How to promote branches other than Computer Science Engineering among aspiring engineers, ex IIT Delhi director explains

A former director of IIT-Delhi has pointed out the need for reform in educational programmes according to IndianExpress.

Former IIT Delhi director V Ramgopal Rao had raised concern over more students opting for Computer Science Engineering (CSE) and IT engineering as opposed to other core engineering disciplines. Through his social media handle, the professor highlighted the solutions for the same.

“Looking at a large number of responses to my earlier post, the general conclusion is that the students are choosing the CSE and allied disciplines because of career opportunities in these areas. Of course, that is the reason, but it can’t be a solution. The solution lies in the creation of time-bound mission mode programmes, careful planning and execution from the top,” he mentions in his recent tweet.

Through his post, Rao explains the reasons for this trend and how it can be solved to encourage more students to pursue other branches of engineering.

“After IT, multiple other technologies have come up as vehicles for innovation and wealth creation. Every decade has seen a new area receiving the attention of scientists and policymakers. Thanks to DST and MeitY and the leadership provided by Prof. CNR Rao, we have at least been able to move up on the knowledge ladder when it comes to Nanotechnology. While we are ranked third in the world for Nanotechnology research, we have hardly made any mark in converting this knowledge into wealth. Many universities and academic institutes started Nanotechnology education programmes, but in the absence of job opportunities, most of these programmes have lost their steam,” Prof Rao highlighted.

Explaining his solutions of creating time-bound mission mode programmes, Rao said that launching a mission mode initiative (Al, Quantum, loT, Sensors or Semiconductor missions) requires planning on all three fronts – education, research and innovation. He said that this is the way for job creation and for making educational programmes attractive for students.

Research initiatives and industry participation

Rao explains that every mission needs to start with the creation of research facilities and building a research base in the country. “All such initiatives must involve industry experts and allied ministries from the beginning. They need to be part of all planning and execution committees. Involvement of Indian-origin scientists from all over the world can add a new dimension to these schemes,” he explained.

“The research initiatives need to be backed by significant innovation and start-up funding schemes. There must be schemes to encourage industry participation. Knowledge generated through basic research needs to be steadily channelled into application oriented areas, “ he added.

Planning of educational programmes

The former director of IIT-Delhi has also pointed out the need for reform in educational programmes. “The educational programmes need to be planned from the beginning to find out how many graduates the country needs in these areas at the diploma level, graduate level and PhD level and over what timelines. Model curricula needs to be devised with the help of academia (from India and abroad) and industry professionals.

He also mentioned the need of teacher training and special manpower development initiatives. The professor has pointed out the need for Internship opportunities need for students so they are job ready. A massive awareness drive about these emerging areas needs to be undertaken starting at the school level are also included in his suggestive solutions.

A 10-year mission mode approach

The professor stresses that a 10-year mission mode approach executed from the top with the involvement of all stakeholders (academia, industry, Indian diaspora, startups) is the key. In the absence of this, he wrote, there will be hype but no opportunities.

“This will only accentuate the current situation of our top talent flocking to CSE/IT, leaving other areas high and dry. Students and the parents are the last ones to be blamed for this fiasco. Without proper planning and execution, it will be a continued saga of India missing many more buses,” the professor wrote.

First published by Indian Expresses Education Desk


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