A young man who studied industrial techniques in the state-run polytechnic college skipped a job hunt and instead set up a vocational training centre. Now he teaches more than 140 students a year in his successful centre operating from his own Kulgam village, reports Umar Khurshid
In 2009, after Saheeb Mubarak 24, finished his Polytechnic industrial Degree from Kashmir Government Polytechnic (KGP) in Gogji Bagh Srinagar, he started to look for a job related to his degree. The hunt for an elusive job took him months. He has been passionate about pursuing his degrees in industrial techniques and wanted to work in this sector only.
Finally, he gave his idea to be somebody’s worker. Saheeb told his family that he will set up a mini industrial institute in his Chunsar village, barely 2 km from main Kulgam town. It proved to be a very indecent proposal as none of his family members allowed him to invest in a village. “Ultimately I was sent outside Kashmir to study computers,” says Saheeb.
Then Saheeb got admission in Bachelors of Computer Applications (BCA) in Punjab University and left his home for three years. “I was never interested in any other degree but I did it for the sake of my family,” he said.
In 2013, after coming back from Punjab, Saheeb got an opportunity in government ITI centre in Kulgam as an intern to teach fresher’s. Since he wanted this sort of job, he grabbed it. This time, however, he wanted to gain some experience. As he was teaching for a year, he simultaneously started making efforts for registering his own vocational teaching centre.
In his attempt to get his centre registered, he faced an interesting situation. “When looked at my age and told me I was too young,” Saheed said. “They suggested me to go for higher studies, instead.” Some of the officers who he met told him that the centre would require an investment of Rs 60 lakh which was too huge for him at this stage of life.
But he did not give up. He started a centre and it underwent a series of inspections. After a year-long struggle, the concerned officials were convinced that the idea and the execution of the centre were correct. His centre was registered.
This all happened despite Saheeb lacking funds and the support from his family. His centre –Saheeb Private Industrial Training Institute, is basically an EDI-supported project that has a loan component of more than eight lakh rupees. Due to financial problem, his institute was delayed by seven months and finally, in August 2014, he enrolled his first batch of 70 students.
Teaching 70 students was not easy for Saheeb. He recruited four females and four male teachers. Programmes and diplomas available in his Institute include Plumbing, Computer Operating and Programming Assistant (COPA), Data Entry, Sewing Technology and Drafts Man Civil with theory and practical classes. “During the course, we provide practical sessions to ensure the student’s ability to work outside,” Saheeb said.
His centre has separate classrooms for the practical classes and for Draftsman students, in which, R&B Department of Kulgam is helping him. He has actually inked a deal with the R&B department to teach his students.
Those enrolled in his centre include students from Islamabad and Shopian districts. Students are trained in techniques that help them get deployed in the market. But, Saheeb said, since his centre is recognised by various technical institutions by the central government, the students of his centre are eligible to get jobs anywhere in India. Social Welfare Department in the state is also extending some scholarship to the trainees that, at times, equal the tuition fees of the candidates.
The centre has an interesting model. The money students pay as their annual fee is refunded as money back once they complete their course. ”It’s basically a free degree but one has just to deposit fee,” Saheeb said. “All these funds are reimbursed to the candidate with the certificate.” His affiliation with various technical institutions run by the central government give him enough of funds to run the centre and partly fund the fees of the students too.
In courses like plumbing, data entry and a computer course, the student gets double the money they had deposited during their degree. “The money back I got from this Institute, I spent half on my other technical course here and a half I returned to my father,” says Nelofar Jan 24, from was from COPA first batch.
Ashiq Hussain 45, Saheeb’s elder brother is Vice Principal at Higher Secondary School Kulgam. He was not supportive of Saheeb’s ideas. But finally gave in. “Now he earns more than me,” Ashiq said. His father Mubarak Ahmed Rather, a dry fruit seller in Kulgam, said Saheeb’s hard work paid him well.
Currently, there are 145 students learning from Saheeb’s Vocational Institute. Saheeb said the numbers are increasing in every course, now.