The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is revising curriculum, reforming norms, emphasising on skill-based education and supporting the innovations by students to improve the higher education system in India and bring it at par with global standards, said Dr Manpreet Singh Manna, Director (PMSSS & SWAYAM), All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), MHRD, Government of India in an interview with Gopi Krishna Arora and Akash Tomer of Elets News Network (ENN).
What are the various recent initiatives taken by the AICTE to improve the higher and technical education system in the country?
Since its inception, AICTE is working with a mandate to check the quality of technical education imparted in India and maintaining its standards at par with global level. The viewpoint of recent Government, stakeholders and the council’s leadership has made the AICTE a facilitator more than a regulator. The AICTE has taken a number of student-centric and faculty empowerment initiatives.
In one of its initiatives, the AICTE is revising the curriculum and developing a model curriculum to be implemented in more than 10,000 universities across the country. If the curriculum is not revised as per the industry trends and requirements, the employability among students will decline. We are having one of the largest human resources of the world yet we have to hire employees from other countries of the world.
When the education system was started, student from around 70 countries across the world used to come to India where 2,000 teachers were available to teach around 10,000 students. However, nowadays, many of Indian students are going abroad to get higher education may be due to quality and for the future prospectives. We are asking the same set of questions in every end-semester exam. An effective assessment methodology helps teachers to know about their students’ learning traits and AICTE is also trying to improve the education system in the country including examination reforms in which outcome of the learner would be evaluated based on his understanding not by giving repetitive subjective question answers.
Along with aforementioned initiatives, we have started many other initiatives to nurture students holistically.
How the AICTE is planning to revise the curriculum and making it relevant to industry requirements?
The students after passing out 12th board exams have enough theoretical knowledge to clear the entrance exams for various courses but they lack practical knowledge, as only 40 per cent of our curriculum focuses on it. We have reversed the practice. Now, the higher education curriculum’s 60 per cent is about the practical implementation of knowledge. For this purpose, we have started industry-interactions in colleges which is helping students to get hands-on experience. Moreover, emphasis on the practical aspect of the learning is laid without compromising the standard of the curriculum.
AICTE being the major stakeholder to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and education sector of the country is contributing through National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to boost the country’s skill and vocational training ecosystem.
Skill India is one of the most important projects of the Government of India, how is AICTE contributing to it?
The present Government of the country is emphasising on skill development among the students. The Government has constituted a separate ministry for it and in line with the centre’s vision many amore universities with ocus on skill development are likely to come up soon.
AICTE being the major stakeholder to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and education sector of the country is contributing through National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to boost the country’s skill and vocational training ecosystem. The National Skills Qualifications Framework (NSQF) was designed by the AICTE. Under NSQF there are level 1 to level 9, it helps a person who have never been pursued higher education courses to complete their masters. To achieve this, we have launched Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY), under which the infrastructure at engineering colleges can be utilized 24×7.
How is the AICTE with the help of other departments connecting with industries to provide relevant training to students?
We have initiated the concept of “Skill Knowledge Providers” and “National Employability Enhancement Mission (NEEM)”. Under these two schemes, we have linked institutes with industries. At the institute, the students will get theoretical training whereas the industries will be responsible for practical training of the students.
Under this umbrella, we have also initiated Startup Policy. Under the policy, we are helping the students to realise their innovative ideas into a final product through the seven research parks and 35 incubation centres. Another initiative that has received a great response is “Adjunct Faculty”. Under the scheme, higher education institutes can have the 20 per cent of its faculty members from the industry. Such faculties help students to know about the latest industry trends. It also helped the industries to understand their role in imparting quality technical education.
How has been the response for the Startup Policy since its launch?
The policy has given students the platform to submit their ideas or innovations and check its feasibility. We have organised Smart India Hackathon 2017, through which around 50+ students turn up as start-ups. The same scenario witnessed this year as well. Few of them could receive international funding like from Korea. We are going to identify some more start-ups and will help them in form of financial support and mentorship from the top industry leaders of the country.
What initiatives are likely to be taken by the AICTE in future to strengthen technical education in the country?
A 10-point agenda has been created to improve technical education sector of India after discussion with all the stakeholders and the national academic boards. By 2020, we have to get to get 50 per cent of AICTE approved institutions’ courses accreditated through National Board of Accreditation (NBA) to provide education at par with the global standards.
We also asked all the States to submit their prospective plans for the next 10 years including the demand and supply of engineers. The data will help us to decide that if any other engineering college is required in the State or not. \
We have also tightened the rules under which a State can only increase its seats or number of courses if it is NBA accredited. Moreover, if an institute has a National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) score of 3.5 out of 4, it will be given full autonomy and they will be free to design their curriculum, fees and nomenclature of courses within the framework provided by the UGC.