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Enhancing Employability in Technical Education System
The case study provides information on the existing scenario of technical education at under graduate level with specific reference to expansion of technical education and teaching-learning process in majority of the engineering colleges. A matrix of teaching-learning process is presented to draw attention of teachers for providing varied learning experiences which are generally not given the desired seriousness by the teachers while imparting instructions. It highlights the need for promoting entrepreneurship as a career and details out strategies for making the system vibrant for greater employability of students
By Professor (Dr.) L.N. Mittal
Director-QIP, Geeta Institute of Management & Technology
There has been a phenomenal expansion of technical education at under graduate level throughout the length and breadth of the country. If one tries to find out the number of engineering colleges and the intake capacity at this level at a given point of time, it may be difficult to quantify the information. From the data available online, in the year 2010-11, the number of engineering colleges are 3241 with an intake capacity of 13,24,000 students in the country (www.aicte-india.org). Today the scenario is such that, any student passing out with 50 percent marks (in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics) at 10+2 level is able to secure a seat in an engineering college.
Though the admission in the Engineering Colleges has become quite easy but the curriculum of various courses at under graduate level requires considerable amount of ‘cognitive abilities’ for comprehension of concepts, principles and practices at the part of students. A good percentage of students are not able to cope up with their studies, with the result that 35-40 percent of the students are placed in compartments in the very first year.
It has also been experienced that majority of industrial or field organisations do not consider students to appear for placement interviews who have less than 60-65 percent marks right from 10+ to 10+2 and up to graduation without having any compartment (s). There are many students who do not qualify the above stipulation. Further, due to worldwide recession, the employment market is having an adverse affect due to which the wage employment opportunities are shrinking.
In the context of above background, some expectations of the corporate world from the engineering students in terms of their employability are given below.
Expections of Corporate World from Budding Engineers
Engineers are basically cognitive workers. They plan activities and resources at macro and micro levels such as physical, human and financial for achieving desired results at minimal cost. Interaction with number of corporate executives reveals that industry or corporate world expects engineers to possess the following skills
- Acquisitive capabilities: the capability to acquire knowledge/technologies for effective functioning in various functional areas.
- Adaptive capabilities: the flexibility of adopting new methods and techniques.
- Operative capabilities: the know-how of production/ fabrication/installation practices, codes and standards, production engineering, diagnostic and managerial skills.
- Innovative capabilities: ability to anticipate future demands and to develop new design, processes, technologies and systems.
It can be seen that most of the aspects of learning can be developed by paying greater attention to practical work in laboratories and workshop and even more through industrial training and project work. This matrix is highly relevant for the faculty working in the engineering colleges should who can implement the same in spirit of the benefit for the students and sustenance of the system as a whole. Further, good practical training and providing need based project assignments are also vital to enhance the employability of students as well as promote entrepreneurship.
|Matrix of Teaching-Learning Process
There is a matrix of teaching-learning process, which indicates various aspect of learning viz: cognitive, psychomotor and affective and highlights the type of learning experiences to be given to students for developing what is required from the students in the corporate world.
|Sr. No||Aspects of Learning||Learning Experiences|
|Lecture Class||Tutorial Class||Laboratories Workshops||Seminars||Industrial
|7.||Learning to Learn||—||—||—||Ö||Ö||Ö|
|12.||Attitudes & Values||Partly||Ö||—||Ö||Ö|
Entrepreneurship as a Career
An entrepreneur is a person who has possession of a new enterprise, venture or idea and is accountable for the inherent risks and the outcome. Entrepreneurs emerge from the population on demand and become leaders because they perceive opportunities available and are well positioned to take advantage of these.
- Necessity is the mother of invention
- Motivational factors of an individual such as need to excel
- Knowledge/understanding of socio-economic environment
- Managerial capabilities of an individual
- Understanding ones strength and weaknesses
- Dignity of labour
Good practical training and providing need based project assignments are vital to enhance the employability of students as well as promote entrepreneurship
Entrepreneurship thus may be defined as a career in one’s own business that produces job creators and not job seekers which play a vital role in changing the stereo typed environment in the engineering colleges. This also enables in developing innovative capabilities, learning-to-learn skills, thinking and problem solving skills and a research culture in the Institutions. This can be made possible by properly utilizing the current slots of practical training of 4-6 weeks after 4th and 6th semesters respectively and minor and major project periods to transform at least 20-30% students as “Cognitive Entrepreneurs”.
“Cognitive Entrepreneurs” are perceived as persons who provide solution alternatives to different type of problems of the Industrial/Commercial world. These Entrepreneurs utilize their cognitive abilities like analysis, synthesis and evaluation or in other words thinking capabilities to find solution to problem faced by client organizations.
Strategies to Enhance Employability of Students:
Role of Students
- Seriousness in studies. An engineering student requires 12-14 hours of study per day, around 7 hours sleep and 4 hours a day for his/her personal self
- Seriousness about practical work in laboratories and workshops
- Developing the habit of reading from books and online Journals
- Undertaking industrial training seriously by involving themselves in to task oriented or problem-solving oriented workbench involvements
- Taking as far as possible live project assignments to develop learning-to-learn skills, transfer skills, thinking skills and innovative skills
- Taking part in debates and declamation contests for developing confidence in written and verbal communication
- Undergoing programmes leading to development of soft skills
- Always asking one ‘what is that I am proud of’
Role of Teachers
- Clearly understand the concepts and principles involved in teaching a subject.
- Convert teaching into learning by providing varied learning experiences like: tutorials, laboratory and workshop sessions, seminars etc on a planned basis.
- Establish linkages with the world of work for making Teaching-Learning Process involving ‘Concept of Use’ i.e. applied learning.
- Provide live project assignments to the students.
- Play a role model before the students to inculcate right attitudes and values.
Development of appropriate communication skills also has a high priority in the world of business. Various strategies like organising seminars, paper reading / declamation contests and organising group discussion sessions can help a great deal to develop communication skills
Role of Engineering Colleges
- It is essential to establish symbiotic relationship with the world of work for which initiative will have to be taken by the technical institutions.
- Each technical Institute will have to identify its strengths for providing its services to the industrial world as per their needs.
- Practical training of students is an important component of curriculum. This needs proper planning and implementation. This will be helpful to produce good professionals as well as good entrepreneurs. Involvement of teachers is most essential for making practical training more meaningful and effective.
- Greater emphasis is required to be given to practical work in laboratories and workshops as well as on project work. A good percentage of students should be diverted to undertake such project assignments which help them to start their own enterprises.
- Development of appropriate communication skills also has a high priority in the world of business. Various strategies like organizing seminars, paper reading / declamation contexts and organising group discussion sessions can help a great deal to develop communication skills. Establishment of language laboratory can also be helpful in this direction.
- Efforts should be made to develop reading and writing habits in the students through guided library studies. This will promote learning-to-learn skills in the students.
- There is need to revise the curricula of different courses to make these more industry oriented and practice based rather than theoretical in nature.
- Promotion of entrepreneurship in the system is the need of the day. It is important to provide entrepreneurial awareness to all students by organizing camps, identification of potential entrepreneurs and grooming them through practical training and project work phases to promote an entrepreneurial culture in the technical institutions.
- Teaching should be converted in to learning and learning should be converted in to innovations and developments which is the essential foundation for wage employment as well as becoming an entrepreneur.
Human Resource Development is a serious business. Institutions are required to plan activities at macro and micro levels. Teachers are the kingpin in planning all the above aspects of instructional processes. Establishing close relationship with the industrial world will go a long way in training, development and placement of students. Faculty has great responsibility in making teaching-learning process more meaningful and a rewarding experience. Further, promotion of entrepreneurship is also essential for economic development of the country.
Professor (Dr.) L.N. Mittal
Geeta Institute of Management & Technology
Kanipla, Kurukshetra-136 118 (Haryana)