Helping Hands

Jamia Millia Islamia’s Akashdeep programme provides distance education to Indian armed forces personnel

Aditya Kakkar

Under Vice Chancellor Prof. Talat Ahmad, Jamia Millia Islamia has signed memorandum of understanding (MoUs) with the three services to help uniformed personnel improve their educational qualifications.

Helping HandsAdult education is slowly gaining traction around the world as jobs become complex and multi-disciplinary. In the absence of concrete social welfare benefits, the emphasis on jobs becomes heightened. The uniformed personnel of our country are at a greater risk than their civilian counterparts when it comes to skill development as their varied postings often hinder linear academic growth.

Jamia Millia Islamia, a central university, based in New Delhi, is helping personnel from the Indian armed forces advance their academic and technical education through their distance learning programmes. Under the tutelage of Vice Chancellor Prof. Talat Ahmad, the varsity, which has grade ‘A’ as per NAAC rankings, signed MoUs with the Indian Air Force (IAF), the Indian Army and the Indian Navy. Jamia first signed a MoU on 13 August 2015 with the IAF represented by Assistant Chief of the Air Staff (Education). Thus, the Akashdeep programme was created.

“The project is a mutual intent for academic collaboration between the IAF and Jamia Millia Islamia for academic, technical advancement, and progression of air force personnel,” commented OSD, Centre for Distance and Open Learning (CDOL), Professor Mujtaba Khan. “The underlining spirit of the programme is academic advancement of India’s defence personnel during the course of their service with a view to facilitate them proper opportunity and adequate space in the market place after superannuation from the defence services which incidentally is much earlier in comparison to their counterparts in non-defence services.”

One of the aims behind starting the programme was to provide the personnel of the two services an exemption of two years in the case of graduate degree programmes and one year in post-graduate degree programmes.

The IAF conducts ab-initio/in-service training programmes for its personnel at its training centres situated at different locations in the country. One of the objectives of the programme is to work towards evaluation and credit determination.

“A Joint Equivalence Committee constituted with representatives from the IAF and Jamia Millia Islamia, after ascertaining the contents and various aspects of the in-service training and the course contents, determine the scores and credits and recommend an exemption of two years in the case of graduate degree programme and one year in post graduate degree programme in lieu of the in-service training/courses,” said Prof. Khan. “At the moment the CDOL offers 19 programmes and as per the choice of the IAF representatives these courses were offered. The IAF is free to add more courses from the existing courses being offered and in case CDOL introduces new courses in future, those will also be made available to the personnel, if they so desire.”

The MoU clearly stipulates the qualifications required for admission to the post graduate and graduate programmes under the distance mode.

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