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Odisha Sun Times Bureau 
Bangalore, Aug 27: 

Odisha Government’s School & Mass Education Department and Wadhwani Foundation’s Skills Development Network (SDN) have announced a strategic partnership to make Odisha a ‘Smart State’ by introducing large-scale vocational education in secondary schools of the state.

Odisha Investor' meet

Commissioner cum Secretary of School & Mass Education Department Ranjana Chopra exchanged the MoU with Austin Thomas, Director of SDN in the presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik yesterday during the Odisha Investor’s Meet held in Bangalore on this context.

“The MoU with Wadhwani Foundation for introducing vocational education in the schools in Odisha is part of the larger Vocational Skills Development initiative undertaken in the State. 208 schools are being taken up in the first phase and we are hopeful that in partnership with Wadhwani Foundation, we will be able to upscale the programme in the future to many more schools,” said Chopra speaking to reporters.

The partnership is aimed at enhancing employability of students through four years of skills based training in a vocational subject enabling students to be job-ready on graduation from high school.

It suggests providing four years of result-oriented skills based training in a vocational subject of choice to the student from a selection of vocations offered to them. The other phase of the programme is to introduce a parallel, dedicated vocational stream Class XI onwards that offers Diploma in Vocational Education to those students who aspire for vocational careers.

“Odisha’s ‘Smart State’ initiative will focus on job creation and job fulfilment through building and supporting the full life-cycle of the skilling, entrepreneurship, and innovation ecosystems. Leading with skilling and large-scale vocationalization of secondary schools in Odisha, this initiative aims to equip high-school graduates with sufficient work-skills to command family supporting wages,” said President and CEO of Wadhwani Foundation Ajay Kela.

Under the agreement, while the SDN will provide effective program management (design, planning & quality), the technology platform, e‐content, and knowledge management expertise to operationalize the Program Management Unit within the Odisha state, the State Government will set up and run the program management unit.