Offering additional Skill courses from Universities in association with
ASAP - Additional Skill Acquisition Programme
The guidelines issued from University Grants Commission meeting the objectives laid down in the Plan Documents, from time to time recognised the importance of providing additional skill courses for students along with their regular courses for making them more employable. AICTE also underlines the relevance and importance of offering additional skill courses and aligning all course curriculum with National Skill Qualification Framework (NSQF). Various bodies suggested different models for incorporating skill courses like ADD ON mode, as an ELECTIVE, or as PART OF COURSE. The promulgation of NSQF by Government of India filled the gaps that existed earlier with respect to uniformity in standards and provision of career progress through multiple entry and exit routes. The new draft Educational Policy, the Skill Policy of 2015, National Curriculum Framework, Kerala Curriculum Framework etc. also recognise the need of acquiring the additional skills by the students and youth. Thus, it is widely accepted that integration of skilling initiatives with existing educational systems should be increased and encouraged.
In Kerala, a project by name Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP) has been running for the last three years. Based on the new national protocol of Skilling, ASAP is considered as a successful model of imparting skills along with studies for regular school or college going students. By new national protocol, it is meant that the industry relevant jobs are identified as specific job roles, competencies are fixed for each job role as Quality packs (QP), allow agencies other than the existing government educational institutions to design courses based on these quality packs, align the particular course to the relevant level of NSQF, transact the class using the faculties directly from industries and private training agencies, get the assessments done using third party assessments agencies and certify them through the sector skill councils which are the apex associations of respective industries. ASAP is a mission mode project jointly undertaken by General and Higher Education departments of Kerala to facilitate all these activities.
ASAP as of now offering courses in 105 government and aided colleges affiliated to various Universities in Kerala in 2015-16. Under this programme, 180 hours of Foundation module to transact communication, IT and life skills, 150 hours of a particular domain skills and another 150 hours of internship for the specific domain skills are offered as an ASAP level 1 course to students. After the course, for successful students, certificates are given jointly by Government of Kerala and concerned Sector Skill council (SSC). (SSCs are national level bodies representing industries of a particular sector, For example, Telecom Sector Skill council represents all industries from manufacturing to servicing areas) ASAP model of skilling is considered to be a successful model to equip the youth studying outside the vocational and technical institutions as ASAP students’ communication abilities, confidence levels, and overall employability was accepted as high compared to other students.
There were suggestions from Government of Kerala to all Universities in Kerala to consider offering ASAP level 1 courses as an ADD ON mode in the colleges affiliated to respective courses. Various meetings were held under Chairmanship of Hon. Chief Minister, Hon. Education Minister and Additional Chief Secretary (Higher Education) with all Vice Chancellors of various Universities. In the last meeting held on 01/01/2016 under the Chairmanship of ACS (Higher Education), a timeline was suggested to offer ASAP course in an ADD ON mode without any credit transfer.
ASAP will take the facilitating role as knowledge partner to liaison with various Sector Skill councils and Industry associations. ASAP will submit relevant materials for learning before Universities. For each specific job role, these materials include details of Job role, Quality Pack(QP) of the specific job role, model curriculum prepared by the concerned Sector Skill council, Syllabus, Participants Handbook, Trainers’ handbook, Quality Framework, Assessment guide, and Lab manual. (Quality Framework is the detailed description of method of class transaction session by session divided on an hourly basis) ASAP will also take up a campaign to spread awareness in the interested colleges. ASAP will also share the administrative responsibilities for assessments and certification using its Management Information System. Certain amount will be allocated for meeting the operational expenses of offering skill courses like electricity, water charge, stationary and incidental charges. This charge will be borne by ASAP.
As per the decisions of the meeting, Universities will have the following responsibilities:
1. Get approval of ASAP courses from the concerned committee/bodies of Universities.
2. Intimate all affiliated colleges University’s permission to start ASAP Courses with the approved contents
3. Supervise the conduct and progress of classes.
4. Once the courses are completed, after collecting the assessment details from independent assessment agencies of SSC through ASAP, certify the students. This can be joint certification of individual University, Industry represented by SSC and Government of Kerala represented by Director of Technical Education (DTE).
5. Appointing one dedicated official in charge of coordinating the ASAP courses in University in the lines of Director, Students services or Programme Co-ordinator, NSS.
All the courses will be fee based. The structure of fee will be as per the existing mode ASAP fee structure. The Course varies from 7500 to 12500. All BPL students, students belonging to SC/ST/OBC categories are exempted from paying the fees. The courses will be held after or before the regular class hours. There will not be any credit transfer from any of these certificate courses to main course. Individual colleges can choose course/courses from ASAP skill bouquet. It decision to take up any course is purely based on the willingness of individual college. In turn, it will be up to the individual student to take up the ASAP course. But courses can be started only if enough students are there for a selected course. In general, the individual batch strength will be 30.