The Centre is working on a plan to offer diploma courses in open and distance learning mode in medical laboratory technology, medical imaging technology and operation theatre technology in a public-private partnership.
While a blueprint of the two-year diploma programmes is almost ready, the Niti Aayog is holding consultations with the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) and the States to roll out the programme.
While the NIOS will register the students, provide programme contents and conduct the examinations, top-rated private hospital groups will be roped in as partners so that their facilities and expertise can be utilised in providing hands-on training to the students.
Students to be enrolled in the proposed programmes will have to mandatorily complete 1600 hours of “contact programme” in hospitals.
The Niti Aayog is spearheading the move to roll out the programme after the success of the NIOS’ distance education programme for the health workers in Bihar.
“We are in touch with the Niti Aayog for the rollout of the diploma programme in PPP mode. Niti Aayog has approached us to become a partner in conducting the diploma courses looking at the success of our health workers training programme in Bihar,” NIOS chairman CB Sharma told reporters at a press conference here on Wednesday.
The NIOS, which functions under the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry, has been conducting a certificate course under a memorandum of understanding with the Bihar government to develop the skills of the health workers available in the State.
The open school has so far trained 20,000 health workers in Bihar to enable them minimum health services.
“These health workers are generally called as quacks. After training, they are able to provide minimum health care services, particularly in rural areas. These health workers are equipped with basic skills to diagnose the ailments of patients and assist them to reach out to doctors for treatment,” he said.
The university grants commission (UGC) has barred conduct of any technical programme in distance education mode which requires practicals following a Supreme Court’s verdict.
Sharma, however, contended that the diploma programmes in health services, planned by the Niti Aayog, would not come under the purview of the UGC regulations.
“The programme will be conducted under the national skill development framework. Course contents will be vetted by the medical council of India (MCI),” he added.