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ENGINEERING : The Road Taken By Many Indians

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Dr. Shrihari Prakash Honwad

Pro Vost at MIT World Peace University


If you are guiding someone or know someone who’s going to pursue Engineering, then I’d suggest you take our advice. Read onto the recent Indian Engineering history and the employability of graduates in India.

Indian Engineers dates back to prehistoric times up to 6,000 BC where things like solar drying were used for agricultural commodities. Engineering in India is surely evident that the Indus valley civilization also had the best of engineers of their times. From Africa to Cambodia (Angkor Vat), evidence of ancient Indian Engineering acumen is even today available. Most Indians would want to believe and take inspiration from the characters in our revered Epics such as Maya (of Yudhishtir ’s Mayasabha) and Vishwakarma (the Engineer of Gods). The Indian Engineers accomplishments are not only phenomenal but the world also admires our hard work, work ethics, and innovative ideas.

The wonderful metallurgy and architecture in the form of great temples, tombs, and other monuments is a testimonial to capabilities of Indian Engineers.  In the era of external rulers too, engineering in India engineering continued to thrive and to the great Shah Jahan building Taj Mahal, Indian Engineers have contributed a fair share to our world. Be it the bridges over the endless sea, Huge dams taming the mighty Brahmaputra, railway tracks reaching the remote hills to scientific accomplishments in the form of several Jantar Mantars across the country, these extraordinary engineers have done it all.

 

Historical perspective: Because we have a vast Indian history

Although the Europeans took great leaps through the 18th century and the foreign rulers made all efforts to leave the nation in a state of impoverishment and self-doubt, we still had our heroes in the form of Sir M Vishweshwaraiyah and others who helped independent India catch up with the rest of the world. The race to catch up made Engineering one of the two most coveted careers for Indian students.

The Indian Engineering students have been widely criticized for not willing to dirty their hands and lacking that experience, while their fundamentals have always been second to none making them sound theoreticians leading to being branded as book crammers.

However once hired, these students have always gone on to excel in their jobs, proving their worth and being admired for their lateral thinking ability and relentless hard work which mostly comes from Indian way of life and the Indian life challenges. India rode the 2K computer scare and the subsequent IT boom when all Engineers shouldered the worlds responsibility. Even after IT boom burst, Indian Engineers continued to support the back offices for world’s best while the world continued to enjoy the talent at a very economical cost.

The employment boom resulted in a boom in Engineering Institutions who not only did not feel the need to innovate but when the employment in Industry tapered off became employers of its own product in large numbers. Even today our higher education institutes employ a substantial number of our own graduates. This blindsided not only our academic leaders and the general public but also our regulatory bodies. Quality of teachers and teaching philosophies have become a casualty leading to many problems including lack of industrial connect, poor preparations of graduates being blamed justifiably on poor curricula, poor infrastructure etc.

While the industry tried to adapt to modern changing times, the academia by far remained rigid withering in the onslaught of changed circumstances. The very industry which had employed millions suddenly found the going extremely competitive started demanding greater skillsets which could not be produced overnight. While some blame would have to be taken by regulators and system for rigidity making the change slow and at times impossible.

Recent times have envisaged autonomy bringing competent universities utilizing autonomy to innovate, whose fruits are yet to see the light of the day in large numbers. The time delay, however, has made us lose our advantage, while the rest of the world worked hard to gain a competitive edge. The only trump card that we Indians have right now is perhaps the demographic dividend advantage.

Despite this fact, the world in the current scenario needs plenty of well-equipped, talented graduates with the right attitude. The stagnating job opportunities for engineers in India, coupled with increasing costs of education is taking the shine off Engineering as a most coveted career.

 

Industry: The story of changing faces

The Engineering Industry is compulsively adapting to new paradigms and the result of adapting fast-changing technologies has seen a drastic change in the way an entire civilization used to live. This Technological plague is only kind to adapters and the fast changes in the nature of jobs and even nature of industry have also affected the existing workforce.  The contiguous invasion of Technology has changed jobs and destroyed some, while the academia continued to create graduates using the old mold.

The industries from all over the world have irrevocably intertwined and the global industry as a whole has truly become the ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,’ (the world is one family). This not so gradual change in the industry coupled with exceeding competitiveness has prompted a sizeable set of challenges in terms of new jobs and job requirements. Where a promise of employability is the basic necessity for new industry ready graduates, evidently there is a dreadful lack of the same.

Academics: Strengthening the roots

From building tall Towers to humongous trees to strengthen them further it all comes back to their roots. And Academics plays a vital role in any students career. The state of Indian education is arguably mirroring the fate of the Engineering Graduates. The education sector has turned from a sector that focuses on nourishing the future of India to an industrial sector of society balking under pressure to sustain itself economically. The landscape is filled with many examples of failed institutions and some failing ones all due to inability to innovate or innovate fast.

The regulators and other stakeholders have indeed started many initiatives which range from kneejerk reactions to fundamental changes. In the melee that has followed, one of the welcome changes could be accountability and transparency in academic processes. The market forces determining the need for quality and performance.  Another even more important change has been reorientation from content-based curriculum to the outcome-based curriculum which has a built-in mechanism for continuous self-improvement.

The situation currently is like inbreeding, which leads to the deterioration of the resultant own DNA.  The emerging gap between the industry practices and the curriculum created and taught is waking up people at the helm of an industry that has been struggling with this newfound autonomy and responsibility.  Add to this a boundary condition of financial viability, it is becoming a heady mixture with a lot of churning yet to happen.

There is also an aspect of new jobs being created which is perhaps falling short of new graduates being added thus increasing the competition in the domestic market itself with ten folds. This is leaving a large number of unsuspecting graduates finding themselves ill-equipped to face the challenges of changing times and leading to talk of lack of skills or lack of knowledge or both. The graduate already out there are forced to reinvent themselves and many of them are paying the price for lack of hard work in many cases but also for lack of institutional follies.

There are many rays of light in the misty futures of our engineering graduates and an important one is the option of self-employment and start-ups are a new avenue to be ventured.

Engineering: The Current Scenario

The need to educate possible forty million students every year for higher studies does require a large amount of manageable infrastructure, which can only happen through a large number of institutions. The industry needs are required to be mapped directly on to outcomes expected from these institutions. The time lag in creating graduates itself may create a huge challenge of changing goal posts as a result of the technological invasion.

The education industry should focus on improving the chances of employment of these Engineering graduates by providing them the better facility and on-field training rather than woo more customers. The changing goal post is something, which even the industry is struggling to cope up with. There are examples galore of big players perishing without a trace.

Employability: The Rising Troubles!

The obvious elephant in the room is out. The main problem why the ratio of unemployed engineering graduates is increasing is also due to the quality of education these graduates are receiving. Despite some of the universities promising campus jobs, the graduates often land up working in these companies for only a year or two.  Those fit find greener pastures while others find themselves in a quandary and change professions. The fact that Engineers can move into many other professions easily is not to be misconstrued as a reason not to innovate education itself.

The Graduates should also understand the mix of knowledge and skills they need to develop and focus on building a strong base of knowledge invariants, along with some skills which are also technology independent. Other skills and knowledge that are technology driven need to be acquired from its source, the industry directly and that explains the importance of work experience themselves. The invariant knowledge examples are fundamentals that do not change and the only place where they can be learned is the institutions. During the time spent in the institution’s Communication skills and Teamwork and leadership skills need to be honed as they will come in handy irrespective of time and space. Institutions, after all, must remain faithful to the pursuit of knowledge through research and individuals have the advantage to stop and digress.

India is a very diverse nation known widely for its culture, mythology and home remedies that our grandmother knows at the back of her fingers. It’s famous for its broad Himalayan range, amazing coastline, varied cuisines and among everything for its Incredible engineers. The Indian engineers are the most determined species that has walked on the earth, never getting discouraged by the kinks in Employability of these Engineers. If the Indian Society as a whole unit works for a brighter future than India can one-day witness again when engineering is no more a risky career choice.

The call of the day is to make Engineers who are much more than mere Engineers say Engineers++.

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Universities: National or Local?

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Universities

Dr. Kamlesh Misra

Former Vice Chancellor, Ansal University


India is supposed to have had the roots of higher education dating back as early as the 1000 B.C. Though at that time the education provided by the then institutes were the ancient knowledge of the Vedas. The modern education system was actually set up during the colonization of India and The Indian Higher education has gone through many transformations, some for the better while some for the worst. One of the regrettable change over the year has been the alteration of the universities from national to local.

There was a time in India where there were many universities deemed national. Now, this title has been fading away like the passing wind. Only a few of these universities have managed to keep the title that too with great struggle. Despite this many national universities who have a glorious past, unfortunately, are turning in to local universities like a rapid fire. So, what exactly went wrong which led to land these universities with such defective fate?

Education which is vital for the growth of a country and especially in a developing nation like India, it is more important that the education sector flourishes. It is considered that the universities are a micro picture of the society we live in. It is like the mirror image of the changes in our society. So whatever happens on our campuses doesn’t only affect the students, teachers and faculty but also the nation itself. Several reforms that started around the year 1975 have had a calamitous impact on the universities of India.

Around this era, one of the significant thing that happened was the formation of regional parties in India. The political dispute had a major impact on the education sector. The regional parties wanted to win elections and to have an upper hand on the national parties, these regional parties catered the needs of the local community. However, this thinking didn’t unite the nation to work forward for development instead divided it for worse into National and Regional lines. So we moved from national level thinking to regional level thinking. The cherry on the cake was the steps taken by Regional parties to have topped the political stature. To further strengthen the political hold successive regional governments pushed for admissions of local students in universities. Appointment of faculty and staff was based on regional lines. Though, some can say this was a good move and ensure employment of the locals in the long run, this move had a few setbacks hence declining the level of education. This was a very destructive move for Indian universities.

The local and regional interests were taking priority over the national interests. Although the country is divided into 29 states, in reality, it shouldn’t be divided when working for maintaining the standards of the education system at the global level. This division was made for better governance of the country, not for the destruction and loss of advantage that we had previously on the global community.

Our universities and education sector now is the reflection of this poor governance and divided behaviour. The political pressures ensured that local students got priority in admissions, local people got priority in jobs and this completely ruined the diversity within the University System. As most of the students were and the teacher was becoming then the universities started to become the breeding grounds of the political parties instead of the temple of education. This also cuts back the diverse nature that the Indian Universities usually should provide. Unions became powerful that they have support from political parties as well. These are the few ways which led us to this moment, that we have to witness the fall of the mighty National Universities of India into one with just local jurisdiction.

Only if we could travel back in time and maintain the level of education that we had before. It would be good to have these National Universities back.

 Universities

 

These are some key features of the National Universities:

The Faculty in the National University is among the best of the teachers from around the country and from different parts of the country. Hence bringing the culture and linguistic features with them. Almost all states and union territories are represented in the university by faculty members and administrators.

  • These appointments are based on merit and not the preference of being from that region or being a local of that community, hence its open for all and fair for everyone as it gives everyone equal chance of appointment and also increases the level of competition.
  • There is a fair mix of minorities among the faculty and staff and there is a place for people of different faiths. Hence, it is diverse in nature and can be a learning experience for both teachers and students.
  • Likewise the appointment, the admissions are also open to everyone from the country. Students come from all parts of the country and not just a single region.

Despite all the odds, there are few universities like JNU and University of Delhi (DU) that have been holding onto the position of being a National University. We hope that the golden days of the National Universities will be back like the 90’s fashion. And the concept of local university dissolves as quickly as venom does with blood and kills the ill factors destroying the level of education in India.

What do you think about this? Should Regional or Local benefits be given?

Do you want the National Universities of India to make a comeback?

Let us know in the comments.

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Three Things To Make A Good Teacher

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good teacher

 

Professor (Dr.) Trilok Kumar Jain

—– NAAC ACCREDITED A GRADE  —–  
DIRECTOR, ECOSYSTEM FOR INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP (EIE)
(an SGVU  initiative to promote Innovations and Entrepreneurship)
Principal, SGVU Academic Staff College (GV-ASC)
Professor and Dean, International School of Business Management (ISBM) 
Suresh Gyan Vihar University Jaipur, India

 

Teaching is the best profession in the world because a teacher transforms an ordinary person into an outstanding citizen. The role of the teacher is very difficult to understand and also very challenging. Only someone who loves this profession would be able to do justice with the rising expectations. Being a teacher, I wish to share three fundamental principles, which can help in our transformation.

Don’t Teach – Let them Learn

The overemphasis on teaching kills the opportunities of the transformation of students. Students wish to learn and grow and a teacher is a mere facilitator. It is the fundamental role of the teacher to kindle a desire to learn, understand the hurdles faced by the students and create pathways for learning. This learning may be the result of mutual learning. The good teacher may not be teaching, but creating an environment for learning. The mere presence of good teacher may kindle a desire to learn and students may support each other in the process of learning.

 

Convert Classroom into Learning Centers

 

A teacher converts a classroom into a learning center. Mere a building doesn’t convert it into a learning center. The bricks and mortar present do not create an opportunity to learn. Students may end up feeling frustrated in a suffocating chamber. However, a good teacher can break this situation and convert this room into a learning center, where students are willing to learn something. Their willingness and their efforts to learn to create the required ambiance, which is further developed into an open forum for curiosity, inquisition, inquiry, discussions and information sharing.

Keeping the Slow Learners in Perspective

 

A good teacher has to address a variety of students. A classroom may contain 60 learners, but everyone is not learning at the same pace. Some of these are fast learners and they are able to grab the attention of the teacher also. They are able to increase the speed of discussions in the classroom and create a stimulus for fast-paced learning. The good teacher has to understand that there are also some slow learners. The art of teaching is to blend teaching at such a pace that there are opportunities for learning for both fast learners and slow learners. It is easy to teach to the fast learners. However, a good teacher is someone who is able to reduce the pace to the level of slow learners and enable them to come up to other students also.

READ MORE: Best Education System In The World

The art of teaching of the teacher should create an opportunity for learning for everyone present in the classroom. When the entire class is involved in the learning process, there is a true environment for learning. A new teacher generally tries to be very fast in teaching due to over-enthusiasm.

However, with the passage of time, the teacher realizes that true joy of teaching comes when the student at the bottom of the class emerges as the winner at the end. The transformation of an ordinary student into an extraordinary learner is the best reward for the teacher.

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Gap Between our Education System and Industry

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Prof.(Dr.) Anish Gupta

Asstt. Dean Academics

Editor | Amity Journal of Computational Sciences


Read on our article on the emerging gap between our education system and industry by Prof.(Dr.) Anish Gupta, Asstt. Dean Academics at Amity University

If we look in today’s scenario, we will find there is a tremendous downfall in our existing education system. Generally, we used to hear that many of the colleges were shut down due to lack of admission. Many of the leading industrialist quote that we are producing professional such that 84% of them are not eligible for jobs. Now, the major question which arises is WHY? If we try to understand the major issue for the same, there are various factors which have caused this problem. Still, we are not trying to accept and rectify these issues.

The major issue is our approach. Parents want their child to study, they want that they should score good marks, they should get a good job and earn lots of money. They should be trained from there childhood to become a doctor, engineer etc. as per there family background and suggestions received from others irrespective of the capabilities of their children. But now the question arises what child want? Do he/she want to become the same as his/her parents want? Or he/she want to do something different as per his/her creativity. If we study without interest in any subject or field our productivity will be less and will lead us to inefficient working.

Secondly, our course structure. We used to say and accept that the technology is changing very fast. End-user requirements are changing tremendously. Did our course structure is changing at the same speed? The answer is NO. We have governing bodies known as AICTE, UGC etc., who have made the rule that in the Academic Committee of the Institute there should be members from Industry. The question arises how many do have? How many go for regular meetings? Whether the suggestion received from Industry experts is accepted? And up to what percentage it is being implemented? The answer will be merely 1%. Here we lack in our Education system. We fail to meet industry requirements.

Education System and Industry

Our education system is now required to be specialized rather than domain specific. We should not teach computer engineering. We should teach Artificial Intelligence, Digital Image processing etc. Instead of creating a dentist, we should specialize them into a specific field. If surgery required, then RCT expert should do it instead of a dental surgeon. Such specialization will meet the industry requirement and will lead to fruitful output.

Every College/University should be bound to have an Industrial expert in their Academic body. The quarterly meeting should be conducted, and the suggestion should be implemented in the Academic system. This will lead to the better education system with industry-ready brains.

 

 

 

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