Higher Education Reforms By AICTE

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Recently a video from parliament question hour session is making rounds.

Here are a few answers from AICTE.

The approval for a large number of colleges and a large number of seats in engineering were given over the period from the 1990s to 2015 since most of the engineers civil, mechanical, metallurgy albeit even BSc graduates were getting jobs easily in IT sector apart from CSE and IT graduates.
They were neither doing jobs in the discipline in which they were trained then nor all are doing their jobs in the discipline in which they graduate today. So that should not be a point of discussion at all. The good part is all of them are employed and are contributing to the economy.

Today, IT sector is saturated, there are no jobs for routine coding, but jobs are getting created in new areas such as AI, IoT, ML, DL, Cloud computing, data science, data analytics, AR, VR, blockchain, robotics, 3D printing, etc.

The vacancies in engineering started from 2010 itself, but there was no perspective plan in place and hence anyone who wanted to open a college was permitted, resulting in large supply with fixed demand and in the process, the quality got affected. The colleges started closing, seats started getting reduced. The woes increased with a large number of deemed universities and private universities with huge intake started with no control.

AICTE has introduced several reforms in the last 4 years to address these problems and the result is visible. The expansion is allowed only if the programs of the institute are accredited by NBA from 2015. Moreover to address the issue of employable engineers several actions have been taken to improve the quality.

  1. Regular revision of curriculum through a committee of experts from well-known academia and industry experts. What is needed today and tomorrow being taught today? Curricula are published on the website for universities to adopt, adapt to suit the regional requirements.
  2. Training of teachers in new-age technologies mentioned earlier so that they can effectively conduct the classes and engage students in upcoming areas. ATAL academies established in 4 places. Many in the pipeline. 200 FDPs planned this year.
  3. Eight module teacher certification program for new age pedagogy and to prepare for 30 to 35-year life cycle of a teacher prepared and made available both on MOOCs and face to face mode through NITTTRS. the curriculum of 8 modules and courses available on SWAYAM MOOCs platform. This certification program made mandatory for regularisation and promotion of faculty
  4. Three-week long student induction program for all first-year freshmen students started for creating the level playing field, adjustment to a new environment, developing confidence, ownership, sensitization to society, the dignity of the individual, human values, teacher-student relationship making life in campus smooth and inspirational. The induction manual is available on the AICTE website.
  5. Several workshops for faculty conducted. Wherever these workshops were conducted, faculty were charged up and they have taken this seriously and the student induction programs have been game-changers.
  6. Mandatory 6 months internship for students to understand industry practices, and provide experiential learning. Internship manual developed. Several MOUs with govt and private companies MSME, startups signed to provide internships to about a third of students already. AICTE appeals to all industries to provide this valuable opportunity to all remaining students to make them industry-ready.
  7. Examination reform. From rote learning question papers to Bloom’s taxonomy based questions, remembering type being minimum, and focus on understanding, analysis, synthesis, critical thinking, applications, innovation, and creativity. The result of this will be visible very soon. Several workshops on exam reforms are held for faculty.
  8. Innovation committee’s in 1000 institutes through MHRDs innovation cell. Wish to reach to all 10000. Regular challenges, ideas for preparing students in innovation leading to startups. India constantly upping it’s rating thanks to these initiatives. From 81st 5 years ago to 52nd this year in global ranking. National ranking of institutions on innovation achievements (AARIA), apart from NIRF started.
  9. Perspective plan for technical education. Based on the committee’s report two year holiday for new engineering colleges and pharmacy institutes and also no additional seats, except for changing the existing programs to new upcoming niche areas.
  10. Startup policy for academic institutes launched by former President Shri Pranab Mukherjee in 2016 from RB. Courses in entrepreneurship, business, management, angel funding, etc to create startups from campuses. Already 1000s of startups have started off creating 1 lakh plus jobs from campuses.
  11. Entrepreneurship cell in each institute and wherever possible incubator to create jobs.

Apart from these initiatives, indigenous MOOCs platform SWAYAM created by MHRD and AICTE is today one of the largest MOOC platforms with 2700 excellent courses available by best faculty in the country available from anywhere, anytime on any device. 3 million users have onboarded. As many as 120 nations are using these courses The courses are free and one can even transfer credits earned from these courses Up to 20% to their university program.

Accreditation made mandatory and if one does not get accredited in 4 years, an extension of approval would be stopped. AICTE has also introduced MARGDARSHAN and MARGDARSHAK schemes to help institutes to achieve accreditation by improving their quality.

Smart India Hackathon in the last three years has become the world’s largest open innovation model solving problems of both govt and industry by second and third-year UG engineering students. who says graduating students are unemployable??

Give opportunity and they will show the world what they can do. Innovation cells in colleges, facilities being made available 24×7 is improving innovation attitude on campuses.

Initiated National Doctoral Fellowships for full-time PhD students in select institutes apart from continuing QIP program in IITs and NITs for teachers. Special scholarship for teachers getting PhD admission in global top 500 universities.

The leadership development program for senior faculty through UKIERI project is creating inspired leadership Support for winning teams of students in national competitions to represent globally.

  1. International internships in Canada, Taiwan and incubator support by Canadas Carlton university to ten women-led tech startups annually.
  2. Chhatra Vishwakarma awards for innovative projects of students.
  3. Green and Smart campus awards for engaging students in saving water, energy, recycling of waste, reduced and effective use of resources, etc.
  4. Unnat Bharat Abhiyan for adopting 5 villages by each college and provide technology intervention. This is connected with villages adopted by many MPs. One should visit some of these villages and see how technology students are bringing change in the lives of people.

The list goes on.

Challenges do exist. Problems too are there. But 80 lakh tech students in 10000+ colleges can make a difference. And they are making a difference.

 

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