Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 12: More than two lakh students in the state have completed their vocational skill training through the Additional Skill Acquisition Programme (ASAP) under the Government of Kerala’s Higher Education Department. Many of them have completed their vocational training through training programmes conducted in various districts to impart vocational skills along with higher education.

The training was imparted to the students through 121 Skill Development Centres functioning in Govt / Aided Higher Secondary schools, Vocational Higher Secondary schools and Arts-Science Colleges. In addition, the scheme has been implemented in 66 engineering colleges and 45 polytechnics. A study of more than two lakh trainees shows that they have been able to develop their vocations skills and improve self-confidence thus increasing job prospects.

ASAP has also set up Advanced Skill Development Centres to train students of engineering and polytechnic colleges in advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Analytics. As part of bridging the gap between the new work environment and the current engineering education system, a new course curriculum is being developed with the help of the industry to identify and train students as per the relevant job requirements.

As part of this, industrial labs with state-of-the-art technology such as fab labs and robotic kits are being set up at 45 government polytechnics in the state at a cost of Rs 6.5 crores. ASAP aims to develop the Advanced Skill Development Centres into a mini-industry in the future and promote the idea of income along with learning by providing students with training in business models and internships.

ASAP skill classes are different from the regular academic pedagogy offered in schools and colleges. ASAP offers training in 85 skill courses aligned with the National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) in 23 skill sectors. The 150 hours mandatory internship is a hallmark of ASAP’s skill training.