We need to identify pockets of excellence in our country and provide opportunities for growth to them, AICTE Chairman S S Mantha asserts
Teaching is a performing art. You need passion to teach and learn and have the immunity to learn from students. This immunity creates a two-way traffic and helps you connect with the students.
The class expects some understanding from the lecture and in the absence of that, he might never want to come back for that class. We need teachers with domain expertise and the ability to understand students.
We can use technical interventions as value-added material but not as a replacement to the teachers. I do not think we have good content available today. Today’s students do not study from books, but series. They mug the questions and the answers from those. And if the questions come in a different form, the students are unable to answer them.
Therefore, we have a very serious concern about the regulatory processes we are employing. For example, the national average for first year results is about 20 percent. This means if there are a million students, only 20 percent of them pass their engineering exams.
Quality is a very important factor in technical education today because students enter the industry directly. This means the industry judges us from day one. We also come across students who score 90 percent in grade 12 and fail in the first year of their engineering.
The problem: lack of conceptual understanding. Mugging does not hold any value. A lot of people who cannot make that transition fail, and those who have the potential, understand the game and change their track. So from the second or third year, their percentages start rising.
Providing opportunities for growth
Creating quality all over the space is not possible. We need to identify pockets of excellence and provide means of growth to them. Everyone wants to do an MBA today. But are all the people pursuing MBA getting commensurate jobs? We need to change the demand side and increase employment opportunities in different sectors, come up with manufacturing and retail sectors and open up more retail sectors, primary, tertiary and secondary markets because there is a lot of job potential available in these sectors.
Not just this, we also need more money circulation in the system. Population figures say that the rate of growth is 1.5 percent and the GDP is 5.5 percent. The difference four percent is the per capita income. Inflation is about eight percent. Therefore, the real value is going down. We do not have any money to spend and there is no money in circulation. And because of inflation, the prices are going up.
The Indian society believes in saving and investing money in different bonds, and in the US and other countries at the country level. And yet, we say that our economy is not performing well. The US takes loans and spends they money we save. They import almost everything and their economy is growing. What we need is self-regulation. The systems we are moving towards are not proper for a developing country. We should systematically break regulatory barriers and create trust in the system.
At AICTE, we are promoting the vocationalisation of higher education which is the future. If we do not provide our students meaningful opportunities for education and employment, it will hamper the growth of our country.
In the coming years, conventional degrees or diplomas in any discipline will not work. We need to create new paradigms and bring in more students into the system, specially those who fail or drop out. We are also promoting the concept of community colleges for those who have never gone to school, provide skills to them and show them higher pathways.