When Rajendra Sahu from the Jajpur district furnished an application for Gram Rojgar Sevak (GRS) post with a bachelor’s degree and computer proficiency certificates, little did he know that his application would be rejected on the grounds that his computer literacy certificate was not acceptable as the said institute where he obtained it is not an affiliated/recognised institute from any university/DOEACC.
The 25-year-old jobseeker had pinned high hopes on making it to the merit list as he graduated with honours obtaining 62% of marks. With the state government making computer-literacy mandatory for base level contractual jobs, he enrolled in a PGDCA course in a private institute.
Sahu was not aware of the fact that the institute is not affiliated/recognised from any university/DOEACC. He got the certificate without attending any online/offline classes or exams. He had to cough up Rs 5,000 towards the admission charges with additional Rs 1,000 towards the cost of the certificate. He paid the fees out of the hard-earned money of his father, a small-scale farmer.
Sahu committed the cardinal mistake in seeking admission in an unauthorised institute instead of pursuing the course in a government-authorised institution. Sahu is not alone to face this predicament. Like him, lakhs of other unemployed youths have been taken for a ride by such institutes mushrooming in the state. Sahu has finally realised his gaffe and is currently enrolled with an authorised institute in computer proficiency course.
The mushrooming growth of the unauthorised institutes across Odisha has become a cause of concern for the state government. They are playing a cruel joke on young job-seekers and minting money in the process at their cost. A computer proficiency certificate could be fetched for as low a fee as Rs. 500. The availability of certificates is instant with no online, offline classes or exam attendance and no other conditions apply.
The need of the hour is to sensitise the parents, guardians and the job aspirants on the modus operandi of the institutes registered under Societies Registration Act, Indian Trusts Act, Companies Act, etc., and doing business of computer education with under the terms PGDCA, DCA, etc. with unorganised course curriculum/ proficiency test, and awarding of certificates by presenting themselves as Government recognised/registered institutions/organisations. Such Certificates are being accepted by employers without probing deep into its authenticity are even more disturbing developments. It is high time the deceptive ploys of the unauthorised organisations operating the institutes and imparting the computer proficiency courses put to an end as the candidates enrolled with them are not eligible for government jobs, as is understood from various rejections recently made by various District administrations for various job recruitment.
The Electronics and Information Technology Department, in February 2021, has issued a Gazette notification that for requirements of basic computer proficiency for the purpose of eligibility in any recruitment conducted by State Government/PSUs/other Government or Semi-Government Agencies requiring qualification such as DCA/PGDCA from Universities/AICTE recognised institutions/NIELIT ‘O ‘ Level/ Odisha State Certificate in Information & Technology (OS-CIT) course of Odisha Knowledge Corporation Limited (OKCL).
While the Government-recognised institutes in the state fall between 600 to 700, the unauthorised computer learning centres have grown astronomically from 10,000 to 15,000 across the state, both in the urban and rural pockets.
Now, computer literacy has become one of the basic requirements for both the entry level posts and high level positions. Thus, computer courses, as the demand of IT-enabled workforce, have gone up in the aftermath of the pandemic. The state has not been able to match the demand of quality computer literate citizens solely because of the unorganised unauthorised institutes running a parallel system, resulting in the learners being deceived, said an official of the Electronics and Information Technology Department.
Aware of the disturbing scenario, the state government has now initiated steps to check the glaring loopholes in the computer proficiency certification courses to save the students from getting conned. In a step towards the right direction, various districts have started rejecting the DCA/PGDCA certificates issued by institutions not recognized by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
Besides, the Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Department, Government of Odisha, has recently sent its clarification to collectors of all districts that candidature of aspirants submitting PGDCA/DCA certificates from organisations other than government-recognised institute/university shall not be considered for eligibility of the respective post applied.
The initiative of this nature will enable the jobseekers to choose the right computer proficiency courses for the right kind of up-skilling and will churn out capable workforce into the job sector with quality enhancement of IT skill in the State, said officials.