PCF5:University Intervention for Capacity Building and Social Empowerment through Garment Sector Based Distance Education Courses Suiting the Post Multi – Fibre Arrangement Era – Indian Context

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by Mrs Veena Rao

The paper focuses on the Distance Education programmes centering on garment sector in the post Multi Fibre Arrangement (MFA) context. It revolves round the fact that, even though the garment industry is one of the biggest sources of exports in India and the second largest employer, the absence of technically trained work force and lack of formally educated factory management are both significant decelerators of growth. It is proposed to discuss the meaning of MFA in the backdrop of garment sector and the need for sector specific educational Courses for opening the gates of livelihood by imparting vocational education to the students in the age group 18 – 23 to the underprivileged (through extension education). The materials so prepared could also be used for providing continuing education to the already employed. The idea is to present the wide range of livelihood oriented skill training programmes and academically rigorous vocational education programmes using a common basket of garment industry oriented Courses. It is also intended to highlight the importance of open education approach and regional language based teaching methodology in facilitating a ‘tunnelling’ effect to the motivated mind to cross through the barrier separating extension education sector from the undergraduate level vocational Courses. The suggested academic exercises have crucial significance, since the human resource need in the post- MFA context in India is projected to be around an astronomical figure of half a million as per the Annual Report of the Ministry of Textiles, Government of India for the year, 2006 – 07. Although public and private educational initiatives do exist for provision of the skilled and competent human resource, the supply in no way matches the demand. This provides a compelling situation to look for alternatives; hence the present initiative.

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