SHIKHA – is an on-line English learning course for youth, is now being piloted in Telangana State, thanks to pioneering initiatives undertaken by the Commissioner / Director, Youth Services & Managing Director, TSSTEP, Mr. Mohammed Abdul Azeem, I.A.S. This has been taken up as a pilot project under the head of “ non-placement oriented skill development training program for youth, under the public society called Telangana State Society for Training and Employment Promotion (TS-STEP) in Hyderabad district, covering 200 youth students in first phase.
As part of this , the SHIKHA has formally launched by the TS-STEP ( Department of Youth Services) on 23rd March, 2017 at three different venues, viz : (1) Indira Priyadarshini College, Nampally; (2) Govt. City College, Nayapool; and (3) Vivekananda College, Vidyanagar, covering a session of 30 to 40 students each respectively.
The major deliverable under this skill development training program for youth titled : SHIKHA is to facilitate capacity building from the perspective of over-all learning of English, with special focus on spoken functional English, in order to make the youth to face competitive exams or gate-way tests such as TOEFL, IELTS, and GRE. The subsidiary deliverables under this SHIKHA program is to facilitate the youth to take on the challenges of pursuing higher studies abroad, if they are willing to do so, or otherwise give the students an added advantage over those students from other places wherein the study of English has not been so well as it is being done in our country.
Added to this, the advantage of introducing SHIKHA under TS-STEP ( Department of Youth Services), aimed at youth, particularly at critical gate-way of their formative career, would go a long way. This has been perceived from the perspective of particularly those youth- students, who are in and around Hyderabad in specific have shown inclination to work in middle-east, US and Asia-pacific region, which is a regular feature over a period of a decade or so. For this group, SHIKHA surely gives a value-addition in terms of the spoken communicative skills in English, and for which they would be definitely placed at a slightly comfort level and zone, as compared to their counter-parts of Non-English speakers across the globe.
This is going to be another feather in the cap of TSSTEP to evolve patterns and systems to help the deserving students who have access to the learning of English. The role of the TSSTEP is to facilitate and coordinate with its district units, and with Collectors ( as they happened to be chairman of district STEP units under the guidance of Directorate of Youth Service), in order to promote and propagate so that the benefits of the SHIKHA program would ultimately reach the last-mile village of Telangana State.
This program is an on-line server based English teaching, primarily focused on spoken and communicative skills of English. This program needs a simple lap-top, headphones, e-mail id and internet / wi-fi connection. This program shall be sent via internet to each of the students with an individual roll number to act as the unique student ID.
English SHIKHA consists of 90 lessons about 40 minutes each. These lessons can be completed by the students in 90 days or even a few more, at any time convenient to the student . The lessons will take the students from the basic “A” , “B”, “C”, “D” of English to the formation of words and sentences. Common errors committed while using English shall also be covered by English-SHIKHA. Students can also ask questions by writing them down on their keyboard during the lessons. These questions shall be answered individually and collectively through the lessons.
Tests will be held regularly at the end of the lessons, with the last lesson being a “final exam”.
Development of soft skills
Soft skills like filling of forms, writing their CVs, interacting with people, etiquette & table manners and appearing for interview will also be part of English-SHIKHA.
The course English- SHIKHA is conceptualized and developed by “EKISTIC Consultancy Services, Hyderabad” in coordination with the Department of Youth Services. The SHIKHA as envisaged and designed jointly by TSSTEP ( under Department of Youth Services) and EKISTIC consultancy services, would certainly go a long way in preparing the youth in terms of skill- upgradation and skill development in communicative / spoken language of English. The Department of Youth Services has a a short-term plan of covering 500 students initially, and after assessing the inputs in a post-scenario it would up-scale it to 5000 students for this current financial year..