RAMNATH N PAI RAIKAR | NT
Even though the department of education has started providing alternate education to the ‘weak students’ at the Class IX level under the National Skills Qualifications Framework of the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship – a competency-based framework that organises all qualifications according to a series of levels of knowledge, skills and aptitude – the permission of the Union ministry of human resource development to conduct courses under the NSQF only in the government high schools has brought limitations to the efforts of the DoE in imparting skill-based education to such students.
The particular scenario has resulted in only 12 per cent of the total number of students desiring to take benefit of this alternate skill-based education, being able to do so.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has personally requested Union HRD Minister Prakash Jawdekar to allow aided as well as unaided high schools in the state to conduct the NSQF courses along with the government high schools.
Incidentally, only 19,570 students out of the total 29,437 students who appeared for Class IX examination in March/ April 2016 were promoted and enrolled in Class X, for the academic year 2016-17. The 9,867 students, who failed in the Class IX examination in March/ April 2016, were mostly found to have been hit by the no-detention policy under the Right to Education Act, with many of them choosing to drop out of the school.
The statistics also shows that only 9,630 male students out of the total 16,264 male students who appeared for Class IX examination in March/ April 2016 were promoted and enrolled in Class X for the academic year 2016-17. This indicates 6,634 male students failing at the particular examination.
The statistics further points out that only 9,940 female students out of the total 13,173 female students who appeared for Class IX examination in March/ April 2016 were promoted and enrolled in Class X for the academic year 2016-18. This indicates 3,233 female students failing at the particular examination.
Director of education G P Bhat said that presently the department of education has implemented the NSFQ courses in altogether 77 government high schools.
“We, on one side, are trying to bring more and more dropouts at Class IX level under this alternate education, while on the other, trying to reduce the number of students facing detention at the Class IX level,” he maintained, stating that the number of high schools making available NSFQ courses needs to be increased, especially by roping in aided as well as unaided schools.
The department of education, during the academic year 2014-15, introduced four sectoral studies namely healthcare, automobile, retail and IT/ITeS in 38 government high schools. During the next academic year that is during 2015-16, the department introduced 11 more sectors like agriculture, travel and tourism, hospitality, construction, apparel, and so on, with 38 more government schools being asked to conduct these courses. Furthermore, during the academic year 2016-17, the city-based technical school was added to this list to conduct electrical and electronics course.
The vice-principals of some vocational schools in the state, who have been specially recruited by the department of education to handle the alternate skill-based education, informed that last year, the first batch of students who opted for NSFQ courses appeared for the SSC examination as recognised by the Goa Board, and 1,053 of them cleared the same.
“In fact, we have resource persons from the industry teaching these students as well as conducting the examination,” they stated, pointing out that besides certificate of clearing Class X from the Goa Board, these students also receive skill certificate of the National Skill Development Corporation valid throughout the country.
It was further informed that in many cases, such students clearing the SSC examination desire to go at the further level of study. However, since there are only nine government higher secondary schools in Goa, it becomes difficult to accommodate all of them due to unavailability of seats in these institutions.
“It would therefore be convenient if the Union HRD Minister allows the aided and unaided higher secondary schools in Goa, to conduct such courses, especially as many of these aided and unaided higher secondary institutions are more than willing to do so,” they stated.