Employability of students to be main focus : AICTE

From industry-prepared courses to mandatory shop floor training to imparting managerial and entrepreneurial knowledge, India’s apex technical education regulator, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), is now ready with a set of must haves for technical colleges to improve their graduates’ employability.

For years, the technical education sector in India has faced criticism for lack of quality training and for its graduates not having the required efficiency to become productive at work from day one.

Though the AICTE revamp is still pending despite a government panel recommending it two years back, the regulator is now trying to be pro-active in implementing some basic but much required changes in technical colleges.

As per the AICTE plan, every technical college will now be required to have an industry consultation committee to rework the curriculum of each subject taught there. Every year, the committee will revamp the coursework by December so that revamped courses can be taught from the next academic year, according to official documents reviewed by Mint. “Each institution, while applying for approval, shall certify completion of this process, which will be mandatory,” it underlined.

The human resource development (HRD) ministry-controlled AICTE regulates more than 10,000 technical colleges, including engineering and business schools. The Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) don’t come under the purview of AICTE.

An HRD ministry official, requesting anonymity, said the effort made by AICTE is to make technical education institutions contemporary and their graduates job-ready. Various studies have showed that less than one-third of technical school graduates are job-ready in the country, which is a hurdle for the industry in hiring them and expecting productivity from the beginning.

In order to improve industry readiness, all students graduating undergraduate courses shall be imparted the required job skills, including “managerial skills, entrepreneurial skills, leadership skills, communication skills and team-working skills”.

The training will start at the time of admission. “Every student, on admission, shall be put through a mandatory Induction training to reinforce the fundamental concepts and the language skills required” in their choice of subject.

After that students in technical schools have to undergo three internships of four to eight weeks each before completing their undergraduate course, as per the documents. Right now students do only one summer training. In fact, in many engineering and management schools, they either don’t undergo any internship or have to use their own contacts to find one. AICTE is now mandating that colleges must help find a suitable industry or organization for students’ internship programs, the HRD ministry official quoted above said.

Besides, AICTE will impress upon technical schools to make their annual exams focus more on clarity of concepts. It will soon share a model exam pattern that each institution can adopt individually.

Besides, AICTE will give five years’ time to each college to achieve accreditation for at least 50% subjects taught in the colleges. The National Board of Accreditation will accredit individual subjects. Institutions that fail to do so will have an impact on getting AICTE’s approval. AICTE-regulated colleges will also make their teaching staff undergo an annual training course and get updated via the government’s massive open online platform.

Date: Apr 19, 2017

Source: HT