As social, cultural, political and economic forces shape innovation, engineering education has to mould itself accordingly
With the pace of technological innovation following the Moore’s law more than ever before, the demand for engineering skills is rising astronomically. The biggest trial will be the intense global connectivity that will pose a challenge to India for meeting cutting-edge engineering education levels. The good news is this will make sure that engineering education standards in India get pressured to meet global standards.Today, an average engineering degree aspirant needs to be a multi-skilled, multi-talented individual who can no longer stay within the technology corner of the playing field. He or she is expected to not only be a good engineer, but also have a proper understanding of the business environment. As social, cultural, political and economic forces continue to shape technological innovation, the education needed to skill this sector has to mould itself accordingly.
Effective communication, real and virtual tools, and listening and visual will be the deciding factors for a skilled engineer. To arm engineers with the skills of the future, AICTE has set up a committee of subject-matter experts to review the existing syllabi. Based on their recommendations, changes will be made to the curricula at engineering and technical institutes—excluding IITs and NITs. This could be a smart move, especially considering the results of Aspiring Minds’ Employability Report of 2016, which noted that 80% of engineers in India are unemployable due to various reasons.
Under the Make-in-India initiative, over the next five years, as many as 100 million jobs could be created in the manufacturing sector, with 8-13% of these being in engineering and related sectors. Smart Cities will add fuel to the growth of these sectors, and thus engineering sector job growth.
To meet the need for excellence in engineering, many institutions are revamping their syllabi in accordance with industry needs—the industry-academia connect required for that is growing fast. Some initiatives that can support better engineering education are choice-based credit system (CBCS) that help students take a variety of courses and a patent office that eases the process for student innovators. In addition, collaboration with bodies like Microsoft IT Academy, Cisco Networking Academy, IBM University, to name a few, can add a lot of value to the curriculum. Many colleges have entrepreneurial education centres that can help students blossom in their own businesses. I am convinced that stronger and regular links between universities and industry will lead to
In addition, collaboration with bodies like Microsoft IT Academy, Cisco Networking Academy, IBM University, to name a few, can add a lot of value to the curriculum. Many colleges have entrepreneurial education centres that can help students blossom in their own businesses. I am convinced that stronger and regular links between universities and industry will lead to higher employability of students. Clearly, new-age engineers need to be experts in all functions in almost all industries—soon we might need an army of engineers that are skilled generalists as well as good businessmen.That combination will be hard to beat.
The author is director, Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal, Karnataka. Views are personal