Dr S G Deshmukh
Director, ABV-Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management, Gwalior
“The current employment quotient among graduates is very low! This can be enhanced through strengthening the existing curriculum”
What are the challenges confronting India`s higher education system today?
The challenges confronting India`s higher education system are on account of both quantity and quality. That is, increased intake (look at the number of IITs, IIMs, IISERs and IIITs that have been added in last few years) coupled with increase in private engineering/management colleges. The challenge is to manage these numbers without compromising quality. There is also an acute shortage of quality faculty members who can deliver.
ICT can help overcome these challenges through quality instruction or resource material. Delivering it through web and thereby enhancing the reach and making the content interesting and motivating for learners.
What initiatives have been taken by your institute for integrating ICT in its framework?
ABV-IIITM Gwalior is the foremost institution providing technical and managerial education in the areas of Information Technology and Management in India. Our class rooms are net enabled. We make extensive use of LCD projectors in the class rooms. We have Digital Library through which students can access journals/books.
We are planning to set up a studio through which satellite link can be established.The institute has more than 11 laboratories. All the labs are connected to the campus wide networking backbone for 24 hours Internet connection. We also have the facility to share faculty resources of other institutes such as IIT Delhi and Mumbai through Skypak and web casting.
Do you think a Public Private Partnership model will help in effective integration of technology in higher education?
Yes, public and private partnership can definitely be a mode of interaction. Through this, one can think of: (a) large investment, and (b) quality service which will enable customer satisfaction.
What do you think of the current employability quotient among graduates? In what ways can it be enhanced?
The current employment quotient among graduates is very low! This can be enhanced through strengthening the existing curriculum by giving more hands-on experiments and enhancing laboratory skills, incorporating soft skills in curriculum, making industry projects (at final year) mandatory, inviting speakers/guest faculty from industry in various courses and encouraging alumni to interact with students, etc.
In your opinion, what measures are required to increase the higher education enrollment ratio to meet the 11th Plan target?
The higher education enrollment ratio can be increased through measures like making higher education attractive by offering incentives in terms of assistantships, loans and incentives to faculty, facilitating industry-institute partnerships, encouraging industry sponsored R & D, facilitating networking of institutes and enter into MoU with various institutes from abroad and make use of technology for enhancing quality of education
Do you think India`s higher education system can be compared to the best in the world, especially the UK and US?
At present, IITs, IISc and IIMs can be compared to the best in the world. However, the same thing cannot be said about other institutes/universities. This could be due to mistaken emphasis on regulatory bodies, absence of self-regulatory mechanism, lack of respect for higher education in society, lack of confidence in industry circles about our Science and Technology, and inadequate support mechanisms.
If we remove these barriers, we can see a bright future as we are endowed with good basic education and our students are strong in quantitative skills.