Founded in 1959, SJTI has established an excellent reputation for contributing high-quality shop-floor workers and supervisors to industry in Pune, a major industrial hub of Maharashtra
Curiously but typically, in the centrally planned Indian economy in which over 100 million children drop out of the education system before completing eight years of school, minimal provision has been made for vocational education and training (VET) of school (and college) drop-outs.
Fortunately, of late there’s been significant awareness of the vital importance of VET for national development. On August 15, 2006 prime minister Dr. Manmohan Singh announced a major drive to disseminate and upgrade VET countrywide. Shortly thereafter, a task force was set up to draw up a timetable for establishing a nationwide VET infrastructure. Among the recom-mendations of the task force: 1,500 industrial training institutes/centres and 50,000 skill centres in the PPP (public-private partnership) mode by 2012.
These proposed institutes/centres could draw upon the development experience of St. Joseph’s Technical Institute, Pune (SJTI, estb. 1959), which over the past half century has established an excellent reputation for consistently contributing high-quality shop-floor workers and supervisors to industry in Pune, a major industrial hub of the western seaboard state of Maharashtra (pop. 99 million). Currently SJTI offers a wide variety of two-year and short-term courses to train students in the fields of mechanical draughts-manship, tool and die design, auto electricals, audio and video servicing, motor rewinding, computer operations, machining, grinding, auto repairs, turning, fabrication, fitting, etc (see box).
“The objective of the institute is upliftment of the weaker sections of society by providing socially disad-vantaged youth vocational education and skill-sets to equip them for industrial employment. Currently we offer three VET programmes approved by the Industrial Training Institutes Council, New Delhi; three Maharashtra government certificate courses; seven autonomous courses, as also custo-mised training programmes which include refresher courses for industry-sponsored operators and technicians, to over 240 full-time and 25 part-time students,” says Fr. Bhausaheb Sansare, SJ, an alumnus of the University of Pune and Innsbruck University of Austria who was appointed director of SJTI in 2005 soon after his ordainment as a priest in December 2004.
With an intake capacity of 241 students per year for its various diploma programmes, the institute hosts approximately 350 students at any given time. They receive hands-on education and training in six contemporary workshops on the institute’s seven-acre campus which houses lathes, horizontal and vertical boring and CNC machines as also cutting, grinding and tooling equipment required for industrial applications. There are also small-size laboratories to conduct experiments in electricals and electronics. The campus hosts a hostel and residential quarters for senior staff. Pride of place is given to a huge sports ground where football matches are a regular feature. “We don’t conduct formal admission entrance tests. We assess the aptitude of each candidate to place him in the appro-priate study programme,” says Sansare.
Promoted by the Society of Jesus, the well-known brotherhood of the Church of Rome which has established 155 Jesuit schools and 31 colleges in India, including nationally reputed institutions such as Loyola College (Chennai), St. Joseph’s College (Bang-alore), St. Xavier’s College (Mumbai), SJTI has an interesting history. In 1950, Fr. P. Geisel, superior of the Pune Jesuits, mooted the idea of starting a workshop-cum-training institute on the premises of St. Vincent’s High School, Pune. However, it was not until 1959 that Fr. P. Haefeli, who had bought some old buses for the use of St. Vincent’s, constructed a workshop on the premises for their maintenance and repair. The enthusiastic response of local youth to the VET programmes offered prompted the society to move the fledgling institute to Pocha Gardens where SJTI started functioning with Fr. Haefeli as its first superintendent.
Half a century later, SJTI has established an excellent reputation for providing a near-optimal mix of academic and hands-on VET modules to produce shop-floor-ready technicians and supervisors. “We have tie-ups with several heavyweight companies in Pune including automobile majors such as Mahindra & Mahindra, General Motors, Tata, Fiat, and Toyota as also the Pune Municipal Transport Corporation who readily accept our students as interns and retain most after conclusion of their study programmes,” says Sansare. Interns earn about Rs.3,000 per month and upon completion of their diploma programmes begin their careers with Rs.7,000 per month.
Given the institute’s commitment to providing contemporary VET to socially and economically disadvantaged stud-ents, tuition fees charged are very modest. A two-year full-time course is priced at Rs.13,500 per year. Moreover lodging charge at the institute’s hostel which currently houses 90 students is a mere Rs.50 per month.
Enthused by the ready acceptance of its graduates by industry, SJTI has made ambitious plans to promote an engineer-ing college, the approval for which has been given by the Maharashtra government. “We also want to start a junior college for underprivileged students. Both these institutes will be planned on the VET model to enhance the employment and entrepreneurial potential of youth. We are also focusing on using our workshops to undertake outsourced jobbing projects from industries in and around Pune. This will help supplement our income as well as provide practical learning opportunities to students,” says Fr. Sansare.
Certainly the proposed VET institutes need to study the SJTI model.
Admission and fees
St. Joseph’s Technical Institute offers a wide range of vocational education and training programmes including:
ITI courses. Fitter, turner, mechanic (motor vehicle)
Government of Maharashtra certificate courses. Computer operations, computer programming, electronics & radio servicing, advanced electronics & video servicing, computer hardware maintenance
Autonomous courses (full-time). Fitter, turner, mechanic (motor vehicle), machinist, tool and die maker, fabrication fitter and welder, job inspector, A/C and refrigeration mechanic, audio-video servicing mechanic
Autonomous courses (part-time). Mechanical draughtsman, tool & die designing, job inspection, auto electrician, motor rewinding, bench fitter, industrial hydraulics and pneumatics, computer operations basic and advanced, NC and CNC machines, electricity and electronics, domestic appliances repairs
Tuition fees. Rs.13,500 per year including a refundable deposit of Rs.2,000
For further information contact St. Joseph’s Technical Institute, Shankarshet Road, Pune 411 037. Tel (020) 26447496; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Huned Contractor (Pune)