Challenges and the Way Forward in Higher Technical Education in India

4 January 2011, Chennai. Emphasizing the present status of technical education in India, Prof P Rama Rao, ARCI, Hyderabad suggested the need for a policy framework for improving the quality of technical education in the country.

In terms of the data, 97% of 10,60,000 annual intake of students are being accounted by the private institutions. The annual intake of students in all Indian Institute of Technology is 7,500, National Institute of Technology 35,000 and the rest i.e. 10,17,500 is accounted by the private institutions. This, viewed along with the lowering of quality of engineering education, highlights the dysfunctional accreditation process and the need for strengthening the process to improve the quality of technical education.

Comparing the number of engineers graduating in a year, at different levels for India and the USA, Dr Rao indicated that only 5% of the Bachelor degree holders from India go for the Masters degree whereas the corresponding figure for USA is about 50%. The total Ph.D. degree holders in engineering discipline in India for the year 2009-10 is only 1500 whereas for USA it is 7500.

Looking at sector-wise data, in the field of aeronautical engineering the total number of students per year in B.Tech is 285, M.Tech 175 and Ph.D only 30. The scenario is not very different and encouraging for the computer science and geology disciplines. India is also witnessing an acute shortage of faculty in engineering discipline which is about 50,000.

There is also a regional imbalance in engineering education establishments. More than 505 of the engineering colleges are located in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu which does not auger well for the balanced socio-economic development of the country.

Dr Rao also identified problems like absence of international flavor in both student and faculty, low research activity across the disciplines and asymmetry in technology assessment which are areas of concern and need policy guidelines.

India has success stories in technical education and human resource generation which can guide in policy formulation. Dr Y Nayudamma’s model of balanced development of the Indian leather sector through an academia-industry partnership and Institute of Chemical Technology established in the year 1933 are among the few examples that can be emulated. The level of excellence, resources and level of autonomy should be synchronized in a policy for achieving quality technical education in India in the next five years.

Public-Private partnership is a complex relationship which needs well thought out policy guidelines along with proper checks and balances. Drawing upon the US experience in generating wealth for the nation by investing in academic Research and Development, Dr Rao stressed the need for increasing the R & D funding in India for building and sustaining a modern and vibrant nation.

The above material may be freely reproduced with due acknowledgment to NISCAIR, CSIR. This entry was posted in ISC Day 2- Jan 4, 2011 (Tuesday). Bookmark the permalink.

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