Mega placement drive in Gujarat: Number of students who land job will earn points for collectors

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Students at the placement camp in Ahmedabad. (Express Photo)

In a bid to improve placements for students graduating from its colleges as well as grant-in-aid colleges, the Gujarat government has directly linked the employment generation at its ongoing mega placement drive to the performance evaluation of district collectors.

District collectors have been asked to get as many industry participants as possible along with students for the placement process that is on till Thursday. The grades and awards of the district revenue heads will depend on the number of students placed.

“The idea is to give a clear signal that this (placements) is a matter of priority for the government,” said Anju Sharma, Principal Secretary, Education.

Gandhinagar Collector Kuldeep Arya said, “We have been asked to mobilise as many industries for maximum placements. Also, we have been asked to physically monitor the camp in the respective district on the scheduled dates.” The placement in Gandhi-nagar is scheduled on Thursday.

The move comes after the disappointing placement process held for the first time in 2019 where the participation of both students and employers was poor, resulting in just 15 per cent of the students getting jobs.

According to Sharma, the reasons for the poor show last year when placement camps were held in 24 of the 33 districts, against 30 this year, are, “There was a lot of duplication of candidates who registered. Many did it only for the sake of experiencing the placement process and later did not turn up or accept the offers. Also, there was a mismatch between jobs offered by industries and the requirement and preference of students.”

In 2019, of the 74,000 students who registered for the placement camp, only 35,000 were present at the camps, which is 47 per cent. Of these, 18,992 were claimed to be shortlisted for further rounds of interviews and only 5,121 were finally selected. So only 15 per cent was actually hired by 1,290 companies through the 24 camps organised across 15 days.

In addition to placements, this year, the collectors’ performance evaluation is linked to the number of candidates offered apprenticeship in industries. Included in placement camp this year, a separate count of apprenticeship is also being tracked during camps. District collector’s placement performance for the annual ‘best collector award’ is to be scientifically evaluated with the help of a formula that has been devised on the parameters of number of students placed in the current year, number of students placed previous year as well as total number of students.

On how the collectors had been given this additional responsibility, Sharma said, “This is the first time they have been roped in. Previous year, I just wrote to them seeking their support. Though they are not directly responsible this year, they can certainly fetch an extra mark in their performance evaluation if they do...”

Amit Arora, Collector Panchmahal, one of the tribal districts in the state, told The Indian Express, “As informed in one of the video-conference meetings, we know that the performance marks of initiatives in higher education would be one of the parameters for performance evaluation of collectors.”

Speaking about the efforts, he said, “We held meetings with college principals as well as industries, including co-operatives, and discussed about hiring through a government organised transparent placement process. Also, a lot of skill matching was done on our behalf on availability of students against the particular job profile, which was followed by conducting soft skill development sessions for students.”

Panchmahal district organised its placement camp on February 13 and 14 at Govind Guru University, Godhra.

Ayushi Raval, a student of bio-medical engineering, among 30 final year students registered out of 70 students in her batch, said, “Companies such as Accenture placed 4-5 students from our class with a package of Rs 3.5 to Rs 4 lakh... many want to pursue higher education abroad and others were offered marketing of medical instruments, which the students did not accept.”

Covering the entire state, the mega placement camp that began on February 6 for government and grant-in-aid techincal and non-technical colleges across the state is scheduled in 30 districts till February 20.

‘Job not preferred’ An assessment by the state government showed that many students opt for higher education, especially abroad, while many in the state prefer setting up their own enterprise and don’t prefer a job. The same was reiterated by Energy Minister Saurabh Patel at the inauguration of the placement camp at Gujarat Technological University (GTU) in Ahmedabad on February 13, where he observed that Gujaratis were unwilling to leave their home to do a job.

“Why do we see mostly non-Gujaratis in sectors like banks? Because these are transferable jobs and we know in Gujarat, husbands do not want to leave thier wives and vice-versa and also for a job that pays them Rs 8,000-10,000, which they believe they can easily earn staying with them. The government can only create opportunities for you but it is for you to grab these opportunities,” he said then.

Rajnikant Ekidecha, a final year civil engineering student from LD Engineering College, Ahmedabad, who appeared for interview at GTU said, “Most of the students in our batch have joined their family-run construction companies,” adding that while only 12 were placed during campus placements, 15 had registered for the camp. The total strength of the batch is 148.

E-Dot Equal opportunities The Gujarat government decided to take charge of the placement process to give equal opportunities to the over 1.3 lakh graduating students of government and government-funded institutes in the job market. The intention to bring these students on par with those from self-financed institutes was a welcome move. In its second year, the “mega placement drive” has attempted to take lessons from the previous year’s experiences and feedback received both from the prospective employees and employers and take corrective steps.