About JSS Scheme
Jan Shiksha Sansthans are non-formal vocational educational institutions for adults. By linking literacy with vocational training, JSSs seek to improve the quality of life of the beneficiaries. In the beginning, these institutions were organising vocational training and skill upgradation programmes mostly for industrial workers in the urban area. But after the introduction of the National Literacy Misison in 1988, almost the entire country has been covered by literacy campaigns and now JSSs are being set up in different districts in the country to consolidate the gains of the literacy campaigns and improve the quality of life through vocational training. The JSSs now have the entire district as their area of operation and they are expected to work as district level resource support agencies in organising vocational training programmes for neo literates. JSSs in some places are also running continuing education centres and Nodal Continuing Education Centres.
JSSs are registered societies set up as non-governmental organisation and the affairs of the JSSs are looked after by a board of management. The Government of India is keen that funds which are provided to these JSSs are utilised as per the approved pattern in meeting the needs of deprived sections of society and helping them to enhance their income generating capacities.
The population explosion, industrial development and migration of people from rural to urban areas have resulted in the very fast growth of the urban sector in the country. Rapid urbanisation has created many socio-economic problems making life miserable, particularly for migrants and deprived communities who normally live in human conditions in the slums, on pavements, in settlement colonies, labour colonies, etc. Many are first generation migrants exposed to the stark realities of complex urban life and the industrial milieu. Similar conditions affect people living in the peripheral rural area who have links with the neighbouring urban agglomerations for employment, business, services, etc. Lack of education and skill – both vocational and technical, have left migrants unemployed/under-employed. Even those who have got jobs in factories/industries/business establishment receive a meagre sum as wage/salary and hence, they are frequently unable to make both ends meet. Many, particularly youth, have fallen prey to anti-social elements. An urgent need therefore exists for specialised education integrated with awareness and functional improvement for such people.
Relating this need and growing urbanisation to the coming decades, the them Ministry of Education and Culture, Government of India, started a scheme of Shramik Vidyapeeths – a programme of Adult Education for Workers in urban and industrial areas. In the context of the country's overall development, this programme was conceived as responding to the educational and vocational training needs of numerous groups of adults and young people. Men and women belonging mostly to the unorganised, urban informal sector, living and working in urban and industrial areas and persons who have been migrating from rural to urban settings, were expected substantial benefit from such a scheme.
The fist Shramik Vidyapeeth was established in Mumbai (Worli) in the year 1967 and gradually the number increased to 17 up to 1983, to 40 in 1986 and to 58 by the end of VIII Five Year Plan, that is, 1996-97. These institutions have already proved to be one of the best vocational adult education centres in the country and the courses offered by these institutions are in popular demand. The SVCs offered around 225 different types of vocational training programmes ranging from candle and agarbatti making to computers.
Hitherto, the scheme of Shramik Vidyapeeths was restricted to urban/semi-urban industrial areas. Keeping in view the changing literacy scenario in the coutnry and the large number of neo-literates to be covered under continuing education (in which skill development/upgradation is a part), the activities of Shramik Vidyapeeths are proposed to be enlarged to provide academic and technical resource support to Zilla Saksharata Samitis (District Literacy Committees) in taking up vocational and skill development programmes for neo-literates in both urban and rural areas and also to organise equivalency programmes through open learning system.
To facilitate the playing of a better role, the institutions were renamed as Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) – Institute of People' Education (IPE) with increased financial support.