The Technical Education System of our country has been going through a paradigm shift during the last couple of days mainly in two dimensions – (i) there has been a phenomenal growth in numbers of technical institutions and (ii) private participation has increased many folds. Such significant changes have been accompanied by the emergence of “Deemed-to-be” Universities with substantial levels of administrative, financial and academic autonomy. This process of transformation of technical education system has coincided with the process of globalization of our national economy and naturally, this has given rise to various opportunities and threats. Several salient features relevant in these perspectives, are being listed below:
- Such a quantum jump in enrollment within a short time frame has the potential for lack of quality – mainly, in a country, like that of ours, where the number of inputs (ie. Students) has never been a problem due to huge population of our country. Surveys made by various agencies insist that a large number of outputs from these technical institutions are unemployable – and hence, our industries are desperately in need of properly-trained manpower.
- While autonomy is generally expected to play a critical role in improving the functionality of an institution, it may lead to a disaster if proper accountability is not enforced together with such autonomy. Moreover, such accountability in education system cannot be enforced by external agencies only; this notion of accountability has to be embedded within the administration of the institution itself.
- Most of the recently established technical institutions concentrate only of subjects related to information technology and its associated disciplines (like computer science & engineering, electronics and telecommunication engineering etc.). The motivation for taking such decisions has mainly been driven by low establishment cost and high market demand. Hence, in spite of such a phenomenal increase in number of technical institutions, the core sector industries engaged in building infrastructure are still starving of quality manpower.
- The present globally seamless world has created an opportunity for our indigenous industries to venture off-shore in a much bigger way and it is absolutely important for technical institutions to concentrate on quality of education. Moreover, such institutions must be fully ready to compete with the best of the world.
- Our technical education system has the inherent drawback of being relatively insulated from interactions with industries – and, this serious impediment still exists. Moreover, while every possible effort has been made to increase the number of enrollment at the undergraduate level, practically hardly any initiative has been made to increase available seats at the postgraduate level, and this in turn has led to the absence of available platforms for supplying properly qualified faculty members for technical institutions.
- There has to be a quantum shift from “purely classroom oriented” teaching to “project-based research-oriented” teaching-learning environment. This would also have a catalytic effect in involving industries effectively in various activities (including curriculum development) of technical institutions.
- Our country being a signatory to Washington Accord, every technical institution must take initiative to get all of its courses accredited so that the certificates emanating out of such institutions are recognized all over the world.
Prof. Swapan Bhattacharya
Former Director NIT Surathkal & NIT Durgapur