, University Grant Commission (UGC) approved direct hiring (20 per cent) from the industry to get in-class training. In short, our institutions can hire trained faculties from the industry to train students. 

At LTSU, all degree and diploma programmes offered are completed two semesters in advance, without compromising on ‘overall academic credits’ and learning outcomes. In the penultimate semester, students necessarily go through ‘live laboratories’ either in ‘Finishing School’, ‘School of Startups’ or ‘Internationalisation School’ before starting their ‘on the job deployment’ in the last year. All students of LTSU are skilled through Bloom’s Taxonomy using Flipped Classroom.

What would you say about the same in the state of Punjab?    

Punjab’s tech universities are developing global leaders. Lamrin Tech Skills University is a technical skill-based university, aiming to foster the youth by offering an employability-driven curriculum. The motive behind this is to provide skill-based education. For instance, LTSU students of engineering are taught up to 5th semesters basic and advanced engineering concepts and the 6th semester is the live laboratories to give them hands on training. In the last two semesters i.e. 7th & 8th, students are sent on the deployment in the industry where they would be working as a trained and productive resource right from the day one. The credits for these last two semesters would be shared by the industry to enable the university to provide final BE degree. We also prepare our students to be a part of the World Skills Competition. 

What support are universities expecting from the government? Do they get all the requirements?  

The government is extending all support to the skill universities in India including some policies changes. The government has set up regulatory body known as National Council Vocational Education & Training (NCVET) to establish regulations and standards to ensure quality in the Technical, Vocational, Education and Training (TVET). The government is also extending funding to the universities for various industry based vocational programmes.  

Do you think the NEP, with its emphasis on skills at an early age, will be a game changer?

Yes. The world has changed rapidly, so why have we stuck to a 34-year-old policy? We should be happy to implement training and practical aspects at the school level. It will boost confidence in our kids. When they join college/university, they will be well-versed with functions of skills and training. 

India is also part of the World Skills competition which happens once every two years and we also hold India Skills. How are our participants doing and what benefits do they get out of it?

Through such programmes, our students get a chance to showcase their talent on the international stage. India Skills National Competition was held from 6 to 10 January 2022. Students from 26 states and union territories displayed their talent in 54 skills such as beauty therapy, cyber security, floristry, robot system integration, cloud computing, water technology, painting and decorating, and health and social care, among others. The best-selected talent goes for the World Skills competition. To find out the best talent in Punjab, we had set up 42 different skill sets in 23 zones. The finalists appear at the national level and then the sky has no limit. Six students from Punjab participated in the previous World Skills competition. 

What is the thrust of employability at your institute — job seeking or entrepreneurship?

LTSU, set up in 2021, is ‘Industry Incubated’ Skill University in India by IBM as anchor partner along with three other partners - TATA Technologies, Ansys and RERT. But, when it comes to placement and employability, we have set up a system to achieve 100 per cent of it. Not even a single student of LTSU will sit idle after their graduation. Some of them will bag decent job offers, some will become job creators and some of them will be trained to be researchers or crack Civil Service Examinations through University School of Research and University School of Competitive Examinations respectively. LTSU also supports students who want to pursue their dream overseas through the School of International Curriculum.

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