Wipro Technologies, a unit of Wipro Ltd., has set up a teacher training program as part of an effort to improve the quality of engineering school graduates. As India grows rapidly, information technology and other global industries are struggling to find enough high-skilled employees. Only one quarter of the graduates of India's engineering colleges are prepared to join the workforce, an Indian industry trade group study showed. To try to address the problem, Wipro founded a non profit called Mission 10X. Its leaders say they interviewed 300 campus placement officers and 53 heads of universities before deciding that the best way to improve the quality of graduates was to improve the teaching. Mission 10X has spent $4 million annually for the past three years running week-long workshops at engineering colleges around the country. So far 10,000 professors have participated in the five-day workshops that include videotaping the teachers' lectures, giving them feedback and advising them on how to engage students in discussions and show them how to apply knowledge. Mission 10X programs are free, and the foundation shows up only when invited by colleges. The foundation follows up within three months with a two-day refresher session and then mentors the professors online. Yogesh Nerkar, principal of PVG College of Engineering and Technology in Pune says attendance in his classes soared when he applied the techniques he learned in the workshops after participating in one in 2008. Nearly 90% of his students attended his classes last year, he says, a big increase from the 40% who used to show up under duress before he participated in the workshop. He says he's put projectors in all classes so professors can use audiovisuals to explain diagrams instead of spending a big part of their time drawing on the blackboard. Now Wipro is expanding the program, hoping to offer the workshops to another 25,000 engineering faculty members over the next three years, Mission 10X leaders say.
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