National Service Scheme (NSS) to Focus on Skill Development to be Transformed into National Service and Skill Development Scheme (NSSD)


The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports has decided to reposition the National Service Scheme (NSS) by adding a new Skill Development dimension to the scheme. The new focus of the scheme would be on students attaining employable skills while undertaking work with the community to bring about sustainable social change and equity. A pilot project to this effect would be undertaking in the current financial year.

The NSS, which would now be rechristened as the National Service and Skill Development (NSSD) Scheme, originally aimed at fostering relevance between higher education institutions and social well-being. Over a period of time, since the inception of NSS, the country has undergone socio economic changes, which have necessitated a review of the Scheme and its objectives.

The reformulated NSS aims at creating socially conscientious students ; developing generic and domain led skills that would enhance student employability ; enabling certification (Diploma) of students in a employability enhancing skill in addition to receiving a degree in the field of study.

In 2006, the University Grants Commission issued an advisory encouraging Universities and Colleges to introduce Career Oriented Programmes at first degree level. The objective is to introduce career and market-oriented, skill enhancing add-on courses with potential for job, self-employment and empowerment of the students. The UGC recommended offering add-on courses at (i) Certificate (20 credits); (ii) Diploma (40 credits inclusive of 20 credits earned during Certificate Course), and (ii) Advanced Diploma (60 credits inclusive of 40 credits earned together during Certificate and Diploma courses respectively). Each credit means 15 hours of teaching / practice and significant portion of the total credit load assigned to field work / project work.

In keeping with the above, since NSS Volunteers are mandated to do community service, the idea is to introduce vocational skill oriented certificate and diploma programmes through which NSS volunteers can gain the course credits through lectures offered during weekends and practical work done during vacations.

Program Design for National Service and Skill Development Scheme (NSSD)

Course Objective: Transform National Service Scheme to National Service and Skill Development Scheme

Eligibility: The NSS pilot would be offered only to the students of 1st Year of graduation viz, year 13 of their education. All participating Universities would prepare themselves so as to introduce the program during the period November- December 2012. While the regular activities of NSS are allocated 240 hours for 2 years; for the pilot this would need extension for a third year since it will aid the purpose of providing employable skills, the total duration of the pilot would be of 3 years.

Need Assessment: The participating University would conduct a ‘Needs Assessment’ within its immediate ecosystem to assess community requirements, job opportunities and match these with aspirations of youth. The results of this assessment would help identify relevant sectors and relevant skill sets for their students.

Course Design: In each semester two to four credit modules will be offered through classroom lectures and tutorials. The modules will be structured to progressively develop motivation, knowledge and skills to reach advanced level of competence. Generic and domain skills would be developed. The generic courses would be compulsory for all students. The optional courses would be decided by the University based on their local needs and the recommendation of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). There would be sufficient flexibility for the Universities and their knowledge partners to bring in locally relevant content. On weekends and holidays students will work in the village / urban area during semester vacation. The student can work for 15 days during the vacation to practice knowledge and skills gained during the semester.

Expected outcomes: students will acquire skills that will make them employable locally, nationally and gain certification recognised by the industry.

Duration: 3 years

Credits Earned: Certificate (20 credits), diploma (40 credits) master’s (66 to 80 credits required). Students can opt for the desired level; and motivated students will go up to Master’s level.

Start Date: Nov- Dec 2012

Curriculum Development: A group of experts drawn from academia, government and industry in each of skill areas will develop curriculum for the certificate, diploma and advanced courses. Once the curriculum is developed and finalized by the skill area expert group it will be placed before the Academic Council (AC) of TISS and submitted to AICTE, UGC and other bodies. Criteria for course delivery, assessment and certification standards will be defined by the expert committee for each of the skill areas and approved by the AC of the TISS. TISS is a centrally funded public university and has established School of Vocational Education with the blessings from MHRD, Government of India and funding from AICTE. Those students successfully completing all requirements will be awarded appropriate level of certification by the School of Vocational Education, TISS.

Certification: Certificate, Diploma and Advanced level programmes will be offered in a number of areas suited to the needs of the University. Some examples include Entrepreneurship Development, Water Management, Rural Technician, Para Veterinary Services, Para medical services etc.

Faculty/Trainers: A large pool of experts from academia, industry, government and civil society will be identified as faculty for specific courses. They will be familiarized through Training of Trainers programme for the respective course and made available to deliver lectures, tutorials and practical.

Partnerships: There are a number of NGOs with strong domain expertise working with communities. NGOs empanelled with ministries and government departments, International NGOs, National CSR Hub for Public Enterprises working in states, districts and tehsils will be identified. Their ability and willingness to provide training and guidance for the NSS program at rural and urban areas will be assessed.

Public and Private Sector Enterprises, Multi-lateral agencies (like World Bank, UNICEF, UNDP, etc), and Government Programmes such as NRLM, MGNREGA, BRGF, WASH and others will be brought in to provide financial support to the NSSD Scheme. Money generated from these agencies will be made available for the universities and colleges to implement the NSS Scheme.

This Scheme brings together State Government, public and private sector enterprises, multi-lateral agencies and civil society organizations to facilitate the universities and colleges to transform the nation’s greatest asset – the youth – into a skilled work force for their own betterment as well as for the betterment of the nation.

Activities to be Undertaken by College/ University

Identify participating colleges in consultation with the Vice Chancellors of the University & State NSS coordinators; receive “Needs Assessment” forms from Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports; complete “Needs Assessment” forms by sourcing of information from local administration- District NIC, Collector, local industry body, corporates, livelihood missions, skill development mission, NGO’s etc; send completed “Needs Assessment” forms to the Ministry; identify core team and assign roles for implementation of NSSD pilot; generate awareness of NSSD amongst students and faculty using talks, posters and other collateral; start enrolments for NSSD from 1st yr students ; identify and select courses and field project based on local needs; identify skill requirements based on local demand estimates; identify collaborative partners- NGO’s, Corporates etc ; identify faculty for all courses; schedule the courses based on academic time schedule and implement monitoring mechanism.


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