Showing the way to the Centre, the Rajasthan government is set to open the country’s first government-run Skills University. The state promulgated an Ordinance in this regard recently and officials are hopeful that it could start courses later this year.

“The ordinance has just been promulgated. The Vice-Chancellor will soon be appointed and the Board will be set up. They will take forward the work for setting the curricula and the courses,” said an official familiar with the development, adding that land and funds for the university had already been allocated.

Apart from advanced courses, the university is also expected to enhance a worker’s self-respect and competency by providing him or her with formal certification.

“Skilling courses don’t often get the same respect as given to traditional college courses such as a BA or BCom or engineering. It is looked down upon as second choices made by students who don’t have the capability or finances to go for traditional avenues of higher education,” said another official.

Pact with ILD

To this end, the Rajasthan government had in 2015 signed an agreement with the Institute of Leadership Development (ILD), set up by IFCI Limited, under which the institute would convert itself into a Skills University.

The proposed university will use the recently unveiled National Skills Qualification Framework to provide advanced skilling courses, train trainers and also work with the industry on research and development. It is also likely to work with the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Advanced level training

“Most skilling courses currently provide training in levels 1 to 4 but as such, there are no institutes that provide training opportunities in more advanced levels such as 5 and above under the NSQF,” said the official.

Under Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, the State has been working on various skilling initiatives and also plans to set up a similar university in the private sector.

Other States, such as Delhi, are also working on skilling courses at advanced levels. The Delhi University had also signed an agreement with the National Skill Development Corporation to make skilling courses a part of its courses. Similarly, the Gujarat government has set up the TeamLease Skills University under public-private partnership mode in Vadodara.

Legislation likely

To make skill training more acceptable and bring it into the mainstream, the Centre is also mulling the option to introduce a legislation to allow for setting up of a National Skills University.

“The proposed Skill Development University will be completely different from regular universities,” Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy had said.

The government hopes that encouragement to vocational training would help find employment opportunities for the over 70 lakh new entrants to the workforce annually.