Where there is a will there’s a way. This maxim holds true for the J&K Skill Development Department (SDD) which has made an impressive come-back in terms of the enrollment of students in different technical institutes (ITIs and Polytechnic Colleges) across J&K.
During the previous years, the polytechnic institutes in J&K would receive a meager response from the students for their admission throwing a major challenge for the J&K SDD and the Directorate of Technical Education (DOTE) J&K to enhance the admission in these institutes to keep the ball rolling.
The poor performance in admissions in the polytechnic colleges also proved costly for the department in release of funds from AICTE during the previous years.
In 2018, the situation was so grim that 14 of 16 new polytechnic colleges were barred from making fresh admission as the enrollment had come down from 64 to 35 percent in four years till 2018.
The total intake capacity of these colleges, as reported in 2019, was 5765 students- 2260 in private colleges, 3505 in government colleges and 360 in women colleges.
These colleges offer admissions in 20 different courses. However, the admission in these polytechnics had witnessed a downslide and posed a challenge for the department to keep these institutes functional.
The admission in these colleges came down from 64.22 percent in 2014 to 35.77 percent in 2018 as against the intake capacity of 3505 students in government polytechnics only 2364 seats were filled in 2014 while as in 2018 only 1575 students approached for admission in these institutes.
In wake of this downward trend several polytechnic colleges were closed in J&K, two in Jammu and one in Kashmir. Owing to this admission scenario the institutions are confronted with financial crises, taking a toll on quality of education.
Faced with multiple challenges, the SDD and the DoTE chalked out different strategies to revamp the admission process in these technical institutes.
During the 2021 academic session, the Directorate of Technical Education launched an extensive awareness campaign to make an impressive comeback and revamp the admission process in the polytechnic institutes.
The department involved all the stakeholders and reached out to the target audiences in order to create awareness about the institutes and the courses offered to the students.
The department reached out to schools, colleges, PRIs, DDCs and other stakeholders in order to create massive awareness about the technical institutes.
These joint efforts proved fruitful for the department with the result around 92 to 93 percent seats were filled during the 2021 admission session and around 97 percent seats were filled in 2022 academic session.
It is obviously the outcome of the hard work done by the Principals and team of these polytechnic colleges which remained proactive in reaching out to students to get their admissions in these institutes.
“And for the first time, we had to go ahead with admission in ITIs on the basis of merit as against 15000 seats available we received 35000 applications from students for their admission in ITIs. This was a big achievement for us,” director technical education Sudharshan Kumar said.
“Students who apply for admissions to ITIs and polytechnic institutes are either 8th pass or 10th pass who do not get admission in any engineering colleges or some are school dropouts. So, we take it as our social responsibility to provide them an opportunity to get skilled and live a dignified life,” Kumar said.
Notably, after witnessing a downslide in admission till 2018, the J&K SDD took up the matter with J&K government and it was decided that the admissions will be done by the DoTE.
Earlier the admissions in polytechnic institutes were done by the JK Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE).
However, from the last two years, the admissions in polytechnic institutes are done by the BOTE and DoTE in ITIs which has borne fruitful results for the department.
Besides improvement in admissions, the department has also conducted 15-20 placement fairs at government Polytechnic institutes and ITIs ensuring jobs for around 5000 candidates.
The SDD has developed Entrepreneurship Development Cells in all the Polytechnics of J&K where students are assisted in setting up their enterprises and requisite training is provided through Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI).
Presently, J&K has 53 ITIs and around 29 polytechnic colleges including seven private and 22 run by the government. Out of the 22 polytechnic colleges, one each has been taken over by the management of Islamic University of Science and Technology and Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (GBSBU) Rajouri.
The total intake capacity in private polytechnic colleges is 2140 while the intake in government polytechnic colleges is around 3225 excluding the two polytechnic colleges run by IUST and GBSBU.
The ITIs, providing a more fundamental type of training, are located in all the major townships while the Polytechnics, aiming at producing middle order technical personnel, are located at all the district headquarters of the UT of J&K.
These institutes aim at improving the quality of Vocational Training through better content and better educational tools and improving the evaluation system so as to create healthy competition among the Institutions and the Students towards Excellence.
These technical institutes act as catalysts in projecting the students to act as agents of change in the society and provide the best possible education facilities for training for bright careers in government ITIs and Polytechnics across J&K UT.
Besides formal training in established institutes both in ITI and Polytechnic sectors various other schemes of human resource capacity development have been taken up in hand by the department.
The department is acting as a nodal department for Skill Development Mission in J&K with its own target of training 78593 youth in different employable technical skills over a period of five years.
The J&K SDD has envisioned creating a Human resource pool with spectrum of technical competencies at cutting edge levels and is achieving its goals by expanding access to Skill Development & Training to all through expansion and up-gradation while improving the quality standards of education and training by regular revision of curriculum through strong industry interaction.
Since 2020, the department of Skill Development Department has done a tremendous job in improving the admission and infrastructure of these polytechnic institutes. The whole system has been revamped by the government in these polytechnic colleges to benefit the students who secure admission in these technical institutes.
The achievements marked by the department in the last two years are completely praise worthy and the department should work with the same zeal to bring reforms in these skill development institutes.
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The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.