University – Industry Interface | digitalLEARNING Magazine
February 2009

University – Industry Interface

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Higher education serves several important functions in the society, the most important being production of knowledgeable  individuals who will contribute to the society. However, many of the Indian universities do not fulfill this purpose. The demands of skilled and specialised manpower from the industry
are not being met as majority of graduates lack the necessary skill sets required by the industry. In recent years, a major concern of higher education planners and academics, the  orld over, has been linking universities and other research institutions with industries. Universities can enhance the value of products in the form of knowledge; industry can   ugment the university’s value in the form of funds. In India, way back in 1986, the National  Policy on Education (NPE) highlighted the need for universityindustry  interaction. However,  despite efforts on the part of the Centre  and State governments,  universityindustry  interaction has not shown a  significant improvement till date. It still   emains marginal and largely confined to a few  institutions such as the IITs, IIMs,  IIITs, NITs,  etc.   eed for university-industry interaction  Universities are an important storehouse of   p-to-date and advanced  levels of knowledge in different fields. In a knowledge society,   ndustries are  the main users and beneficiaries of such knowledge.  According to NASSCOM,   ach year  over 3 million graduates and postgraduates are added to the Indian  workforce.  owever, of these only
“Each year over 3 million graduates and post-graduates are added to the Indian              workforce. However, of these only 25% of technical graduates and 10-15% of other  graduates are considered employable by the rapidly growing IT and ITES (IT enabled
services) segments ”
25% of technical graduates and 10- 15% of other graduates are considered employable by the  rapidly growing IT and ITES (IT enabled services) segments. Hence, what we have today is a  rowing skills gap reflecting the slim availability of high-quality college education in India and the galloping pace of the country’s service-driven economy, which is growing faster than most of the countries in the world. A university-industry interaction is mutually benefitting as it provides industry an opportunity to grow its business by using the results of  academic research. At the  same time,university is in need of a partner that can take its discoveries/research findings to the   arket place. The interaction can also earn additional resources of R&D, secure  raining and final  placements for students based on the respect earned from the relationship established with industry. The academic knowledge base can also help in reducing industrial cost,  improving  quality and competitive dimensions in products, reducing  dependence on foreign know-how and expenditure on internal R&D. It can  also assets the industry in upgrading the knowledge base of   ndustry professionals through management development programmes.  Possible areas of   nteraction The university and industry can  establish interface at varying levels with different   egrees. This can range from simple  consultations or visits to in-depth  researches. Factors which  hinder interaction In the backdrop  of the above facts,  there are some factors  which hinder university-industry  interaction. From  university’s side,   some of the inhibiting factors are: lack  of   nitiative amongst  faculty towards applied  research, lack of incentive  to faculty, lack of  experts and specialised technical infrastructure,  bureaucratic hurdles in utilising consultancy  funds, etc. Whereas from industry’s side, these  factors include: insensitivity to or lack of  wareness of the resource potential  of the academia; a blind, herd-like obsession with expensive,   ighprofile professional consultants; easy availability of foreign know-how; bad  experience of  earlier interactions with academia, etc. Further, absence of a  full time/exclusive university- industry interaction cells in both the university  and industry is also an important inhibiting factor.
How the interaction can be achieved?
For achieving a mutually beneficial relationship, there is a   eed for change in the approach of both the university and industry. To  promote university- ndustry  interaction, following steps can be undertaken:  Establishment of universityindustrypartnership/interaction  cell. Organising workshops,  conferences & symposia   ith  oint participation Participation of experts from industry in curriculum  development. Professional consultancy by the faculty to industries. Visits of industry executives to the university   nd deliver lectures  on industrial practices, trends and experiences.  Joint research   rogrammes R&D laboratories sponsored by  industries at the university. Scholarships/fellowships  instituted by industries for  students. Practical training of students in industries. Apart from   ndustry associations, the universities should also establish  linkages with government agencies which are engaged in industrial  development activities.

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