Now, tech education for poorest of the poor

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Old 14-Aug-2010
Now, tech education for poorest of the poor

Chandigarh, August 13

Punjab has 93 engineering colleges but technical education still remains out of bounds for the poor. This is likely to be addressed now with the Technical Education Department setting in motion a proposal to provide free technical education to the poorest of the poor free of charge.

The proposal envisages the creation of one institution initially over 300 to 400 acres which will offer basic engineering courses. This would be followed by two more such institutions. The first institution, which will enrol around 1,000 students for the 2011 academic session, is likely to be run by a society including representatives of national and international NGOs as well as representatives of Punjab Technical University (PTU).

PTU Vice-Chancellor Rajneesh Arora was asked to make a detailed proposal for the institution by Secretary, Technical Education, Suresh Kumar during a meeting held here yesterday. According to the proposal, the society, which has provisionally been named the Society for Provision of Technical Education to Rural Poor, will primarily cater to the poorest of the poor only. There will be no merit list or entrance test and family income will be the only criterion for admission.

The Secretary, Technical Education, said the department realised that many of the students might not be able to come up to the required expectations. He said the institution would therefore be patterned in such a manner that students could take admission direct after class X or class XII and take up two-year ITI courses, three-year polytechnic studies or a six- year engineering degree. “Multi-level entry and exit will give flexibility to the programme and also allow scope for self-improvement”, he said, adding the institution would also teach language skills to bring students up to a certain level.

In fact, the proposal borrows from the rural university proposal initiated by the erstwhile Congress government that could not bear fruit and also the example of Yadvindra College of Engineering, Talwandi Sabo, initiated by the then Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Swarn Singh Boparai. What, however, is different is that there is a proposal for more than one institution offering flexibility in courses. Among the areas where the institution could come up is Ferozepur district.

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