Container schools to impart job skills to students

New Delhi, June 29 (IANS) Integrating education with industry, a set of schools, run out of old freight-carrying containers, are ready to be launched to provide students with job skills. Here they would be taught as well as trained on various aspects of their work free of cost.

Conceptualised by Safeducate, (a concern of Safexpress – a logistic services provider for e-commerce companies), these eco-friendly mobile schools are fabricated by joining four old containers together, and are intended to meet industry’s huge need of skill.

“The idea is to get students (Class 12 pass or graduates) to study in an industry setup. Each container (which has reached the end of its freight-carrying life) is refurbished and can be sent to different locations on a standard truck-trailer. They can be installed at any open location where quality infrastructure is not available. They come fully equipped and currently only require an electric connection to fire up,” Safeducate CEO Divya Jain told IANS.

The initiative has been undertaken under the aegis of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) launched by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

“Our main focus would be on students from the disadvantaged sector, especially those from below poverty line (BPL) families. We have identified 35 job skills like warehouse packers and binners, delivery boys and truck drivers for which they would require basic communication and mathematical skills. The courses are NSDC accredited ,” Jain added.

The first such school would be launched soon in Ambala in Haryana by Minister of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy. It would have 189 students who have been shortlisted after an age, skill and need analysis procedure and would be taught on a rotational basis.

Jain explained that each school would comprise a set of four containers, which could accommodate around 25 students each along with providing an activity area, computer laboratory, library and washrooms.

“Each container is almost like a Lego piece; depending on the environment, the number of classrooms (containers) can be increased or decreased. Each container is an independent unit and can be fabricated based on the need,” she said, adding that since the setup was portable, it could be transported to any location where skilling was a need, even temporarily, and moved from there to another location as required.

Jain, who holds a masters in management from the University of Cambridge, said more self-sustaining models (such as with solar panels) were being worked out to reduce the reliance on available infrastructure.

The students would be trained for 30-45 days after which they would be placed with various setups, apart from e-commerce ventures like Flipkart, Jabong and Snapdeal, among others.

“We need to make skilling aspirational. Also, the certificate these students would get would be ministry accredited and equivalent to a diploma. We plan to have 20 such schools across the country in places like Agra, Jamshedpur, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune – all in rural areas,” Jain explained.

Agreeing that retaining the students after the completion of the course would be one of the biggest challenges, Jain added that students would be tracked for a period of three months once their training is over. They would be taught by individuals identified from within the industry.

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