Mumbai: The Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on Monday stressed the need to improve quality of education in polytechnics for generating a skilled workforce.

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Speaking at the second national convention of State Boards of Technical Education on `Polytechnic Education and Achievements and Challenges Ahead' here, Sibal said polytechnics should form tie-ups with the industry to upgrade the syllabus.

"We can get skilled workforce from polytechnic institutes as they are the future of our country," the Minister said. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh were doing well with regard to polytechnic education, he said.

"In Bihar, there are 12 government polytechnics and seven unaided institutions. Whereas in Uttar Pradesh, there are 17 government and 186 unaided polytechnics. Compared to the population of these two states, the number is much low," he said.

The students who had had their schooling in mediums other than English should be given study material in their own language, he said.

"We need industry to participate in polytechnics... may be one of the ways is to set up engineering colleges and polytechnics with their help," Sibal said, talking to reporters after the event.

Noting that Maharashtra has attracted huge private investment in this area, Sibal urged the other states to emulate Maharashtra.

He however also said that polytechnics need to set many things right as "there are many wrong things in the functioning of the polytechnics now".

"We need to prepare ourselves for the 21st century. So we need a radical change of the curriculum in polytechnics and also to work with the industry to ensure that when students move out of the polytechnics they get employment as many of them are not employable," he said.

Admitting that there are at least 40 percent vacancies at the faculty level in the state-run institutes and as much as 30 percent at the Central institutes, Sibal expressed hope that the shortfall will be reduced to some extent once the National Knowledge Network (NKN) is fully operational.

"We don't have enough faculty and we need to let industry into the system. We need the faculty to go to the industry and get trained," the Minister said.


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