Frontrunner In Quality Technical Education
March 2009

Frontrunner In Quality Technical Education

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BITS is synonymous with quality technical education in the country. It has many firsts to its credit, be it integrationof technology in its examination system, strong industry-academia linkage, or innovation in academics to suit 
the global  technological advances. BITS provides three-tiered education in the fields of engineering, technology, economics, management, and pharmacy with an aim to leverage critical manpower gaps across industries. Digital Learning caught up with BITS Pilani Vice Chancellor Prof L K Maheshwari to discuss what makes BITS stand out in the field of technical education.
What position does technical education occupy in India’s higher education sector?
There is a great need for technical education in a country like India, especially as far as  trained manpower is concerned. The role of technical eduction is to create an integrated personality who not only has a good grasp of his/her subject but is also equipped with  ommunication skills, computer skills, inter-personal skills, management skills, etc. These skills are of utmost importance in this era of globalisation, particularly in dealing with cultures of other countries. What is important is to have a broad-based curriculum in  technical education, integrating science, engineering, and technology skills. This will place  eople from these  vocations in greater demand. This is what the experience of BITS has shown.   e have been practising this over the last 35 years and you can  find BITS alumni  every where in the world.
What ICT initiatives have been taken by BITS Pilani in rendering an effective teaching-learning atmsophere?
BITS has the reputation of pioneering the online examinations for  admissions through the path breaking integration of BITSAT. In this process, over a lakh students take the admission
test, which is available over a period of 35 days. Under BITSAT, students have the freedom to chose the city, day and even the time of test in the  online mode. The scores obtained in each segment is made available instantly at the end of each session.  Unlike other institutions like IIT’s, even the counselling of our students  efore admission is done online at our campuses. All  he information is  ccessible online and our registration process is also completely digital. Another novel project from BITS is Embryo, which fosters collaboration  between BITS  academics, researchers,  alumni and students through lectures, research projects, and  xposure to  current research trends around the world. The aim of the project is to make   vailable the rich pool of academic and industry experience  to BITS students by leveraging the  Internet and video conferencing technologies so as to enable alumni  anywhere in the   orld to deliver live interactive online lectures to students.  at BITS Pilani. Almost hundred  lectures have been delivered till now  in different subjects through this project.  We also run   raining programmes for  employed professionals working in  areas of engineering,  anufacturing,  pharmaceuticals, micro-electronics, etc  through blended learning approach.  BITS has also conceived and designed  the BITS Virtual University (VU) offering multimedia   ourse to enable  people who are off-campus to avail of the facilities offered to a normal  on-campus student registered under  the same programme. The advantage of this concept of   U is that students  can get a degree from BITS, while  being off-campus. Since these courses  are web-enabled, the student can work  in his own comfortable environment  at his own pace  nd is not restricted to  the classroom. BITS has always been on the  forefront as far as linkages  with  industry is concerned. Please share  some examples.  Our partnerships with the industry go back a long way to 1970’s.  According to the latest estimates,  we have collaborations with  round  154 companies such as Wipro, Patni Computers, Tech Mahindra, Bharat  Forge Ltd,  oston Analytics, General  Motors, Motorola, Morgan Stanley,  Symantec, TATA, etc, through  which they provide training as well as scholarships to our students. Wipro  runs a four-year  rogramme called  WASE, through which our BSc students are trained at Wipro campuses  in  hennai, Pune, Bangalore,  Hydrabad, Kolkata, etc. We also have a concept called  Practice  chools, which is a structured  programme involving student and faculty participation in the   ndustry to deal with real-life problems. The Practice School (PS) method of education is a   ontrolled simulation of real life and creates the circumstance  whereby the university is linked with the world of work. The curriculum  through PS finds a formal method of bringing   he reality of the world of work into the educational process. In  short, as a part of the total  rogramme,  it takes the classroom for a period of 7.5 months to a professional location  where  he students and the faculty get  involved in real-life problems. Credits  obtained by the  student at the station  form a part of his total credit towards his degree. BITS-industry   artnership also  extends beyond curriculum to social initiatives. BITS Pilani campus runs  a  BPO in collaboration with a local  business group where we train the local educated youth in  BPO jobs like medical transcription, etc. So  far we have succeeded in providing employment   o 60 rural youths trained in this BPO and are hopeful of scaling  it to 1000 jobs.
What was the   dea behind setting up  of NEN?
National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN) is a non-profit venture of the Wadhwani  oundation involving five  premier academic institutions in India, namely BITS Pilani, IIT  ombay,  IIM Ahmedabad, SP Jain Institute,  Bombay and IBAB, Bangalore. Under NEN, we   ave set up a Centre for  Entrepreneurial Leadership and also  conducted a number of   orkshops   o  develop entrepreneurial leadership  as well as facilitate entrepreneurial  activities among our graduate engineers. As part of NEN, we  have recently set up a   ele-medicine project in a nearby village. Our Goa campus has developed a number of  information systems through mobiles called Avishkar Project. Through this, the rural people   an get information on various subjects related to agriculture, education, health, governance,   tc. << Embryo is a novel project which fosters collaboration between BITS academics,  researchers, alumni and students through lectures, research projects, and  exposure to  current research trends around the world The Practice School (PS) method of education is a controlled simulation of  real life and creates the circumstance whereby the university is  inked with the world of work

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