Employability in Industry is a Relative Term : Dr P K Barhai, Birla Institute of Technology, India

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What is your vision in imparting quality education in BIT Mesra?

Our aim is to prepare students with thorough background on basic principles of engineering, technology, science and management and train them not only to become globally employable but also to make them ready to take up any career in industry, research and development organisation or academic institutions.

What is the role of BIT Mesra in the field of higher and job specific education in India?

BIT is the first institute in India to introduce a Post-Graduate Program on Space Engineering & Rocketry as early as 1964 and also the first institute to have ‘Science & Technology Entrepreneurs’ Park, where fresh graduates can start nursery small scale industry units and move to their own units once the products are developed. BIT also offers industry oriented courses with very close interactions with IT companies.

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What are the major challenges that come across the way of in the field of technical education?

 The main challenge is the quality that depends on students, teachers, adequate laboratories, infrastructure which requires huge financial resources.

For private Institutes, to meet these quality parameters and remain globally competitive is a big challenge. Besides, the regulatory bodies create obstacles through delays in approval of new programmes, departments etc. Even research supports by the Government are discriminatory between Public and the Private Institutes.

How much can ICT help in it?

ICT can help in areas like virtual labs, teaching through multimedia and audio-video conferencing in shortage of competent faculty through visual presentation and in evaluation process.Although, ICT may cut down costs in terms of salary to faculties, it is no alternative for physical infrastructure like equipments, buildings, computers and accessories, networking etc.

Your comments on industry readiness of Indian Graduates.

Given the best institute and facilities, it is not possible to impart all the relevant knowledge in a vast course of a formal degree programme. Although there is a general notion that 80% of the graduates coming out from technical institutes in India are not employable and do not have industry readiness, it may be true only for some specific industries.

There is nothing like industry readiness unless some industry is looking for skilled labourers. Institutes should enrich students with integrity, team spirit and motivation.

What could be the way of interaction between industry and institution in that matter?

Industries look forward to students with self-confidence, right attitude, motivation to learn, leadership potential, team spirit and good communication skills through creation of Industry-Institute Interaction Cell, organising of seminars/workshops, conferences, involvement of experts from industries, deputation of teachers to industries for at least three months in a year and industry related projects in final semester.

How do you see public-private partnership for enhancing job oriented and technical education?

Looking at the need of technical education in India, Government does not have enough resources to raise the Gross Enrolment Ratio from 10-11% to 25-30% in the near future. This is much less compared to 40-50% in developed countries.

PPP is a must for at least to attain this goal. Government should provide the land and money and the private parties should be responsible for the governance, academic coordination, approval from regulatory bodies etc.

Your vision for Higher Education in future.

The Gross Enrolment Ratio of higher education is less both in general Universities and in technical institutions in India, the academic value of Indian higher education is at par with the global standard.

What is lacking is the knowledge-oriented teaching and learning.

Engineering courses must be integrated to the basic sciences which lead to new inventions and technologies. Right decisions will help us to keep a balance between quality and quantity in leading the world.

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