Fostering Excellence in Technical and Management Education | digitalLEARNING Magazine
September 2013

Fostering Excellence in Technical and Management Education

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Dwindling quality is a matter of concern in technical and management institutes across India. But fostering excellence and quality in higher education institutions presents a range of challenges. These include developing excellent pedagogical practices and attracting quality faculty to implement them

 

Prof K Lal Kishore, Vice Chancellor, JNTU, Anantapur

We have had a history of educational institutes like Takshashila and Nalanda where the spirit of inquiry was encouraged. Even though we expanded education as such, the spirit of inquiry is not being encouraged so that’s why we find the quality is not satisfactory at the higher education level. India has the largest higher education system in the world in terms of the number of institutions as compared to the USA and China. The numbers are attractive but it is not proportionate as per the population and there are some state-wise anomalies and progress is not uniform. A lot needs to be done to increase the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER). The undergraduate enrolment is highest at 86 percent followed by post graduate which is only 12 percent, but it is less than one percent for research or PhD programmes.
Thus, the quality also depends on this particular factor particularly the postgraduate education and PhD programmes. The numbers are less even in terms of faculty i.e. the studentstaff ratio. Potential faculty should be attracted and existing institutions with active research programmes should be supported by the government. Updating faculty members through workshops, courses or teacher training in the industry should be encouraged.
Financial innovation is also one of the important aspects because when we say a large number of institutions have to be established then the government alone cannot do it. Therefore, the private sector has to be encouraged, but with certain restrictions so that degrees are not sold or it will not become a commodity. The government spend on higher education is very less as compared to the other countries and we must increase it.

Chandrashekhar Kumar, Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Employment &
Technical Education & Training Dept, Govt of Odisha

The whole system of higher education stands on the edifice of school education. We cannot suddenly talk about quality at higher education level. If good quality is maintained through the school or senior level then probably we will have better quality at this level, but if there is a huge gap then that is a matter of concern. Also, we have to educate in such a manner that a student is employable after next four to five years of college. These are the two biggest challenges. Another big challenge is that we have to create teachers for future, for both in higher as well as school education

 Anbuthambi B,
Associate Vice President, ICTACT, Tamil Nadu

If you go to a campus hiring manager of any big company, they point out that the students are good technically, but they lack communication or soft skills like conversing in English, ability to present themselves, teamwork skills or are unable to adapt to the company culture. So these skills should ideally come right from the school. Today, that can change only when the success measure of the school changes. Another important factor is the faculty in engineering colleges. Nobody checks where the teachers are coming from. There are certain teacher training institutes but it is not compulsory and many new teachers are last year pass outs from the same or other colleges without any prior training.
So the solution to the problem of skill development will have to start from schools and the problems of good teachers can be addressed through one or two week training programme where they can be taught classroom and pedagogy techniques.
The student life will depend upon his faculty around whom he is going to be for the next four years and faculty will only make the difference in engineering education where we are facing a big problem of the skill-gap between industry and academia.

 Dr K Sarukesi,
Vice Chancellor, Hindustan University

There should be inspiring teachers in technical education because only 25 percent of the technical content is imparted under classroom teaching and the rest of the 75 percent the student has to learn on his own. So we need to impart a different type of training to the teachers so that they make lectures interesting and inspiring.
Today, the faculty development programmes are needed in all the fields and not just IT and the conceptual understanding has to be imparted. For this, the universities and the technical institutions need to have improved industry-institute interaction and the student must visit industries.
The teacher should go to the industry first, come back and share the experience with students and tell them about the relevant matter as per their subjects. The net result of this exercise is reflected in the campus placements. Another positive impact of sending the faculty to the industry is that industry gets to know that there is potential in the institutes and they start giving consultancy projects. Thus, the interaction grows into research partnerships between industry and the institutes.

 

 
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