In a bold initiative inaugurated yesterday (8th December) at Tezpur in Sonitupur district of Assam, Guwahati province Salesians laid foundation stone for the first of four Social and Technological Institutes designed to skill rural youth. Similar institutes will come up in the coming year at Maligaon (Kamrup), Barpeta Road (Barpeta) and Mendal (East Garo Hills).
Among the dignitaries who assisted at the colourful foundation stone laying ceremony were former Tezpur Bishop Robert Kerketta, Vice Chancellor of Tezpur University Dr Mihir Kanti Chaudhuri, Vice Chancellor of Assam Don Bosco University Dr Stephen Mavely, and former Salesian Provincial of Guwahati Dr Joseph Almeida.
“It has been our dream, over 40 years now, to start something for skills training of rural unemployed youth in Tezpur where Salesian pioneer missionaries established missions before 1970s,” said Salesian provincial of Guwahati Fr V.M. Thomas.
Italian missionaries Frs Ravelico, Alessi, Cerato and Turco under the leadership of Bishop Oreste Marengo set up several parishes and schools in Tezpur diocese.
“Even though India is the job factory for the world our educated and uneducated young people are unemployable. With the series of social and technological institutes our endeavour is to increase that number of skilled and employable youth power,” said Fr Thomas recalling what Infosys CEO Narayan Murti told him some two years ago when he requested the IT tycoon to start a project in Assam.
“I need 3,000 IT engineers every year from the region to set up shop here,” said Mr Murti who went and set up shop in Bhubaneshwar.
Besides, Office Management, Hospitality, Youth Leadership, Teachers and Principals Training program to ensure quality education, the institute will be engaged in advocacy, research and publication.
Speaking about the Don Bosco group at the occasion Dr Chaudhuri said, “If they (Salesians) wish and they have decided to do something, God is there, and it will happen.”
He insisted on training the youth of the region in, “attitude, aptitude and skill development,” as the most important role of the new institution.
To make his wish concrete, Tezpur University Vice Chancellor pledged support not only financially but also throwing open TezpurUniversity’s School of Technology, both labs and faculty, at the new institute’s disposal.
Some 500 plus people participated at the event which was laced with cultural program from youth groups of neighboring institutions, including a spirited and enthralling Assamese bihu dance by local cultural troupe.