From the coming academic year, degree students in Andhra Pradesh will have ten months of apprenticeship as part of their course. The state government has announced that in all government and private degree colleges, students will be required to complete the apprenticeship as part of the efforts to prepare students for employment.
Relevant courses for skill enhancement will also be offered as part of the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) recommended by the UGC (University Grants Commission), which will also be introduced in degree colleges in the state from the upcoming academic year.
B Sudheer Prem Kumar, Secretary of APSCHE (Andhra Pradesh State Council for Higher Education), said that the apprenticeship will be divided into three periods. â€śTwo months of apprenticeship will happen at the end of first year as well as second year, during the summer break. Besides these, the six months of the final year will be dedicated to the internship or project work,â€ť he said.
Students will work in fields relevant to their undergraduate subject areas, and the internships will be in government as well as private sector, he said. â€śDistrict collectors may also be given the responsibility to provide internships. We are taking into account all possible chances, as the number of students is hugeâ€ť Sudheer said, adding that the annual intake of students in degree colleges in the state is close to 1.3 lakh every year.
With the final semester being dedicated to the internship, extra course load may be added to the previous semesters, or even online classes may be considered so that coursework is not missed, he said.
With the first segment of apprenticeship only to come up at the end of the 2020-21 academic year which has been delayed due to the pandemic, the details of implementing the program have not been communicated yet, according to authorities of degree colleges in the state.
While skill development programs are beneficial for students, the government would have to make sure they are monitored properly, notes KS Lakshmana Rao Krishna and Guntur Districts Graduatesâ€™ Constituency MLC from the PDF (Progressive Democratic Front). Noting that nearly 70 percent of the degree colleges are run by private institutions, he says, â€śIn many engineering colleges, for the project work component, we see students doing them without actually visiting the industries and doing the actual work required. The government must ensure proper monitoring mechanisms are in place for private colleges, only then will this be useful for students,â€ť he says.