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Self-determined learning is key to success

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DSC_0005Dr. D.P. Gupta, Director, HCTM Technical Campus, Kaithal, believes that academia-industry linkage produces qualitative manforce for service sector. 

Institutes across the world are coming up with new ways of imparting education. How are you bringing innovation in pedagogy at your institute?

We believe in self-determined learning, event-based learning and a threshold concept. self-determined learning means how to be an effective learner, and having the confidence to manage our own learning processes. Event-based learning which runs over a few hours or days creates a memorable sense of occasion. A threshold concept is something that, when learnt, opens up a new way of thinking about a problem, a subject or the world.

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How important is to have a strong academia-industry linkage for an engineering institute and how it is beneficial to the students?

Academia-industry linkage produces a qualitative manforce for industrial or service sector. In academic environment the students learn the basic principles of phenomenon or system but live projects and industrial environment make them more understandable through experimental and practical exposure.

So, many institutions do require various kinds of products produced and services rendered by the industries. Similarly, industries depend on higher institutions for the supply of skilled manpower, providing training to them, and upgrading their skills through various forums and workshops. But till today very few institutions are recognised globally as centres of excellence. Industry-Academia linkages is necessity of both sectors  to improve the quality of education and work force in institutions and universities.

Please share some of the unique initiatives taken by your institute? How can the gap between industry and academia be bridged?

No doubt academics –industry relationship gives a new vision and thought of action for the system and industrial environment. Our institute also took necessary action to improve the quality level in professional environment

  • Many companies are invited at college campus to aware the students about new technology, software, methodology used in industrial sectors
  • International and National conferences, seminanrs, workshops are organised in collaboration with university and corporates
  • We arrange industrial  training (as per university curriculum) in various coroprates for our students to work in industrial environment for 4-6 weeks  at the end of 2nd and 3rd year
  • HCTM also have a various tie-ups with industrial sector to groom the students at technical as well as aptitude level
  • HCTM also engage the students in research and development, for this many students prepare their live projects in many industries
  • Industries also call our students for consultancy on many projects of government or semi government
  • Regularly industrial visits of the students in industries help the students to become more fit as per industrial environment
  • Faculties are also sent in corporates to learn and get information about the manufacturing process, service activities, latest technology used in industries so that a syllabus can be designed as per demand of industrial or service sector
  • HCTM also established Entrepreneurship Development Cell which aware the students about industrial and entrepreneurship prospective and to generate more and more jobs for the society

Students complain that most engineering institutes pay more attention towards imparting theoretical knowledge rather than giving practical assignments. Has this trend changed in the last few years?

Definitely the trend, not only at HCTM Technical campus but also all around the world, has totally changed in imparting knowledge. Every institute seeks to provide a platform for engineers across the nation to show off their technical powers and develop their full intellectual potential. With innovation as inspiration and technical knowledge as a tool, the institute aims at bringing a complete transformation to the very grassroots of the field and gives an opportunity for engineering students to look beyond their course and curriculum, to roll back their sleeves, with the technical wand in their hands and do some real magic. The departments have well contended labs, excellent infrastructure and dedicated team of faculty members to impart practical knowledge to the students in better way. It assimilates all the facilities and equipments that inculcate modern trends and application of engineering to the students.

India may get the full-fledged membership status of the Washington Accord soon, enabling global recognition of Indian degrees and improving mobility of students and engineers. In your opinion, how it is going to help Indian students and engineering education system?

Washington Accord is an international agreement amongst prominent nations of the world, with the charter of promoting mobility and quality assurance of engineers across international boundaries. This would mean global recognition of Indian engineering degrees and increase the mobility of engineers to the USA and other countries for jobs. Graduates having degrees would have substantial international equivalence of their achievement levels across the participant nations. This will substantially enhance their employment opportunities around the world. The Washington Accord will help the engineers register with the official registration body in these countries and also get legal protection while practicing in these nations.

What is the importance of an incubation centre and tells us about your plans to install one?

Incubation center plays a significant role in professional colleges as it helps us to foster entrepreneurship and help start-up companies, usually technology-related, to grow through the use of shared resources, management expertise, and intellectual capital. To encourage entrepreneurship and innovation we are also planning to propose to establish incubation centers in this sector in association with the selected engineering colleges in the district headquarters.

I hope this incubation centre would foster a platform for the engineering students with innovative and smart ideas and avail the necessary support for its successful completion. It looks forward to the participation of innovative students, alumni and research scholars from HCTM technical campus and also the local entrepreneurs in and around the district, to be a part of this venture to get wide knowledge on financial, technical and marketing assistance provided by agencies.

How has been your college’s placement in recent years? Do you think there is sufficient demand in the industry for the engineering graduates?

HCTM regularly invite the companies at college campus for placements. The placement graph was excellent till 2010, more than 95 % students got placed in various Multi National or National Companies and got handsome package (up to 6-8 LPA maximum, average 3LPA) with in that span of time but  after 2011 employment graph was not up to the mark. This year also shows a positive growth in employment for industrial sector and service sector. Following is the data that shows the number of companies visited to the campus and the placement done so far:

S.NO Year Companies visited Students placed % Package
1 2011 26 76% 4.57 LPA
2 2012 27 78% 5.32 LPA
3 2013 16 72% 6.42 LPA
4 2014 22 83% 5.95LPA
5 2015(till today)  17( 15 companies are in pipe line till June 2015) 72% 4.95LPA


What are the new engineering courses, which are becoming popular?

Nowadays some engineering courses which are getting popular among the students are environment engineering, chemical engineering, textile technology, B.Tech in dairy technology, B.Tech in food processing technology, in agricultural engineering, biotechnology etc. No matter how infinite the choices may be, the guru mantra to success is to think wisely, be judicious and make the right beginning.

In India, there are multiple agencies which look into the accreditation, but majority of them have failed to bring quality. In your opinion, does accreditation per-se helps in enhancing the quality of education?

Yes, of course, quality assurance and accreditation is important  for institutions, as through this mechanism the institutes can achieve goals by satisfying customers’ (students, parents or organisations’) needs for quality education in the near and long run. The standards of quality assurance and accreditation are good devices for measuring the level of quality educational services. We can also say that the application of quality assurance and accreditation system is the secret behind the success of most of the institutions all over the world, and so it should be definitely implemented. All the institutes should seek different ways, to ensure the quality of educational services which they offer to their students to attain excellent learning outcome.

What is your policy expectation from the Government?

More ‘training of trainers’ is needed.” There should be a provision from government to provide a proper training to the students in leading industries in addition to their curriculum syllabus cater to the needs of the manpower requirement for the economic development of the country. Government should be committed to a significant investment to increase the number of children attending vocational schools and colleges. This would have a much larger social impact as improving people’s learning even at small levels improves earning potential. To achieve these goals, India needs uniformity in syllabus and curriculum, flexible education and training system that will provide the foundation for learning as means of achieving lifelong learning.

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