Q1. What policy changes from the government are required to promote the higher education in India?
- Over the last few years, Indian higher education system has undergone rapid expansion and remarkably transformed its landscape. In spite of numerous operational and infrastructural challenges, India has witness to bettered its enrolment numbers and dramatically enhanced its learning outcomes. It is evident that the higher education system in India has taken a leap step in the recent year with the intervention of various thought leaders including former president of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee and continuous progressive steps taken by University Grant commission (UGC).
- Despite these radical progressive trends, India’s higher education system are not yet the best in the world. Still it requires a policy level changes to make these steps sustainable and more significant. Although recently by giving autonomy status to some of the selected institutions and universities, government is trying to diminish it role in governance of higher education, but it is not sufficient enough. It further requires to promote industry academia collaboration which can address so many contextual questions. Some of these suggestions are listed below;
- Develop industry and academia collaborations to promote applied research
- Introduce faculty development and exchange programs with top-end institutions
- Give adequate weightage to industry experience while recruiting faculty
- Encourage industry professionals to take up faculty positions in institutes / universities.
- Develop a mechanism to encourage industry professionals to take up part-time faculty assignments
- Thrust towards internationalization
- Compulsory accreditation
- Moving from monitoring inputs to regulating outcomes
- Strict norms for maintaining a good student faculty ratio, as per international level.
- In-house Capacity development
Q2.What is your view on incorporating some specialized subjects in the curriculum for project management and other soft skills?
- The existing courses need to revisit yearly on a regular basis in the light of current application and concerns. Whatever is out dated or not contextual needs to be modify according to current requirement. Lengthy courses can be fragmentized in two or more modules for developing better understating. In management and engineering education, it is indeed very important to introduce the courses like project management in association with some industry partners. Through which student can get exposure of real time project management issues.
- Current form of education in India is unable to plugin entrepreneurial qualities in the existing set of students. It is demand of time to offer courses on entrepreneurship and self-employment to impart relevant skills to create entrepreneurs and develop future business leaders for the country. Thus, it is indeed required to introduce such courses which can boost the entrepreneurial behavior of an Indian manager or engineer.
- Similarly, for soft skill courses despite focusing on class room learning there should be emphasis on communication lab base training module, which may give more desired outcome.
Q3. How can we prepare tomorrow’s engineers who are commercially viable? How can we bridge the gap between college education and industry expectations?
- For preparing tomorrow’s commercially viable engineers & managers the existing form of education, its content, delivery and its construct needs a thoughtful re-examine. There is a documented gap between skill needed to accomplish the job on time and those acquired during a student’s academic career. A good manager or engineer needs strong theoretical knowledge and practical skills to enter in the profession at any level. Ultimate objective of management or engineering education will not be achieved if there exists either skill or training gap.
- Therefore to fill these gaps one must dialog and implement the concept of Problem Base Learning (PBL) and Case Base Learning (CBL) in India’s current professional higher education system. It is well known that the Problem base learning (PBL) integrate content knowledge and skill development, whereas Case-based learning (CBL) provide structured environment with full of information /material to decide embedded in the case. The major different between PBL and CBL is that CBL provides cause that have solutions, whereas PBL provides problem that are yet to be solved. CBL provide a skill development and practice in a safe environment; whereas PBL provides skill development and practice in live business environment (range from low to high risk) with no previously established solution.
- Neither PBL nor CBL be replacement for each other, since both has its parallel merits and demerits. However, the idea of blending the both can provide answers of so many question; which are prominent in the current situation. This can produce commercially viable engineers and managers for the industry and can bridge the gap between theory and practice, which is a major challenge in the current system. Industry academia association & mandatory Industry exposure to faculties can also bridge the gap between industry expectations and college education.
Q4. What is the importance of diversified technical courses in new order employment scenario?
- As per a report published by FICCI higher education summit 2013, only 10% of general graduates and 25% of engineers and MBAs are employable. These percentages are not changed significantly over the last 4 to 5 years. Diversified technical as well skill base courses are found to be capable of filling this vacuum in the current scenario. These Diversified and skill base courses help a student to develop a variety of workplace competencies and transferable skills which help them in setting educational and training goals of high skill /high wages positons.
- Further industry driven short term courses with industry sponsored research projects can create a significant impact. Capstone and simulation-based course may provide more application orientation which can fill the gap between industry and academia.
Q5. Why the students find it difficult to get employment after completing the education and have to go after additional qualifications?
- The dynamics of relationship between education credentials and employment opportunities has significantly changed in recent time. Students perceive their academic qualifications as having a decline role in shaping their employment outcomes. Unfortunately, the same has also been supported by the industry. This lead and provides oxygen for the fashion of an additional qualification. The desired skill set and knowledge which makes a student industry ready is not matching with the current academic curriculum. This create a gap between skill required by the industry and skill produced inside the institutions. After completing the education in such environment students find themselves jack of all but master of none. They develop a hypothesis that additional qualification might help them and therefore they go for the same.
Q6. How industry can contribute better in designing curriculum’s as per their requirements?
- It is difficult to negate that one of prominent objective of education is to make skilled and employable workforce for the country which can readily adapt to the dynamic work environment. It is possible by evolving and streamline the current structure of course curriculum according to industry requirement. It is high time for introducing industry oriented & skill-based courses and trainings to enable enhanced employability. Few narratives steps can be as follows;
- Identify the skill set needed by the industry according its own nature.
- Point out the gaps between the need and the supplied workforce by the institutions.
- Design and translate the need of the conceptual framework based on identified gaps.
- Conceptualize the learning outcome and match it with course objective in the light of the gaps.
- Link and validate it with suitable and compatible contents.
- Ensure it delivery in blended mode of PBL and CBL by professors and industry experts.
- Integrating industry internships in to the curriculum
- Include industry-based project component in evaluation rubric.
These steps may be helpful to industry as well academia to produce industry ready products from the institutions. Further institutions can send their faculties for Industry exposure through industry attachment program. The ultimate objective should be focus on learning by doing. There are countless illustrations of the possibility for the same.
“Any fool can know the point is to understand and apply”.
Krishan K. Pandey (Ph.D.)
Professor , Jindal Global Business School,
Director “Office of Docotoral Studies”
O P Jindal Global University,
Sonipat-Narela Road, Near Jagdishpur Village, Sonipat,
Haryana-131001, NCR of Delhi