India produces lakhs of engineers every year. But several studies have pointed out that a majority of them are not employable. Further, the number of engineers who take up research as a career is very small. In fact, our schooling system is such that there is a stronger focus on scoring high in annual exams rather than practical understanding of subjects.
To provide a platform that, among other things, creates an ecosystem for promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in the schools, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is initiating its Faraday programme in India.
“There is a lack of skill quotient in even the educated youth of India and it is a matter of grave concern,” says Shekhar Sanyal, IET India Director. He is of the opinion that the change needs to happen at the school level and we need to understand the real-life application of the theories we study.
The Faraday programme has associated with the NIIT University which will provide free-of-cost training to teachers through a series of workshops and Faraday mentors, to empower them to teach STEM subjects in the schools. These subjects will then be taught to schoolchildren through various methods that could vary from plays to classroom activities.
“There is no definite pattern to teach these subjects. It could be in the form of a show as we did in various theatres across the UK or an action-packed event that keeps students engaged. In fact, we keep changing the method according to the need,” says Prof William Webb, IET President.
Schools in India are different from those in the UK and other countries and have various issues to tackle before they can start with STEM subjects. It is to understand these issues and how can they incorporate STEM subjects in the current academic situation that they are starting with a pilot programme with some schools in Mewat and Gurgaon (Haryana), Leh (J&K), Dahej (Gujarat), among other regions. The Faraday programme has also associated with the SRF Foundation, which is already working in schools in the Mewat region, to gauge some prior ground experience.
The pilot programme will be launched in October this year and has partnered with 10 schools. NCERT body National Repository of Open Educational Resources has also come on board to support the initiative.