Electric girls generate power

MUMBAI: This tale of empowerment comes from the state government-run Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Thane. ITIs are government institutes that provide skill-based training to youth from underprivileged sections of society. This batch of 21 electricians will graduate from the all-girls Thane ITI in August.
Jyoti Baviskar, who hails from a village in Bhusawal, joined the ITI in 2014 for the electrician’s course as her family couldn’t afford to pay for her BCom course fee after her father passed away.
“Initially my mother was worried about letting me study to become an electrician, but I convinced her. I had never seen a washing machine or a microwave, I was fascinated with these appliances and wanted to know how they work,” said Jyoti, dressed in a pink kurta and black salwar, working on a motor circuit in their practical lab.
The fee in an ITI is Rs 2,000 for students under reservation and Rs 3,000 for open category students.
This batch was given a 2-month long training program at Tata power units in Varap, where the girls had to work on overhead wires to find fault in the conductor and replace them. Once they complete their course, they will be tied up with a company for 1 year apprenticeship.

 “For the training sessions we were shown out to handle heavy installations like a power sub-stations and conductors. Our trainers said that there were very few girls who work as electricians and it made me very proud,”said Ashwini Pandhare, a final year student.
“Beautician courses, courses in fashion designing and secretarial practice are the most popular courses that girls opt, but now the trend seems to be changing and girls too are willingly to take up jobs that seem ‘difficult’,” said Jyoti Lohar, principal of the Kopari, ITI.
 Lohar said that despite all the facilities, one of the biggest reasons for drops out is either inability of the family to pay the fee or marriage. “There have been instances when parents of some girls have come to me asking me to cancel her name from the college because they wanted her to get married. We have counselling sessions with those parents, the student and also the groom’s family asking them to let her complete her course,” said Lohar.
 The state government is in the process of starting virtual classrooms in these institutions. “We are trying to revamp the entire ITI setup. We are starting virtual classrooms in ITI’s, we will be inviting experts from all the fields to talk to students,” said Principal Secretary, Deepak Kapoor.