Now, cabbies, maids can learn while they earnMarch 5th, 2012 - 3:51 pm ICT by IANS
Nashik/Mumbai, March 5 (IANS) A couple of years down the line, Mumbai residents may be dealing with cabbies and auto-drivers who are full-fledged graduates. Thanks to an open university, deprived sections of the city’s huge workforce will get a chance to enhance their skills.
The Nashik-based Yeshwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU) has designed special short-term and long-term courses for working classes like cab and auto drivers, private drivers and even maids to enable them to compete better in the job and money markets.
The special preparatory and degree courses shall be inaugurated Tuesday in Mumbai’s All India Institute of Local Self Government at Andheri by eminent Bollywood actor Kader Khan, according to a YCMOU official.
“Given our social objectives, the courses shall be extremely simple but equip the ’students’ to handle them without disturbing their crucial work schedules as most are the sole bread-winners of their families,” said Shrinivas Belsare, YCMOU head of corporate communications.
There are an estimated 400,000 cabbies in the city. According to Belsare, around 200,000 cabbies from Mumbai, besides a potential 1.5 million elsewhere in Maharashtra, are expected to benefit from the new course, enrolment for which starts in June 2012.
YCMOU’s format for the experimental course would be unique, using CDs, FM radio programmes and a few books to enable the cabbies to learn while on the go - driving.
It is expected to similarly help housemaids, who number around 800,000 in the city.
Besides, the courses would not burn a hole in the pockets of the ’students’, considering they are at the bottom rung of the people contributing to the national economy, Belsare said.
“The preparatory course will cost Rs.600, with a 50 percent discount for the target category of cabbies and it is equivalent of HSC. This will be followed by a diploma course, advanced diploma and a degree, each costing Rs.1,500, and recognized everywhere,” Belsare explained.
“Accordingly, if a person completes one year, that is, two modules, he gets a diploma, after two years an advanced diploma and a full-fledged, recognised degree after completing the full three-year course. It means a win-win situation for all, even those who drop out after a year or two,” he added.
The new courses are expected to be a boon for the next generation of cabbies as the state government plans to soon make HSC-level education compulsory before issuing new permits for autos and taxis.
Kader Khan, who himself played a cabby in several movies like “Aa Ab Laut Chalen” and “Naseeb”, was impressed with YCMOU’s new course and readily agreed to inaugurate it, Belsare said.
A graduate, the 65-year-old Khan, after taking a break from his acting-writing career, is now engrossed in designing a new syllabus from nursery to post-graduation in Islamic studies for the benefit of students in thousands of ‘madrassas’ in India.
Given the large, semi-literate migrant population in Mumbai, YCMOU will offer its new course in Hindi, Marathi and English for the cabbies, with the approval of the powerful Bombay Taximen’s Union.
Its existing BA degree course in Urdu have got over 2,000 students on the rolls and proved beneficial to migrants, mostly school dropouts, coming here in search of employment opportunities.
YCMOU has around 400,000 students on its rolls in the state, including 50 percent women, who would otherwise have had no opportunity to educate themselves, he said.
The course modules are comprehensive and wide-ranging including soft skills, road safety, tourism, health, first aid, civic discipline, transport rules, insurance, traffic scenario, networking with courier companies and basic banking.
“This will enable them to get a proper perspective of life and help them consider other lucrative professional options rather than spending their lives driving cabs,” Belsare pointed out.
The YCMOU course is billed as the first of its kind among the 14 open universities around the country which have been silently spurring literacy levels among the most unfortunate sections of Indian society.
(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at email@example.com)
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Tags: andheri, auto drivers, bollywood actor, bread winners, course enrolment, degree courses, diploma course, experimental course, india institute, kader khan, money markets, national economy, open university, preparatory course, private drivers, self government, social objectives, target category, work schedules, ycmou