HYDERABAD: While the Centre is pushing for vocational education with separate skill development service cadre, the focus on vocational skills is declining among students in Telangana. To rectify this, the Telangana State Council of Higher Education (TSCHE) is mulling introduction of vocational skills at undergraduate level from the next academic year.

As per a report by the ministry of human resource development, there were over 7,510 boys and 5,103 girls enrolled in vocational courses at higher secondary level in 2014-15 across the state. As of now, vocational skills are given only till the intermediate level and the council’s plan to extend it aims to make students employable at any stage.

“Focus on vocational skills is declining with students pursuing higher education without knowing where their real interest lies. This state of dilemma also adds to rate of unemployment among youth,” said T Papi Reddy, chairman of TSCHE. He pointed out various studies that have revealed how a meagre 18-20% engineering students are employable.

The TSCHE will soon hold consultation meetings with all stakeholders to discuss the subjects to be introduced at the UG level. “The guidelines will be framed soon after discussing it with college principals and teachers among others,” said Venkata Chalam, vice-chairman of TSCHE.

“The skills will be subject to the students and the courses that they are enrolled in,” said Reddy.

According to sources, subjects such retail management, information technology, hospitality etc. are expected to be introduced. The skill-based programmes will be credit based and won’t have any exams. Students at the UG level can pursue the programme along with their regular course. At present, only environment studies are introduced as a skill-based programmed at UG level.

Incidentally, the University Grants Commission (UGC) had granted nearly 11 community colleges in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana early this year to boost vocation education in the state. According to UGC guidelines, any college equipped with facilities to accommodate students in vocational and employment-based courses are eligible to function as community colleges. Aim of these colleges is to provide both vocational and skill development along with conventional courses.

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