In view of India’s and global gaps in skilling and to address these, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU)—India’s premier institution and a central university, and the Centurion University of Technology and Management (CUTM)—India’s first premier skills university and an Centre of Excellence (COE) of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MoSDE) based out of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, have joined hands to enhance understanding and excellence to promote exchange, cooperation in and delivering skills integration in higher education, academics, research especially action research, innovation and entrepreneurship.
In a wide-ranging collaboration, JNU and CUTM have signed an MoU today for institutional collaboration through sharing experiences, best practices, and knowledge with the key objective to promote and strengthen academic and research cooperation to deliver relevant, appropriate and market driven skills integrated higher education.
This collaboration is enormously significant and noteworthy in view of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, wherein the NEP has laid a special emphasis on vocational education through integration and mainstreaming of vocational education with general education. This partnership will therefore help students and learners across the country in acquiring various skills as per the requirements of the industries and needs of the society besides complying with the core objectives of the NEP.
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MoSDE) in India is already driving this shift towards skilling individuals for future jobs, with initiatives such as the “Recognition of Prior Learning” (RPL) and the “National Credit Framework” (NCrF)—the single meta framework and recently announced National Higher Education Qualification Framework NHEQF) by the UGC.
The two universities have decided to undertake a mission-driven approach to:
§ Collaborate in designing and delivering higher education, academics, research, vocational education and skill development as envisioned in the NEP 2020.
§ Explore specific areas of engagement between the School of Languages, Atal Bihari Vajpayee School of Management and Entrepreneurship, School of Biotechnology, School of Physical Sciences, Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health and other Schools or Centres to enhance and integrate skills in higher education.
§ Explore and work closely in community outreach programmes focusing on skills integration for enhancing employability and entrepreneurship.
§ To explore the possibilities for joint certificate programmes in various industrial clusters as per the need of the industries and in line with NCrF.
§ To explore the possibilities for a pilot centre at the earliest in Delhi closer to JNU to deliver action learning and skills integrated certificate and advance courses.
§ To rope in industry partners to enhance the quality and outcome of teaching and learning.
Speaking on this rare occasion, Prof. Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit, Vice Chancellor, JNU said: “Let me compliment both my staff, the Centurion University and the group here… that we have signed an MoU today, which is in itself one of the beginnings of JNU going into new vistas. Centurion University is very different type of a private university which is more committed to community and society, and JNU is also committed to this, though we are a Central Government university. And because our values come together, we hope that we will be able to do joint programmes, wherein we not only help the marginalised as well as we bring in excellence with empathy, equality with equity, and inclusion with integrity”.
Prof. Supriya Pattanayak, Vice Chancellor, CUTM, said: “It is a matter of privilege and honour for all of us, and for our Centurion University to have collaborated with JNU. Together, to implement the National Education Policy, 2020, we hope to explore and work on a range of skills outreach work across India, integrate future of skills with future of education. This association not only will further advance our resolve on skills integration in higher education for the bottom of the pyramid, but also help in reducing the huge skills gap between white and blue-collar workers in the country.”
The MoU signing ceremony was also attended by Prof. Satish Chandra Garkoti (Rector-I, JNU), Dr. Utpal Kumar Debnath (Controller of Examinations, JNU), Manoj Kumar Manuj, (Dy. Registrar, JNU), and Abhinav Madan (Director, Skills, CUTM), Monalisha Ghosh (Associate Director, Partnerships, CUTM), and Abhishek Chaturvedi (Director, NCR Operations, Gram Tarang Employability Training Services—GTET). GTET is a social enterprise and skills outreach arm of CUTM, jointly instituted by National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) and CUTM, that has skilled over half a million individuals.
Earlier, in April 2023, the university leaders had participated at the G20 summit on ‘Future of Skills’ at Bhubaneshwar and had deliberated upon closing the skills gaps for the industry for the bottom of the pyramid.