To further strengthen the vocational and technical training framework, the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indira Gandhi Open University (IGNOU), on Tuesday. 

According to the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, the partnership aims to link vocational education and training with higher education, making India’s youth employable by creating avenues for them to access better work opportunities. The trainees attached to National Skill Training Institutes (NSTI), Industrial Training Institutes (ITI), Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK) and Jan Shikshan Sansthans (JSS) will benefit from the programme, aimed at creating upward mobility of these students to be able to attain higher education for better livelihood opportunities, said the ministry.

 Under the partnership, 32 NSTIs, more than 3,000 Government ITIs, 500 PMKKs and nearly 300 JSS will be associated with IGNOU as Registration Centres, Examination Centres and Work Centres for hands-on training, stated the ministry. As per the ministry, through the collaboration, students will now get an opportunity to join the three-year degree programme of IGNOU.

There shall be a Project Steering Committee with representatives from both MSDE and IGNOU to monitor and review the progress of the programme. The MoU is initially for a period of 10 years subject to renewal on mutual agreement.

This MoU is in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goal 4.4 and the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 for increasing Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education including vocational education to 50 per cent by 2035, said the ministry. Rajesh Aggarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship lauded the initiative and expressed that India’s young demographic dividend is the engine of its economic progress and needs access to meaningful pathways to receive quality education as well as skill, and vocational training.

The initiative is aimed in this direction as it provides higher social and economic mobility to our youth, with requisite qualifications, he added. He further said that our Prime Minister’s vision is to fulfil the aspirations of India’s youth and prepare them for the future world of work and this initiative is aligned with it.

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