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Odisha Minister Stresses on Expanding Skill Development Programme to Higher Education and Industrial Sectors

Bhubaneswar: Skill Development Programmes should not be limited to a select category of students but should be extended to higher education courses and linked to Mission Shakti and the industrial sector, according to Minister Sampad Swain. During a review meeting on the Skill Development Programme, the Minister emphasized the importance of linking skill development specifically to industry and the industrial sector, as well as with Mission Shakti.

Minister Swain highlighted that despite pacts being signed between industrialists and companies to absorb the youth of Odisha, many positions are still being filled by individuals from outside the state due to a lack of skill development among local youths. This, he stressed, makes it imperative to integrate skill development training programmes with industry needs and higher education institutions.

The Principal Secretary of the Department, Usha Padhee, provided an overview of the ongoing projects. She stated that the Department aims to link skill development with job opportunities. To raise awareness among the youth, it is proposed to launch “Kaushal Rath,” a mobile awareness campaign for skill development. The Kaushal Rath will travel across all 30 districts, focusing on high schools, ashram schools, childcare institutions, Primitive Vulnerable Tribal Groups, ITIs, and polytechnics. For this purpose, two OSRTC buses will be outfitted with advanced audio-visual facilities and experimental labs for hands-on experience in selected trades.

Local public representatives, parents, and students will be invited to participate in the programme. Additionally, the first Kaushal Bhawan is being developed within the premises of the World Skill Centre in Bhubaneswar to provide hospitality training to youth, with facilities for training in culinary science, food and beverages, housekeeping services, and front office operations. The Bhawan will have the capacity to skill 310 youths annually, with plans for gradual expansion.

Another initiative, the Chief Minister’s Skill Development Fellowship Programme, has been launched in line with the Mahatma Gandhi National Fellowship Programme to support District Skill Development and Employment Officers. This will also supplement model career centres. Padhee also mentioned the mandatory participation in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), which evaluates teaching, learning, and resources, including student-teacher ratios, faculty qualifications and experience, and faculty-student ratios.

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