Higher Education: My Views on Curricula

An acquaintance of mine, a former chief engineer of PWD, UP is setting up an educational enterprise that will have a school of management as well as a college of engineering in NCR.

He has crossed the last hurdle and managed the final affirmation from the state minister naturally at some cost. He was at my place and as usual I expressed my ideas of the right way of educating the students who shall be paying pretty heavy. I requested my friend to take any money within the rules of the land but see that the institutes prepare and make them readily employable for the industry.

As first thing, I suggested my friend to have a separate graduate school of science too. The school can teach engineering science and applied mathematics for in a two years course for the students of engineering as well as admit some for graduation in pure science subjects such as physics and mathematics. The school of science may cater to the many engineering colleges in the vicinity.

I wanted my friend to teach computer application as subject to students of all the streams as a computer has become a necessity today and learning aid too. And as soon as possible, the institute must see that a good laptop with a real high speed broadband facility is with all the students.

While carrying on the discussion on making them employable, I suggested having a compulsory English communication course for all the students, as most of the students coming from the rural India are generally deficient in English. He can get the task, if he wishes so, outsourced locally to expert communication institutes if available. I wish some amount of soft skills such as team working and physical fitness along with corporate ethics are also taught.

But my main thrust was on a major focus course of entrepreneurship and innovation in the final year for every student with help of a creativity centre and laboratory as well as external faculty from industry and specialized institutes.

It started appearing that my friend was getting impressed and involved with my ideas. I came out with my last bomb. Each of the students must get a two-weeks exposure to real work in the companies related to his subjects in every semester– at least five to six companies- small, medium or big. And every semester, at least six experienced managers from the industries must address the students on the contemporary issues of the commerce and business in the country. The institute must come up with memoranda of agreements with as many companies as possible for this. The faculty must research and work on the problems of those companies if they so request.

My interaction went on the content of the subject such as mechanical, electrical, or computer. I wanted the course material to emphasize on the practical aspects of design and development, manufacturing processes used for producing, the quality control system and engineering, and maintenance skill requirement for products. To expand on the subject, a mechanical engineer must have the knowledge of designing a product say a bicycle, the manufacturing processes used to manufacture that, the control needed to assure the quality of the bicycle, and skill required to maintain it. This is the basic minimum expectation from the mechanical engineer. Why should the institute not prepare him like that? The continuous interaction with the industrial enterprises will make it easier to happen effectively.

Should the above not be the curricula for higher education particularly in engineering colleges?

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