Addressing professional certification needs of higher learning of its personnel below officers rank including recognition of ‘in service’ training, Indian Air Force (IAF) today, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), launching ‘Akashdeep’– a project registering existing airmen training institutes as Community Colleges enabling all serving airmen to obtain a Bachelor’s degree within 8-13 years of their service.
The MoU allowing conferring of educational certifications to airmen and NCs (E) (Non Combatants) (Enrolled) within the parameters laid down by IGNOU for Community Colleges was signed by Air Officer-In-charge Personnel, Air Marshal KJ Mathews on behalf of IAF and by IGNOU Vice Chancellor, Prof. V.N. Rajasekharan Pillai in the presence of the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, senior IAF, IGNOU Officials and the MoU beneficiaries – IAF Airmen and NCs (E).
Under the arrangements, the two modules of the Joint Basic Phase Training (JBDT) will enable airmen to earn credit points that would be transferred to IGNOU for completing their Certificates, Diplomas and Associate Degrees in Arts, Science, Commerce, Business Administration, Hotel Management, Hospitality services, Medical services, Para Medical Sciences, Office Management, Automobile Trade performing skill, Music, Instrument Music. Subsequent to this, an airman can enroll for a one-year distance learning programme with IGNOU leading to award of Bachelor’s Degree.
For the non-combatants, the basic trade training imparted at IAF Training Institutes will make them eligible for award of Certificates in their respective trade by IGNOU. The launch of the project will immediately benefit nearly one lakh IAF personnel who will, on completion of the syllabus receive a Degree from the National University that has the potential to transform their post-retirement life besides helping them prepare for competitive jobs.
Presently, the entry level qualification requirements for airmen in IAF is 10+2 in Group-X and Y trades (Technical and non-technical trades), and Class-X for Group-Z trade (Musicians). For NCs (E), the minimum educational qualification requirement is also Class-X. However, individuals who did not complete 10+2 examination prior to joining the IAF can undergo a bridge programme of one semester before qualifying for registration to the Associate Degree.
Better qualified human resources will help IAF in gainful utilization of its resources. The programme, while validating IAF training curriculum is also one among the several welfare measures for its personnel. Project Akashdeep also signifies IAF’s association with sky and its quest for knowledge.