Saturday, February 27, 2010

Does Education system need to change to bring out child's real imagination??

While Silicon Valley is talking about its third wave of innovation like the touchscreen revolution; to develop renewable energy and other clean, green technologies - Cleantech, an Indian engineering student is still in doldrums either to focus on getting good marks in examination or take the risk of experimenting with his idea. This is because Indian engineering colleges still assess students' skills based on their ability to repeat the text- book knowledge in the exams, rather than on their ability to think 'out-of-box.' Dr. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, Head of Electrical Engineering Department at IIT Chennai says, "Education system is one cog in the wheel, which affects students to a certain level."

Even Professor K Gopinath, Computer Science & Automation (CSA), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore believes that that India's education system kills the spirit of innovation among students by not letting them to illustrate their skills at university level. He says, "There is no sufficient ecosystem or technological artifacts for students in colleges." He explains that these engineering students are not given the right platform to implement their skills and the freedom to access or play with devices.

Further pinpointing the quality of education standard in Indian engineering colleges, the Professor says, "Many Indian engineering colleges hire those engineers as lecturers, who didn't get a job in the market and are willing to work for a significantly lower salary. They have only theoretical knowledge and that is the best that they can impart to students. And finally, the students aren't encouraged to go deep into a subject because the teachers are incapable of supporting the students' queries." He also opines that there a majority of colleges in India, which are inclined only towards the business of making money and not in the business of building knowledgeable engineers.

These views re-emphasize on the recent findings of a study entitled 'The Emerging Global Labour Market', that though India produces more than six lakh engineers every year, yet, only a few are employable. Also, study by McKinsey Global Institute has found that the proportion of suitable engineers in Europe is twice that of India. Even the premier institutes like IITs and IISc, in spite of the unlimited support by Indian standards given to them, have failed to take up cutting edge research or motivate students to be entrepreneurs to look at Indian centric issues, believes Prof. B. S. Satyanarayana, Principal of R.V. College of Engineering, Bangalore. He says, "These premier institutes have been only involved in too much of supportive research just to garner the international trips and training people as support staff for the international or especially rather U.S. universities and basking in their students achievements, as leaders in education."

Now the question arises, is only Indian education system responsible for not allowing students to come up with innovative ideas or even parents and society are also equally responsible. Most of these engineering students are sometimes pushed to take a stream, which do not interest them, and they go nowhere in the career. Jhunjhunwala says, "It is the responsibility of 21-22 year old engineering students to make right choice for their career or work place." He says for instance the IT majors like Infosys and Wipro do not allow the engineers to take the risk of implementing their ideas, "blocking the road to innovation."

It is true that everyone can't become Jerry Yang and David Filo (Yahoo founders), but can still follow the way how a genius works. "The only lacking factor is the necessary platform, most of our ideas are serving MNCs like Ajay Bhatt- Intel (Founder of USB pen drive), Sabeer Bhatia (Co-founder Hotmail)," says Suresh Chand, Senior Software Engineer at Alcatel-Lucent.

This is the time where the Govt. should pitch in. Currently, we do not even spend 1/3rd of amount being spent by Germany for R&D sector. "It is not about only education system or attitude of society, whole system needs to change. Younger generation of engineering graduates should not just aim to score higher marks in academics, but should think about the ways to impart technology into their day to day life," says Chand. Stressing on the similar points, Shanker Janakiraman, CEO, Symbioun Technology says, "Colleges should bring in more creative projects/art work in elementary schools. They should carry marks for innovation and make it factor in college admissions."

When i look forward in this direction, i so see some private organizations that have taken the initiatives in bringing out the innovation and correct skills from the students.
IBM since last few years has been consistently conducting a contest named THE GREAT MIND CHALLENGE that welcomes the new and innovative projects made my students on the softwares products supported by IBM. Moreover, SiliconIndia has launched All India Engineering Project Innovation Contest (AIEPIC, pronounced as eye-pic) which aims to identify, promote and reward outstanding engineering talent across India.
What Siliconindia could understand from the 30,000 entries got from the competition is that students do not lack in ideas, but the fact that they don't have a proper system in place to showcase their ideas.
I think the need of the hour is to realize the importance of bringing out individuals that can actually think of changing the perspective of IT by taking to another level as the constant upliftment of IT is the only way this industry can survive.

In the long run, it will be these steps that can also pave the way for the second Google from India.


  1. All nature is but art, unknown to me;
    All chance, direction which I cannot see;
    All discord, harmony not understood;
    All partial evil, universal good;
    This unpolished rugged verse I choose;
    As fittest for discourse and nearest prose;
    Give me a spark of nature's fire;
    That's the learning I desire;
    Not the equations my syllabus requires;
    My muse, though homely in attire;
    And, spite of pride, in erring reason's spite;
    One truth is clear, whatever is, isn't right.

  2. very true in this context... we can just hope that education ministry realizes the fact as to how necessary is the need to change the system.