Friday, September 4, 2009

Soldiers who join after school may keep studying

By Ritu Sharma
New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) The Indian Army has outlined an ambitious plan by which its soldiers who join after school will be able to study for a degree while they are in service.

The scheme will benefit many of the 1.2 million soldiers of the Indian Army. The system will be based on the US system of community colleges.

“The community colleges will be located in our training, human resource and regimental centres,” a senior Indian Army official told IANS, requesting anonymity.

Every year nearly 50,000 trained soldiers retire from the army after an average of 15 years of service.

“The army jawans retire generally after 15 years of service and form a part of highly trained, dedicated, disciplined and loyal work force. But most of them are merely school pass-outs. A graduate degree will open up whole lots of avenues for them,” an army official associated with the project said.

For its programme, the Indian Army has tied up with Indira Gandhi National Open Univeristy (IGNOU). A memorandum in this regard will be signed between the Indian Army and IGNOU Sep 4.

“The jawans will be given BA, BBA, BSc and BCom degrees depending on their area of work,” the official added.

The soldiers will work to earn 92 credits for getting a graduation degree.

The first 64 credits will be given to the soldier for his work within the army. He will also need to do some courses for which he will be awarded certificates.

Thereafter he will go to the IGNOU programme to earn the remaining credits.

For those soldiers who join after Class 10, the army will be organising bridge courses to bring them at par with those who have completed Class 12.

“It will provide a lot of benefit to the soldiers. They will become graduates for less money and will get a degree from an internationally recognised university. Most jawans who look for second employment in the open market post retirement will get better options. These benefits will be besides the value addition to the quality of life of the jawan and his family,” another official added.

“The programme will have international ramifications, as after their graduation the soldiers may go abroad for higher studies or for work and will form a viable work force globally,” said the official.
Soldiers who join after school may keep studying

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