GUWAHATI, July 21 � The Government of�Assam�today entered into a memorandum of understanding with Pearson, the world�s largest education business group, with an objective to give a much required fillip to the education sector by linking the formal and vocational education sectors.
The public-private partnership, which was announced today, will serve as a platform for the introduction of the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF), a more ambitious national programme to integrate skills, training and qualifications in schools.
Under this first of its kind initiative in the entire country, Pearson, the world�s largest education enterprise, will set up vocational skills centres in ten specially-selected government schools of Assam, initially offering two training streams, in retail and computer hardware and IT.
Speaking at the launch of the partnership in Kamrup Academy HS School here, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that it is a matter of great pride for the State that before its national launch, the precursor to NVEQF has been started in Assam. �I am proud to say that�Assam�is leading the way in�India�in preparing today�s generation for tomorrow�s world.�
Lauding the efforts of the State government in introducing computers in schools, Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh said that computer-based vocational education in schools is another major achievement of the State.
Further stressing the need to generate skill-based employment, he said that very soon the government would launch the scheme of providing skill-development training to one member of each family, which has completed 100 days employment under the MGNREGA.
Speaking at the launch, Khozem Merchant, president of Pearson�India, said that other than improving the employment opportunities for young people, the programme would equip them to face the challenges of the modern-day world.
�We are grateful for the opportunity to work collaboratively with�the Government of Assam. We both believe that young people in Assam deserve to be fully prepared for the challenges of an incredibly different and dynamic world of work and our common endeavour will be to achieve that objective.�
The design and implementation of the programme has seen close collaboration between all stakeholders, from teachers, academic administrators, students, and trainers as well as State government officials. The courses will be introduced for students in standard IX in August 2012, before moving into higher classes with a wider portfolio. �Vocational education will allow young people to develop rewarding careers in multiple fields in our expanding economy, helping themselves as well as Assam,� said Himanta Biswa Sarma, the Minister for Education�at the launch of the first skills delivery centre at Kamrup Academy.
�After the launch of vocational courses in ten schools this year, such courses would be included in the curriculum of SEBA and AHSEC from next year,� he added.
S Ramadorai, advisor to the Prime Minister on National Skill Development Council, who was also present on the occasion, said that �vocational education in schools will harness the potential of youth and give them many more avenues for employment as adults.�
�The skills courses will be held in fully and newly equipped classrooms and learning labs presided over by trainers specially prepared for the programme. The curriculum encourages the use of audio-visual aids, and includes lectures by industry experts and visits to factories to familiarize students with real working situations. To ensure no disruption to the formal school day, the skills training will be held after school hours.