The technologically fuelled industrial world of the present times demands competitive and skilled youth who can withstand and thrive in the pressures and challenges of the contemporary industry and corporate milieus. The educational curriculum has been in the process of constant up gradation owing to the changes, yet still remain deficient in means to impart skill training and basics of skilling to the students. It is as an amendment to this impasse that the governments thought of a novel initiative to offer skill and enhancement training to students during their period of school and college education without compromising on their regular education. Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP) a joint initiative of the Higher Education and General Education Departments of Kerala was implemented cherishing this vision.
ASAP successfully brought a radical change in the skill enhancement of the youth and have made commendable progress in ensuring a strong presence felt in over 1074 institutions from its inception in 2012. It runs a curriculum parallel to the regular education curriculum of schools and colleges, keeping apart extra hours outside the institution’s working hours to train selected batches of students in Communicative English, IT and a skill module of the student’s choice. ASAP has played a focal role in training nearly one lakh students in numerous skill sectors, over the years. The carefully crafted Foundation and Skill Curriculum along with the compulsory industry internship bring a promise of quality and standard to ASAP training, producing competent, confident and skilled professionals, fit for the industry requirements of the time. ASAP aims to inculcate certain crucial employability skills in the Youth that focuses on bringing a holistic change in their minds through its practical-based and student-centered training methods.
So far, the service was exclusively given to a chosen few at each institution in the Higher Secondary and Degree levels, and the transformation that they underwent was promising, giving high hopes for a future of skilled and employment-ready Youth. It is with this confidence and certainty that the Universities of Kerala decided to imbibe the ASAP Programme into their own framework as an effort to offer the benefits and expertise the course delivers to more students who are willing to enrich and furnish themselves. ASAP has also been called in for the enhancement of skill sets for students from class 9th onwards to the students of the six universities of Kerala, in an attempt to trigger the process of holistic training and skilling from an early phase on, where courses complying to NSQF levels will be catered out to the students.
The University Integration Programme envisages integrating ASAP Courses into the University system to offer skill training to the students of the undergraduate course. University Integration Programme has thus, put forth an extensive pathway for the college students to find and nurture their skills adding higher value and capacity to their regular course of education. The industry-driven skill development programme, with curriculum developed by industries and vetted by accredited agencies, ensure quality wherein industry experts or industry trained professionals will engage sessions for the students. It is a judicious mix of theoretical and practical subjects, where more than half of the entire syllabus is devoted to practical learning.
The Mahatma Gandhi University and many of its affiliated colleges have come forward, for offering ASAP courses at the Undergraduate level that will be certified by the University. The state level inauguration of the programme under Mahatma Gandhi Univerisity was launched in April 2017. Initially, the courses will be offered as Add-on courses where the students will be eligible for a separate certification jointly by the University and ASAP.
The University of Kerala, for the first time, has decided to offer ASAP skill courses to Post Graduate students with the credits separately included in the mark list issued by the university. ASAP has also initiated efforts to offer skill courses to the undergraduate students of the University Institutes of Technology (UITs) from this year onwards. Apart from this, discussions are also on to introduce DOT model skill courses in the affiliated colleges of the University. Similarly, preliminary discussions have been completed to introduce ASAP courses in Calicut University, Kannur University, Malayalam University and the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit.
ASAP Courses so far has been framed to aid the higher secondary and Arts and science college students in Government/Aided institutions. Efforts were always on to expand the boundaries and include more age groups and areas into the gamut of ASAP Training. APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU) integration is one such opportunity that helps materialize hopes of the Engineering world into reality. KTU is in a process of entrusting ASAP with a B.Tech Minor Programme for the Engineering students. Through this, ASAP will get the opportunity to offer and execute the BTech minor programmes consisting of four courses each in NSQF Levels 4 to 6 spread over 4 semesters, following a credit based evaluation.