IGNOU to award skill-recognition degrees to Indian Navy sailors

June 24th, 2011 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) To improve second-career opportunities, the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) Friday launched a programme in association with the Indian Navy to award educational degrees to its personnel in the technical and professional trades they pursue during service.

The programme, Sagardeep, facilitates award of graduation degrees to sailors recognising their professional and skill-oriented training in 19 naval institutions that will act as autonomous community colleges with flexible curriculum and learning aids.

The scheme will function in accordance with the norms and standards laid down by IGNOU and will provide an opportunity to the sailors to land a job in their respective trades in the civilian sector after they retire in their mid-30s, to help maintain the youthful profile of the armed forces.

Under Sagardeep, the naval personnel will acquire professional qualifications in various fields such as navigation, aviation, diving, hydrography, logistics and communication, apart from degrees in hotel management, security and business administration sectors.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) for Sagardeep was signed by IGNOU vice chancellor V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai and the navy’s chief of personnel, Vice Admiral M.P. Muralidharan, in the presence of navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma here.

Verma, in his address, pointed out that although the armed forces are a professional fighting force, what sets them apart from other institutions is the investment made in training personnel, and educating and looking after their welfare.

“The armed forces may be inherently hierarchal in their structure. But they nurture a camaraderie that is unique…because they endeavour to constantly find new ways to enhance the welfare and well-being of the employees. This characteristics symbolises the true strength of the armed forces and makes them special,” he said.

Verma said during their careers, the naval personnel acquire professional and technical acumen at specialised institutions that match global standards in the quality of training.

“While efforts to get them a second career are made through various resettlement courses, an asset that many of them lacked was an educational degree from a recognised institution that is accepted and acknowledged in the civil world. While many sailors acquire such degrees on their own, the signing of the MoU for project Sagardeep will enable all sailors to fulfill their educational needs and aspirations,” he added.

Rajasekharan Pillai noted that Sagardeep was “a very important, unique and novel scheme”.

He said IGNOU was “aware of the quality and rigour” of training and education Indian Navy provides its sailors. “It is service-integrated learning. It should be appropriately recognised and they should get opportunity for vertical mobility,” he said.

Rajasekharan Pillai noted that IGNOU, too, was benefiting by the collaboration with the Indian Navy in that it would gain from the technological domain knowledge at the naval training institutions.

He said the IGNOU community college scheme makes an impact by enhancing the lives of ordinary people and the underprivileged sections of Indian society.

IGNOU pro vice chancellor Latha Pillai noted that the collaboration with the navy was a “new voyage” that the university was embarking on, which “will hopefully touch the lives of many young sailors”.

“IGNOU, as an open university, is conscious and sensitive to the responsibility of a large number of verticals in society, be it the rural farmer, a budding entrepreneur or a skilled craftsman, a desk adolescent, an aspiring civil servant or a corporate honcho or a retired senior citizen,” Pillai said.

Sagardeep would take formal education to the sailors through online programmes and mentoring, apart from on-demand examination and video conferences, all facilitated in the naval personnel’s “natural habitat, the sea,” she added.

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