The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is a regulatory body for technical education. It is promoting development of technical education in a coordinated and integrated manner in the country, says Dr M P Poonia, Vice-Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education, in conversation with Chandan Anand of Elets News Network (ENN).
What was the drive for organising the recent AICTE-ECI-ISTE Chhatra Vishwakarma and AICTE-SAGY Initiative awards by the Council?
The awards were aimed at motivating youngsters, and inspiring leaders and institutions/organisations to raise their performance in their specific domains, leading to significant contribution towards development of rural areas in the country.
Our objective is to involve engineering graduates and leverage their technical know-how for betterment of villages. Our Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi has envisioned doubling the farmers’ income. AICTE is supporting his vision by using technical knowledge of engineers. It involves water and electricity conservation, low-cost housing, skilling rural youth, and sanitation related activities among others.
We are trying to connect all technical institutions across the country and their students in this activity. Most of the engineering graduates across the country are heading towards urban areas for employment. But, if an engineer works in a village by setting up a start-up or any other venture, it will help provide opportunities for employment of rural youth and doubling the village’s income.
More than one million youths are graduating as engineers annually. If we can encourage even 1,000 or 2,000 students to work in villages, it will aid in improving condition of villages.
Meanwhile, around 120 teams competed under various categories of these awards. The winners were awarded by Hon’ble Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu at AICTE New Delhi.
Is AICTE also playing the role of incubation centre in the aforesaid context? How is the Council encouraging institutes to adopt villages and helping in their development?
Every year, Members of Parliament adopt 800 villages to develop them holistically. Technical institutions near such villages encourage the youths to send ideas to Innovation Cell of AICTE. After filtering the most beneficial ideas, the Council also incubates them. Not only this, AICTE is also spending a lot of money to support the rural youth in converting their ideas into products beneficial for villages.
Apart from its role as a regulatory body, how is AICTE encouraging skill development among youth in urban and rural areas?
In the curriculum prescribed by the AICTE for first year to final year students in technical institutions, the focus is more on skilling or hands on experience. Theoretical component of the curriculum has been reduced now and the practical/laboratory part or connecting them with the industry has already begun.
So, our focus for institutions, located in urban area or rural area, is on providing industry exposure to their students and also connecting them with the society. If students are able to solve the problems of society, their acceptability in the society will enhance and undoubtedly boost their confidence.
AICTE has also started a 14-point programme for connecting students with societal problems to provide solutions.
What is the vision and mission of AICTE for improving higher education scenario in the country?
India is world’s largest nation in terms of youth population. Our aim is to convert this population into an employable human resource which is not only useful for our country but also competes at the global level. We want these graduates to be in great demand in every nook and corner of the globe. These youths will definitely contribute in nation’s development once they are successful in life.
How is AICTE planning to boost the industry collaboration to bridge industry-academia gap?
In our approval process to set up a technical institute, we have made it mandatory that every institute has to sign MoUs with the industries near to them. Institutes should plan their teaching-learning processes as per the industry problems. Even students’ thesis and end semester projects should be in line with industry demands. We have implemented such a hand-holding mechanism across the country. We have also signed a good number of MoUs with different industries/ organisations in this regard.
What is your message for students and institutions?
Hard work, sincerity and dedication are the keys to achieve success in life. Students have to work honestly for achieving their goals. Students should never feel any kind of pressure. Rather than focusing on placements, students foremost focus be on acquiring more knowledge. Institutes must value the time and money which the students spend. Institutions must help their students in enhancing their confidence level. It is the institutes’ responsibility to nurture its students so that no one in the outside world can raise questions about the capabilities of its students.