Volume 1 | Issue 4
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Celebrating the Engineering
Marvels of India
| Innovation | Operational Excellence | Self Reliance | Impact | Future Readiness
The Rise of India over the years has seen a significant contribution from the indigenous Engineering Sector predominantly led by the Public Sector Enterprises. The private sector is nevertheless catching up in helping the country become self-reliant in core Engineering & Technologies. I believe that Engineering Excellence Awards-2013 to celebrate the engineering marvels created by the Engineers/ Scientists/ Technologists working relentlessly in various Engineering Organizations would help in educating the growing population of young technocrats about the accomplishments of Indian Engineering Majors which are of global repute. Praful Patel, Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises
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JURY Prof. P Rameshan
Prof. Devi Singh
Prof. Prem K. Kalra
Prof. Ajay Pandey
Prof M.J. Xavier
Director, Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak
Director, Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow
Director, Indian Institute of Technology, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Director, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad
Director, Indian Institute of Management, Ranchi
Dr. Srinivasan Sundarrajan
Prof. (Dr.) Rajat Gupta
Dr. (Mrs.) S. K. Pandey
Director, National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu
Director, National Institute of Technology, Srinagar, J&K
Director, National Institute of Technology, Puducherry
Prof. Tarkeshwar Kumar
Prof. (Dr.) Chandan Tilak Bhunia
Director, National Institute of Technology Durgapur
Director, National Institute of Technology, Yupia , Arunachal Pradesh
Director, Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur
NOMINATIONS RECEIVED Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited SAL Institute of Technology & Engineering Research Airports Authority of India Airports Authority of India Airports Authority of India Airports Authority of India Airports Authority of India Braithwaite & Co. Limited Autoprint Machinery MFG Pvt Ltd National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited Construction Corporation Limited
National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited
Adani Power Limited BEML Limited BEML Limited ONGC Tripura Power Company Limited Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation Ltd. AND MANY MORE.....
Modernization of Bank Note Press, Dewas Modernization of Ink Factory, Bank Note Press, Dewas Indigenization of Banknote Paper Production Novel drip irrigation Construction of New Terminal Building at B P Airport, Bhubaneswar Construction of New Expandable Modular Integrated Terminal Building at Raipur Airport. Construction of New Integrated Passenger Terminal Building at Birsa Munda Airport, Ranchi. Construction of New Domestic and International Terminals at Chennai Airport. New Integrated Passenger Terminal Building, Kolkata BTFLN Wagon manufactured first time for Indian Railways CHECKMATE 65 – Print Inspection System INDIAN INSTITUTE OF CORPORATE AFFAIRS, MANESAR (HR)National Buildings EPC of complete Civil, Structural and Architectural work of Main Power Plant and Procurement & Erection of EOT Crane for 2X250 MW Unit 1 & 2 Korba (East) Thermal Power Station, Chhattisgarh To carry out planning, designing, construction as well as liasoning for various approvals for CBI Head Quarter Building at envelope 5-B, CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi. Adani Power Limited, Mundra – 4620 MW Design and Development of 150 ton Electric AC Drive Dump Truck Design & Development of World Class Stainless Steel Electrical Multiple Units (SS EMU’s) ONGC Tripura Power Company Ltd Dilli Haat Pitampura
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Volume 1 | Issue 4 | August 2013
Indiaâ€™s most prestigious magazine dedicated to Engineering Community
EDITORIAL BOARD M. Pramod Kumar, B.Tech IIT Madras, Srijan Bhatnagar, ISB Hyderabad,Dr. Anil Gourishetty, IIT Roorkee, Ashutosh Gupta, PhD University of Maryland, College Park, USA Nikhil Pant, B.E (MNIT Allahabad), Anshul Gupta, PGP (IIM Bangalore), Amarendra Trivedi, B.Tech (UPTU) Gaurav Mittal, B.Tech (IIT Roorkee)
BOARD OF ADVISORS Ram Krishnaswamy, IIT Global, Prof. Sanjeev Singh, Delhi University, Abhishek Tripathi, LLB (NLSUI Bangalore), Dr. Lav R Vashney, (MIT California), Prodyut Bora, PGP (IIM Ahmedabad), Brij Khandelwal, Sr. Journalist (IANS), Anant Asthana, LLB (AMU) , Anirban Ganguly, PhD (Jadavpur University), Som Gupta, Network 18, Dr. Surbhi Vaish, MBBS (AIIMS), Prof. V. K. Sharma, Employability Expert, A. Zaman, SCOPE
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6 years ago, the ancient land of India got its political freedom from the imperialistic clutches of Great Britain which had expanded its global empire from the west to the east. A grand nationalistic movement led by a galaxy of eminent intellectuals, scholars, demagogues, activists and revolutionaries brought about this significant transformation in the lives of millions of toiling Indians who were tethered to an all round subjugation which was interestingly perpetrated in the garb of ennobling ethos of enlightenment & empowerment. After a slow but steady era of economic planning and entrepreneurial restraint, 22 years ago India took a giant leap forward to accept the triumphant but turbulent tribulations of the market forces which have still not been able to accomplish that heaven of freedom which the freedom fighters had envisioned for. The situation looks all the more grim when it's analyzed by a veteran and highly respected Industry leader in simple clear terms devoid of the technical jargon. In the 102nd Annual General Meeting Address of ITC, Chairman Y C Deveshwar brought to light certain startling facts pertaining to India's Economic Challenges which in his opinion is largely due to the unsustainable Current Account Deficit. India imports high-value added goods and services, while exports mostly commodities or relatively lower-value added products and services. Even the non-oil, non-gold imports have risen sharply following the removal of the ceiling on royalty payments in December 2009. The ET Intelligence Group in one of its reports has brought out that royalty payments by Indian arms of top MNCs have trebled over the past 5 years. The report points out that in FY12, 306 listed companies paid royalty and technical fees aggregating almost Rs 35,000 crores. A similar analysis by Business Standard of 75 BSE500 companies reveals that these firms paid out royalty equivalent to 32% of their net profits in FY12. A substantial part of this increased outflow was on account of payments made by the Indian subsidiaries to their overseas parent for the use of brand names established several decades ago and interestingly this spurt in payments did not reflect any noteworthy valueaddition from technology transfer by the foreign entities. For long-term macro-economic stability, it is desirable that the trade account gets balanced on the strength of the competitiveness of Indian goods and services in the export markets rather than on capital flows to finance the deficit. Competitiveness will create the conditions for higher value-added exports and reduce reliance on a falling rupee. Similarly, it can contribute to a larger degree to import substitution to stem the over-dependence on high value-added imports. The only sustainable solution to tackle the large Current Account Deficit is to create extreme competitiveness in higher value-added goods and services which would require the creation of intellectual property assets like patents, trademarks, copyrights, industrial processes, designs etc as a vital pre-requisite for attaining international competitiveness. This independence day, let's commit ourselves to champion this cause of Indian Economy through excellence in science, engineering, technology & mathematics and thereby producing intellectual property assets in all walks of national life. This however would require a paradigm shift in the STEM education which is being delivered across Indian Schools & Colleges. This issue of Engineering Watch presents an illumining & iconoclastic perspective on the same. Hope the readers would find it worth mulling over. sincerely
EDUPRENEUR AWARDEE 2013
Senior students take up research-based projects involving data collection. The Astronomy Club is the Gujarat nodal centre of SPACE. NAVRACHANA SCHOOL, Vadodara , Gujarat
Pre-engineering curriculum discussions with I Sc professors and University of Rhode Island concept of songmatics, math debates introduced.
VIDYASHILP ACADEMY, Bangalore, Karnataka
Educomp modules, 3-D Labs, Smart Assessment System(SAS) Olympiads, focus on kinesthetic learning LOTUS VALLEY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, Gurgaon, Haryana
MRIS ROBOTICS PROGRAM based on STEM
MANAV RACHNA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, Gurgaon, Haryana
Concept of HOMATH (Higher order Math), Student received patent on GEARS, Only Indian school to have cloud based programme. GEAR INNOVATIVE INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, Bangalore , Karnataka
Association with Intel, Usage of GEOMETERâ€™s Sketch Pad, NIIT E guru content, Pearson Digi Class. Sunbeam Group of Educational Institutions, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
Using Model Eliciting Activities (MEA), NASA trips collaboration with TERI, Nehru Science Centre and the Astronautical Society of India RYAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra www.engineeringwatch.in
Aim on development of IQ, EQ and PQ, curriculum based on Creya aligned to ITEEA
SAMASHTI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Largest Science park to learn fundamental sciences. Emphasis on non-conventional energy, water harvesting and recycling SYNA INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, Katni, Madhya Pradesh
Stress on practical & projects works along with aptitude tests. Seniors running practical science classes for juniors. HIMALI BOARDING SCHOOL, Darjeeling, West Bengal
IB, IGCSE, CIE and CBSE based curricula partnered with Creya Learning with Virtual Edu-technica, Lingua-phone and high- tech Language Lab, IKIITAPTINTERNATIONAL ANWESHISCHOOL, KA centre, & DST sponsored inspire programs. Khordha , Orissa
IT focused teaching, enhancement of digital knowledge. MAHATMA GANDHI INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Curriculum embraces every aspect of a schoolâ€™s educational program. SMART classrooms and expert lectures through SKYPE. PODAR INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, Nerul-CIE, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra The curriculum aligned to ITEEA, Separate Creya Learning Studio with configurable workspaces to help children develop their thinking and creativity
GITANJALI SENIOR SCHOOL, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
Teachers for Exchange Program. CATHEDRAL AND JOHN CONNON SCHOOL, Mumbai , Maharashtra
Engineering Watch | August 2013
STEM EDUCATION GOES BEYOND THE TEACHING OF SUBJECTS LIKE MATH & SCIENCE IN ISOLATION Terrie Rust, Director of Academics, Creya Learning
Learning Math & Science Innovatively
technology and engineering education”.
Innovation leads to wealth generation, as many developed nations around the world have demonstrated amply. In our own country, our then-President stated in 2009 that the second decade of the 21st Century would be our “Decade of Innovation” with an aim to “…develop an innovation eco-system in the country to stimulate innovations and to produce solutions for the societal needs in terms of healthcare, energy, urban infrastructure, water and transportation.”
Terrie Rust, DTE, Director of Academics at Creya Learning, a pioneering provider of STEM Education programs to K-12 schools in India, explains that STEM education goes beyond the teaching of subjects like Math and Science in isolation. A distinguished technology educator, author and expert on STEM Education, Ms Rust states that, “STEM programs are designed to harness resources from across subjects and facilitate learning of the core topic at hand.
Lofty goals indeed, but does the situation on the ground match the hype? Are our young school-going children being trained in the skills necessary to think critically, analyse solutions and to create? Are they being prepared for 21st century careers? For a change, the answer is yes! A new movement is slowly but surely gaining ground in India, bringing with it novel methods of teaching and learning; and laying the ground work for our next generation of thinkers, innovators and leaders.
For example, a program that teaches Newton's three laws will consist of elements like studying the life and times of Newton (history), building simple applications that demonstrate and apply the laws (engineering), mock interviews with Newton (language arts) that are videotaped and blogged about (digital arts).” A classroom that achieves all this in a single session will be abuzz with student groups walking around performing research, working cooperatively in teams, constructing objects,
A New Paradigm for STEM Education STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education is a trans-disciplinary effort that aims to teach students using concepts and practices from the four core S, T, E and M disciplines. Dr. Mark Sanders of Virginia Tech University, a pioneer in integrative STEM education says it is an umbrella term for “...technological / engineering design-based learning approaches that intentionally integrate the concepts and practices of science and mathematics education with the concepts practices of
STEM Education in action: A Creya Learning Studio at Anand Niketan
f such a classroom sounds too good to be true, rub your eyes. The change has started sweeping across some of our schools, revolutionising K-12 education in many classrooms, and waking parents, teachers and educators up to the potential of STEM education. Maya Sukumaran is the Principal of Gitanjali Senior School, Hyderabad, a school with a traditionally strong focus on academics. Gitanjali has embarked on a transformation of their teaching methodologies in recent years. One of their prime initiatives has been to integrate Creya's STEM Education program into their school day. Ms. Sukumaran opines that, “STEM education is an evolution beyond Maya Sukumaran, Principal, Gitanjali Senior School discrete, subject-specific, activity-based, approaches to teaching. As a trans-disciplinary approach that facilitates learning via multiple methods, STEM challenges students and inspires them to think out of the box.” Kamal Mangal, Managing Trustee of the progressive Anand Niketan group of schools in Gujarat, feels that STEM learning aids the holistic development of the child and helps them acquire real-life skills. He believes that “students will develop skills…that remain with them for a life time” with STEM learning.
Anand Niketan has always encouraged children to learn out of the box via practical experimentation and science labs and other STEM pilots, but Mr Kamal Mangal saw that Creya's program for 21st century skills and STEM Learning was all about challenging students to think differently and to apply technology in their learning. Anand Niketan has integrated 30 hours of STEM learning by introducing Creya Learning program into their regular school schedule. Kamal Mangal, Trustee, Anand Niketan
Educators like Ms. Maya Sukumaran and Mr. Kamal Mangal have taken proactive steps to transform the way their children are learning and to prepare them better for life in the 21st Century. This will in turn address the needs of the country and society in the future. In order for India to be competitive globally, it is not enough for our young people to learn Math and Science. They must integrate Technology and Engineering practices as well, in an inter-disciplinary manner. Along the way, students learn to work cohesively in groups, to articulate, analyse and think. Engineering Watch | August 2013
using digital tools and having lots of fun while learning. Teachers will move around, making resources available and aiding students where necessary; in essence, facilitating multi-pronged learning.
Programme for International Student Assessment is an OECD benchmark for 15 year old students’ competency
INTERPRETATION INTEGRATION APPLICATION
MATH SCIENCE READING
PISA 2009 RANKS
Did anyone say “21st Century classroom?”
Why STEM? What is the crying need to integrate this new form of learning into Indian classrooms? How does it meet the needs of today's children, helping them to succeed in their lives and careers? For one, the way learning is achieved in most of our schools is just not effective or interesting. “[Most Indian] class rooms and schools are still very didactic”, says Dr. Mahesh Prasad, Former
India in PISA
2009 India took part and scored 73 out of the 74 participating countries
India has declined to take part in the 2013 edition of PISA
India's international standing in student learning assessments
Head of the Heritage School in Gurgaon, Haryana. “But we have reached a point wherein the complexity of the current reality cannot be negotiated using the old approach to learning.” The sheer range and depth of what needs to be learnt has increased immensely, triggering a need for newer, more evolved learning methods.
“Education is no longer a linear effort where you learn facts from text books and ace exams”, explains Hari Verma, ex-VP at Knowledge Universe and now the Founder/CEO of Creya. “Information and facts are everywhere now – at the tap of your fingertips as you pull up google.com on your Smartphone, which every second pre-teen knows nowadays. It's how you analyse that information and utilise it that matters for personal and career success.” “WE HAVE REACHED A POINT WHEREIN THE COMPLEXITY OF THE CURRENT REALITY CAN NOT BE NEGOTIATED USING THE OLD APPROACH TO LEARNING” Dr. Mahesh Prasad, Former School Head, The Heritage School, Gurgaon
Second, STEM learning will solve some of the problems plaguing Indian K-12 education and fulfil the unmet requirements of Indian industry. Indian students have fared miserably in international assessments of reading, math and science such as PISA (see accompanying
graphic for PISA 2009 results). While this arguably need not be a report on the state of all our schools (the study was conducted only in Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh), other studies have delivered similar news. A year-long Quality Education study conducted by Wipro and Education Initiatives in 2011 reveals that even in our “top schools” in the metros, students are habituated to rote learning. They performed below or at par with international averages in scholastic assessments – not heartening news when we are hankering to be a knowledge economy. Perhaps more alarming, researchers found that there is no major emphasis in school curricula in building qualities such as teamwork, selfconfidence or communication, qualities Indian industry actively seeks in its employees. However, hope is on the horizon, and STEM constitutes a big part of this good news. Ms Rust cites statistics of STEM adoption in many countries overseas and the benefits they have reaped by going the STEM way as an indicator for the successes India could achieve by going the STEM way. Ms. Rust adds, “In the US, Germany and other countries, entire schools are run on the STEM model, producing new generations of scientists, thinkers and leaders.” This thought has found an echo among Indian educators. Dr. Mahesh Prasad says, “STEM can help schools to create space for collaborative learning through dialogue and enquiry.” Studies have found profound positive impacts in the psychological, social and developmental metrics of children who study in STEM programs. These are auspicious harbingers of what Indian schools can achieve by adopting and including STEM Learning Programs into their regular school schedule and curriculum. It is important also to note that STEM fulfils the guidelines laid down by our National Curricular Framework.
Understanding STEM The path ahead is not smooth however. Barriers to adoption exist, especially in a country as diverse as ours, with uneven distribution of resources.
Educators and school management bodies must be willing to make time in the school day for STEM learning in what is an already crammed time table. Parents must be convinced that spending money, time and resources on a new methodology is for the benefit of their children. The solution to this is to spread awareness about what STEM really is, and to begin early. Creya has found that when parents and schools are made aware of the immense possibilities that STEM education offers their children, they are eager to get started. Schools are able to accommodate STEM hours in the timetable when they realise that syllabi will be covered in these classes, just via a newer and more interesting method. Ms. Maya Sukumaran sums it up when she says, “Most schools talk about STEM education but none of them know what exactly it was. Many think teaching Math and Science is STEM.
Engineering Watch | August 2013
Schools should be made aware of what exactly STEM is, and how important it is for the future of their children. It is also very important that STEM education begins at a young age.” Most importantly, teachers must be made aware of what STEM is – of the integrative nature of the methodology – and must be trained to teach the new way. Ms. Rust who has coached scores of teachers usually encounters initial resistance as to why they must spend the extra time to get trained in STEM. Not surprising, considering teaching is a not-so rewarding, high stress profession in India.
Once teachers and schools are convinced of the value of STEM learning, real transformations occur, as experienced by many teachers. “A sense of discovery and surprise lies within us. We only need to keep our minds open to learning. I experienced this myself during my training program at Creya”, says Mr. Gopalakrishnan, a teacher at Kamala Niketan Montessori School, a leading school in Trichy, Tamil Nadu.
STEM Experiences The movement has started. Many traditional and progressive schools have started implementing STEM programs and are seeing the creativity, analytical and problem-solving skills of their students burst forth.
Ms. Maya Sukumaran has seen this transformation first-hand among her students who attend STEM learning sessions every week at the Creya Learning Studio, as part of their regular school day. “The child will always remember what they've made and experienced. The principles of a pulley system taught dryly on the board will never be remembered versus a pulley system they made themselves” concludes Ms Maya Sukumaran. Mr Kamal Mangal adds that the Creya Studio remains open during the weekends at Anand Niketan for students who want to pursue projects on their own time beyond the mandated hours, and enthusiastic students make full use of this opportunity, thus reinforcing the power of what STEM learning can achieve in terms of engaging learning. As schools explore the diversity and possibilities of STEM education, it is also important to understand what STEM is not. It is not a fad that will go the way of many education paradigms, for one. It is also not just the teaching of Science and Math in silos. Computer classes, math labs or science labs and activities by themselves might not qualify as STEM, neither would the Abacus classes or the popular robotics classes. What might qualify any of the above programs as STEM is only when they have an integrative curriculum, real world connections and promote project based learning.
True STEM Education Offers Manifold Benefits to Implementers
How do we track our STEM implementation? What are the rubrics for success? How do we assess students and report results?
Can we schedule STEM into our school day? Do we have the right resources to make it a success?
Do we have the time/resources and experience to design STEM curricula in-house? Who are the vendors that can help deliver quality STEM education?
Understand how STEM can provide Leadership to my school. What are the learning outcomes there? What are the best known methods they can share?
What is true STEM? Why should our school implement STEM? How do I make parents, teachers and management aware of the benefits of STEM?
Key questions to seek answers for
for more resources on STEM-based education, visit :: www.creyalearning.com/STEM
Implement and Monitor the STEM program for results
IMPLEMENT & MONITOR
Make provisions for - Budget/Curriculcum/Schedule
Evaluate internal ‘MAKE’ Versus ‘BUY’ decision for STEM
MAKE OR BUY?
Speak to/Visit schools with STEM implementation
Study about STEM and build consensus internally
What steps to take towards STEM
5 Steps towards STEM Education for your students
Engineering Watch | August 2013
“There are thousands of ways of combining concepts and resources across subjects to create STEM programs. But the key is to combine two or more STEM areas within one activity”, Ms. Rust reiterates.
Over in Gurgaon, Mr Mahesh Prasad felt that it was essential to provide their students a learning space within the school set-up to have some hands-on experience — a space wherein they could integrate and apply the knowledge across disciplines in a simulated environment close to the real context. While it was not difficult to design some projects or themes to achieve this objective, they found that it required a lot of effort to plan and research.A key component of real STEM education is training children in 21st Century skills – skills essential for workers in this technology driven era. Employees are expected to be self-driven and independent. They must exhibit a lifelong desire to learn. They must be literate in digital tools, and be capable of working with remote teams towards a common goal. Such workers will be ready to tackle complex issues that impact multiple sectors of industry such as global warming. This thin line of distinction between true STEM programs and other stand-alone activity based programs in science or robotics makes it important for schools to identify the correct partners who can help kick-start their STEM education initiatives. Key criteria in potential partners would be to look for an interdisciplinary curriculum designed ground-up for STEM education and the availability of experts with experience to train on delivery. In the opinion of Dr. Mahesh Prasad it is important for schools to look into the credentials of the company schools are seeking to partner with for STEM, their implementation plan and backup support. It is also vital to take feedback from their clients, and from schools which have already implemented STEM programs. He adds, “I have had ample interaction with the program from Creya Learning and concluded that their
content, methodology, training and philosophy are very good after extensive evaluation of this, and other programs.”
The Way Forward STEM education is a deeply studied, welldesigned education methodology that is coming of age in India. STEM is the future, and is here to stay. It can bridge the demand-supply gap between what our educational institutions churn out and what industry expects. It can also be the real bridge between the guidelines laid down by the NCF, and the pioneering innovations in education made by our private schools. Going forward, as the movement gains strength, efforts should be made to integrate this inter-disciplinary approach to education into our national education boards. Schools must take concrete steps to implement STEM education for their students. The mantra for Indian schools is, “Take the time to study STEM and integrate what is best for your student.” The caveat however, is to tread carefully while doing so, taking the help of experts who have knowledge and experience in true STEM that can help their children. With this movement, India can look to the rise of a whole new generation of engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs and innovators who will lead the country to its rightful place on the global podium in the 21st Century.
Studies have found profound positive impacts in the psychological, social and developmental metrics of children who study in STEM programs.
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Efforts to reclaim the lost interest & status of science amongst students at large especially at degree level
Dr. D R Singh ICAR Port Blair
n a high time when ISCA made its centenary celebrations at Kolkata during Jan 2013, I take the privilege to convey that our Port Blair chapter which was recently initiated during Dec 2012 and our team of dedicated scientists was bound to gather the interest of science among the students and college graduates in coming years through structured programmes in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. We have our networking and collaborating institutes/ organizations from ANI including Andaman and Nicobar administration and certainly our chapter has a great potential to enhance the lost interest and status of science among students and other graduates of ANI.
Prof. B. B. P. Gupta
FNASc Convener, ISCA Shillong Chapter Department of Zoology North-Eastern Hill University Shillong
SCA Shillong Chapter strongly feels that all possible steps should be taken by concerned agencies to encourage science students of schools and colleges to opt for higher education in science. In collaboration with the National Academy of Sciences (NASI, Allahabad), ISCA Shillong Chapter has been conducting science awareness programmes in remote areas of Meghalaya. We invite eminent scientists to deliver lectures for science students. We have recently collaborated with the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi and Indian Academy of Science, Bangalore for organizing lecture series for college students. We will be organizing a lecture series by eminent INSA Fellows in
Prof. V. K. Parashar
Head, Dept. of Geology, Govt. MVM, Bhopal Convener, ISCA, Bhopal Chapter www.engineeringwatch.in
SCA Bhopal Chapter office is situated at Govt. Motilal Vigyan Mahavidyalaya, Bhopal and certainly because of its strategic location the students of B.Sc. and M.Sc. enthusiastically take part in the scientific activities organized by Bhopal Chapter or some other agencies. In addition to this, ISCA Bhopal Chapter organizes several programmes on various occasions in collaboration with Regional Science Centre, Bhopal, M.P. Council of Science and Technology, Bhopal and other science based agencies. Students from various schools/ Colleges actively participate in these programmes.
Ways to incorporate the love for science amongst the vast community of engineering graduates
he opportunity available for engineering and B. Tech students should be made transparent through interactive programmes at the end of their graduation. A canvas program targeting passing out students from engineering profession and the opportunities available can be really helpful to incorporate the love for science among the other professional students. Our Port Blair chapter will also take necessary steps in coming time to organize such events.
feel that provisions should be made to allow fresh B.E./B.Tech. students to opt for M. Sc. in the concerned subject followed by Ph. D. programme offered by Indian Universities. If B.E./B.Tech. students are allowed to opt for M. Sc., it will encourage technology students to opt for postgraduation in science, and thereby we can pave their ways for higher education in science.
t is quite true that the young engineers act as catalysts in the science regeneration process in today's society. We are trying to involve them by formulating a local science club at every engineering i n s t i t u te , s o t h a t t h ey c a n participate in each and every activity organized by Bhopal Chapter and thus can motivate science in different sectors of the society.
Possibility of the continuation of Engineering & Technological interventions & inventions in the absence of a scientific fervor
cientific literacy among graduates has entered a period of decline in knowledge. Contrary to our perception, the interest of non-scientific graduates for the sciences has not grown in parallel with the advances that science has brought to society. Without a scientific feeling or warmth no technological interventions will flourish and expand. Teachers have a daunting task ahead of them to provide students with such experiences in a meaningful way.
ngineering and Technological interventions and/or inventions cannot continue in India without a strong scientific fervor. We have to try very hard to bridge the gap between science and technology. For this, we need a very strong national desire involving the central and state governments, MHRD, UGC, IITs, NITs and Indian Universities.
e c h n o l o g i c a l i nve n t i o n a n d innovative ideas presented by engineering students and have always been appreciated by one and all. Recently, M.P. Council of Science and Technology, Bhopal launched a programme to promote the pioneering ideas of science/ engineering student which is beneficial to the society. But it is not mandatory that graduates from only science/engineering background can do innovation/ invention. There are hundreds of examples where non science background masterminds from various disciplines invented/ innovated something new for the society.
Bridging the discipline of Science from its corresponding applied disciplines of Engineering & Technology
es or so it seems! There is certainly a gap for a student right from the young age they have the option to choose either biology or Mathematics for higher education. The only hope we see is Education. Science education should be part of the school curriculum from the very early ages. Science is fun, and as such teachers should transform the fun in interactive way and we scientists should also have an important role in reducing the gap between science and technology. Probably the scientists should show their good side to the society and share the excitement of science with non-scientific and common lay man which will greatly help in bridging the gap between science and engineering technology.
ur policy makers must take necessary steps to create an atmosphere where science and technology can be taught side by side by science and technology institutions. A unique joint effort has been made by the Indian Academy of Science (IAS), Bangalore; Indian National Science Academy (INSA), New Delhi and National Academy of Sciences (NASI), Allahabad to offer summer research fellowships (SRF) under which a student is offered a fellowship for two months and TA to undertake a research project under the supervision of renowned scientists.
es indeed it is observed that the discipline of science has been distanced from applied discipline of science and technology. In my opinion, it is very clear that basic science status has to be maintained firmly since it is the foundation and without basic sciences no other applied science survives. In my view the science and engineering graduate students should come forward on a same platform to discuss and share their views by organizing seminar/ conference/ symposium and brain storming session on the focal theme of any science topic for the betterment of society.
India's emergence on the global forefront in the Scientific & Technological domain
eeds of innovation abound in the technological domain of study. Several competitive organizations like DST, DBT, MOES, CSIR, ICAR, IIS, IIT etc are leading the country with innovative scientific approaches. However not all technologies developed by the scientific organizations are adopted by public. Technology dispersal and adoption would be an important area to be planned meticulously to bring India in global forefront. Exposure of Indian scientists/ students to global platform on innovative technologies should be another area to be addressed through way of learning experiences and study visits. Collaborative partnership particularly in scientific platform with developed countries could be an alternative approach.
ndia is emerging as a very strong nation on the global forefront of scientific and technological domain. But much more needs to be done. The number of science and technology institutions of global standards need to be increased with quality control measures. Immediate steps must be taken for seamless movement of science 31 graduates to technology and technology graduates to science. It is also very important to generate excellent employment opportunities for science and technology graduates. Classical approach to science and technology education will not keep pace with the global competitions. We must take urgent steps to create national institutions to impart graduate and postgraduate education in courses combining both science and technology.
ndian students are highly talented in the world, we have enough energy to do miracles but unfortunately our policies sometimes restrain the innovative ideas. Central and State government should adopt a policy to organize a working model competition on any scientific innovation every year so that the endowed students showcase their talent. After the selection of a particular model/ innovative idea, it should be patented and they should be provided with suitable reward and good packages so that others are also motivated. Moreover this will protect our talent and stop the migration of our youth to other countries.
Engineering Watch | August 2013
Can the Engineering Students contribute to the ongoing efforts of the government to bring about transparency and efficiency through various e-governance programmes & projects? “Why not?” said the then DG of NIC Prof. M Moni inspired and instigated by Sri Sam Pitroda. Engineering Watch thereby took upon the task to identify some of the best Engineering Campuses across the country to start looking at these exciting e-Gov Programmes and Projects. On the occasion of the United Nations Public Service Day, 77 Campuses from across the country were designated as e-Gov Campus for the year 2013-14 in an elaborate ceremony attended by several dignitaries and experts in the domain of e-Governance. – Editor
gov campus Linking eGov Projects to Engineering Campuses
Lise Grande UN Resident Co-ordinator www.engineeringwatch.in
e-governance could be used to produce a number of steps to acquire equivalent flagship schemes in admissions, to make services easier for people to access and to master the delivery of public goods.
e-GOVERNANCE literally has the potential TO CHANGE the way the public administration is done.
s the head of the 27th United Nations Agency Funds and Programmes and having the privilege of working in India, I was honoured to be the part of this celebration of United Nations Public Service Day. All around the world Governments, NGOs, Civil Society Organizations, Active Institutions, Industry are celebrating Public Service Day. This is an opportunity for all of us globally to acknowledge and salute the Public Servants who want to improve conditions in the countries in efficient and effective ways. In the United Nations we feel that Public Service is a higher call and helping government to improve conditions is one of the honorable professions that anyone can aspire to. This is why we hope that young people from around the world and very much here in India commit themselves to the public good and choose to work in Public Service and Public Administration. As a part of our celebration of the UN Public Service Day, The UN Public Administration Network honors Public Service Institutions that have done the most to promote better administration. These are the most prestigious awards given internationally in Public Service. I hope everybody is proud that the state governments in India have won this award year after year for their work to improve public service delivery, improve transparency and accountability and to expand citizen participation. For example the conduct of the Revenue Department won this prestigious award in 2006 for putting land records online. The Communications Department won the award the next year for its highly successful and innovative e-governance project. As these projects confirm, India is a world leader in inducing egovernance to improve Public Administration. It’s absolutely clear that other countries have so much to learn from India’s innovations. It’s wonderful that we are here today to celebrate and salute the District Magistrates who have come to reach new standards of public service at the grassroots level. Allow me to reflect on the importance of the potential of e-governance. E-governance literally has the potential to change the way the public administration is done. E-governance could be used to produce a number of steps to acquire equivalent flagship schemes in admissions, to make services easier for people to access and to master the delivery of public goods. E-governance can be used to make rules and procedures more
comprehensible and understandable to people. Egovernance can be used to spread information on entitlements and rights. In fact the potential of egovernance to change public administration is almost limitless. The UN has done extensive studies to show that three conditions need to be in place to harness e-governance to the new technologies. First, a broad basic telecommunications infrastructure needs to be established. Second, people need to know how to access this infrastructure and access to this infrastructure has to be either free or very affordable. Thirdly, the constructs available on the infrastructure has to be of a high quality, and there has to be round the clock facility to service the infrastructure. If you have these three conditions in place, then e-governance reforms can reach the highest level. I think everyone should be proud of the progress India has made in this sector. India has the fastest growing telecommunications market in the world with a staggering 104% increase in the number of internet subscribers in the last decade. India is the second largest mobile phone user in the world with over 900 million users. The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology has developed a National e-governance Plan which turns the pathway for using Information and Technology into improved governance. India has also put in place a remarkable Right to Information Act and there are a number of state level service guarantee acts and grievance redressal m e c h a n i s m s w h i c h h ave e - g o ve r n a n c e components. The Cabinet Secretary resolve the framework and the Citizens’ Charters linking egovernance innovations towards making growth more inclusive. The UN in India is proud to have partnered with government as far back as in 1976 to support the National Informatics Centre which because of its outstanding government leadership has offices in every district of the country. Please note that the United Nations stands ready to support Universities, state governments, civil society organisations in any way possible as India continues to push forward e-governance. To conclude allow me to congratulate Engineering Watch for organising such a wonderful event.
Engineering Watch | August 2013
Oscar Fernandes Cabinet Minister, Ministry of Transport, Road and Highways www.engineeringwatch.in
Necessity is the mother of all inventions. We wanted a super computer. We couldn’t get it; India produced the ‘Param Super Computer’
The idea today is that, it’s not the engineering student to be connected, the engineering student has to reach out to the last person in the country and then do what is necessary.
n this occasion, when Engineering Watch has organized this wonderful program, we have with us Lise Grande, the UN Representative to India, Prof. Moni, Dr. Sanjeev Singh Ji, Rajendra Kumar Ji, B.C. Mal ji, Rama Ji, District Collectors, eminent educationists, Raghav Mittal Ji - the editor and the person responsible for today’s function. I am very happy to participate in a program like this. Once a young student came to me with a paper and said, “Sir! Why don’t we connect all the villages of our country?” I said, “What do you mean?” “We will have broad-width connectivity”. I took up the project and today it has become a reality that we are connecting every village of our country, and that has made it possible to reach out to every citizen in the country who wants to get his matter attended by anyone who is concerned. Necessity is the mother of all inventions. We wanted a super computer. We couldn’t get it; India produced the ‘Param Super Computer’. Whatever a super computer can process, the same thing was done by a Param Super Computer by parallel computing. The idea today is that, it’s not the engineering student to be connected, the engineering student has to reach out to the last person in the country and then do what is necessary. In Karnataka, if there is no water-well functioning in a village, a farmer can immediately inform through the e-process and he will get water. Now, how do you make it known to the concerned deputy commissioner or the engineer? That’s a technique! I was meeting a doctor, a dentist. He was struggling with his computer and his kid came running, “Daddy! What’s the problem?” and he fixed it for his daddy. He is not an engineering student! He is not even a metric student. He is a kid, for him computer is a toy. He is playing with it every day. So, if technology has come to a level of an electric switch, how do you make it available to
people? The reference has been made to the farmers of Jharkhand. I had been buying tomatoes at Rs. 30/Kg in Delhi and when I went there they said, 0.25 Rs per Kg! Rs 0.25/Kg in Jharkhand and Rs 30/Kg in Delhi, whose loss is this? The farmers who do farming, they will never do it. Why will he produce to sell his tomatoes at Rs 0.25/Kg? This is exactly the point we are handling. India is a very vast country. If there is fire somewhere, or, there is an accident somewhere in Maharashtra, you dial a medical number and the ambulance is there within 10 minutes. In Australia, if there is an accident, within 5 minutes, a helicopter will land at the site of the accident. I think we should have a club of all the students in the country. Let us bring all our talent together. What is not available else-where, is available in our country. A decade ago, I had to go to Belgium to visit a particular person. I asked a taxidriver, “How do I do it”? He said, “Give me the address”. He took me and halted the vehicle exactly in front of his house. I said, “How did you manage”? He said, “Sir! I have a GPS with me.” And today, our children are using GPS in our country. I must compliment the UN for organizing this Public Service Day, all over the world, and especially ma’am, that she is here. I wanted the recipients to receive the awards from her hands. Then it would become the UN Awards, otherwise, it will be called Government of India’s Awards. I felt that she should have given the awards, so that they remember this day. Nowhere in the world, we have so many young people; India is a young country and we can bring them together “to wipe every tear from every eye”. Thank you very much. Jai Hind.
Engineering Watch | August 2013
Shankar Agarwal Additional Secretary, Ministry of Defence www.engineeringwatch.in
e-governance could be used to produce a number of steps to acquire equivalent flagship schemes in admissions, to make services easier for people to access and to master the delivery of public goods
“Let us make our students understand the concepts, let us allow them to add on something new to the existing pool of knowledge, let us allow them to create new applications, new appliances, new technology.”
t is my privilege to share some views on egovernance and education in engineering terms. As one of the speakers said, most of the engineering graduates today are unemployable. The primary reason is that they are familiar with certain words, certain vocabulary, some technical terms but they do not have the understanding of the subject. And our focus needs to be on understanding the subject. Yesterday I was discussing with some people and we were discussing about the way we were taught in schools and colleges. I still remember, when we were told about a lot of thermodynamics and the journey we had taken, we tried to derive every formula, every derivation and we were able to reproduce that in the examination and we got good marks. In spite of the fact that we were studying in one of the best schools and colleges of our country, most of these concepts were not very clear to us. Even today, in most of the engineering colleges, the quality of education is extremely poor. And that’s why, in spite of the fact that we have the largest pool of technical power in the world, our engineers and our technocrats are not employable. They are unable to produce anything new or add anything new to the existing pool of knowledge. And when our engineers go abroad, they are able to do wonders. But somehow within our own country, we have not been able to make use of our intellect for the betterment of the society. And I think that egovernance can play a very important role if we manage to bring together the e-governance and the engineering campuses because engineering campuses have that kind of a culture and environment. Let us make our students understand the concepts, let us allow them to add on something new to the existing pool of knowledge, let us allow them to create new applications, new appliances, new technology. Take the case of Uttarakhand, it is very painful to learn that after so many years of advancement, we are in 2013 and we are still using the same old technology and so many people have been killed for no fault of their own. Why can’t we develop a
small application so that in your machine you can find out about the environmental conditions say within the range of 10 to 50 km. Many more things can be developed to make their lives much more meaningful, we can take away their misery by bringing in e-governance, by bringing in technology. Today everybody is carrying a smart phone, so that bridge can be developed by creating such small applications. And engineering colleges can play a very important role here. Take for instance the technology itself, we can now reach out to so many countries, we are cutting the mountains for constructing roads, why can’t we develop speeder technology, why can’t we adopt lot of tunnels rather than cutting the roads unnecessarily. We can reduce the distances, we can reduce our time to reach the destination and this can certainly be done. In earlier part of 20th century, if Switzerland can construct these rail roads to take you at the top of the mountains, then why can’t we do that in the 21st century when we have technological advantage? And we are called the world leader in the area of IT, but somehow, it pains me that we have not been able to do much. Even though we have developed a number of applications, they have not been percolated down to the common man. Then finally, as Mr. Pradeep Gupta said “Technology alone is an enabler”. If we want to enable masses, if we want to take this country forward, technology is the only solution. We got to induce technology, and we got to promote leadership in the country, and all of you are highly enlightened people who have done wonders in their own areas and if you provide leadership, and take up 4 or 5 applications or projects which are basically masses oriented, I’m sure we will be able to create wonders, we will be able to bring peace and prosperity, and as I said in the beginning that we do not have control over the natural calamities but certainly we will be able to mitigate their adverse effects. www.engineeringwatch.in/shankaraggarwal
Engineering Watch | August 2013
Dr. Rajendra Kumar Joint Secretary-eGoverance DEITY www.engineeringwatch.in
In our country the main programme which has been made in e-governance is the National e-Governance Plan. This is the main flagship programme of all the government of India since more than 7 years now, consisting of a large number of Mission Mode Projects (MMPs).
The district magistrates which have been felicitated in their own areas would be quite suitable for application across the entire state or in the poor states to ensure that these projects which are done by one state or few states are productised.
s we are all aware, e-Governance is contributing actively towards transforming governance and citizens of its delivery. However, we still have a long way to go before we say that we have fully harnessed the potential of the Information and Communication Technology for transforming the governance and for transforming the interface with the citizens. It is relevant here in this context to take stalk of where we stand in our journey towards achieving a good potential of electronic governance and take a little bit of broad overview of how we can achieve the full vision of e-governance. In our country the main programme which has been made in e-governance is the National e-Governance Plan. This is the main flagship programme of all the government of India since more than 7 years now, consisting of a large number of Mission Mode Projects (MMPs). It has now 31 such projects. Out of these 31 projects 23 are quality deliverance to distributive people. So in that sense NeGP has been a fair structure by Indian standards. The different government departments both at the centre and all the state governments are deeply involved in the implementation process upto the district administration. In this entire programme the related channel to the citizens has been only e- aspects and in this regard the Common Service Centres have been established all across the country in different states. More than 1,25,000 centers today are playing a key role. However, to really harness the potential of ICT, connectivity through broadband is a must. In this regard there have been a number of recent initiatives by the government to ensure that connectivity reaches the village panchayats and to the citizens living in the rural areas. You might have heard about the National Optical Fibre Network or N-Optic Projects which has been launched recently and is transforming the broadband landscape in the country. The area where rapid transformation is taking place is in terms of using the mobile platform. As was mentioned earlier, in our country the penetration of mobile devices is far better than access to computer and internet. In this regard, the
department of Electronics and IT has put in place the Global Mobile Platform, where any government department across the country either at the centre or at the state, any government entity can use this platform for redressal of grievances to the citizens. Already, more than 440 departments across the country are using this platform today for redressing the grievances in terms of using any of the available mobile gadgets whether it is for SMS delivery, voice messages or for using mobile applications. In this entire movement towards ensuring that e-governance achieves the objective of delivering some suitable usable results at their doorsteps at affordable price, DEITy has been playing a key role. It is the nodal department, the nodal ministry which runs or implements the National e-governance Plan. The concerned departments take the full initiative of the individual Mission Mode Projects but it is the role of the DEITy which ensures that e-governance achieves its true vision. Recently they have also launched projects to harness the potential of the latest emerging technologies such as the Cloud Platform and the authentication to evoke that these initiatives in e-governance projects get the required boost and support from different entities to ensure that the vision of e-governance is met. The district magistrates which have been felicitated in their own areas would be quite suitable for application across the entire state or in the poor states to ensure that these projects which are done by one state or few states are productised. We have launched a project on Record Application in which we already have replicated one project successfully in two different states and we have taken up few more projects for Record Application. We hope that this model can address the issue of staking up these projects and also ensuring that there is no duplication in terms of resources and efforts being spent on these projects.
Engineering Watch | August 2013
Ms. Rama Vedashree Vice President eGovernance, NASSCOM www.engineeringwatch.in
Academia can play a huge role in impact assessments of e-governance projects.
There are several areas in e-gov both in the government domain and the industry, where we can bring in the academia and collaborate.
ts my privilege to present before you very deeply on the role of technology and the technology enabled governance in public services and how industry members are contributing to this and what we see as the role of academia in really taking technology as the core of delivering public services. I represent Nasscom which is the industry body. When we are talking of industry, I think industry in India in the service portfolio stands for 4 sectors which is IT services, Business Process Management, Engineering and R&D integral streams like emergent systems, Software projects and internet in e-commerce.
When we talk of technology enabled governance and public service, essentially government is trying to leverage technology to do 3 things. One is to increase internal efficiency, so when you look at taxation projects, income tax projects, revenue projects, the essential projects are those which improve the internal efficiency. The second is to see as to how information services can be reached. For example how technology can be leveraged to reach education, financial and other services in backward regions. And the third one is how do you provide better services so that a single window permissions systems for the government can be created for business interactions. So broadly three things technology undergoes- improves internal efficiency, increases reach and provides better services. We feel that, academia can support both government and industry in filling the various gaps. Broadly there are some occupations in application development, application deployment and data sciences. Data is a huge repository for the government, you need a data scientist discipline to be able to learn and leverage data for government forecasting. If you look at information security, that’s an occupation, that’s a skills domain, when you look at roles, there is IT forensics, there is
application security, there is risk management, there is audit and compliance, there is business continuity planning and disaster recovery. In each of this, there is tremendous talent and skills gap in the market place, government fills that gap and industry also fills that gap. Similarly, if you look at infrastructure management, there are things like network management, server management, systems support.
There are several areas in e-gov both in the government domain and the industry, where we can bring in the academia and collaborate. Similarly, developing curriculum for students, curriculum will need of at various levels in government, as in organisations like NISG and some universities have developed their rich courses for entry level, for senior project managers, for senior mission mode leaders. Research in group of concepts in emerging technologies like bio-metrics, bio-metrical communication or mobile phones in GIS and IRFT. These group of concepts have been happening in a handful of premier institutions. Academia can also play a huge role in impact assessments of e-governance projects. Already some institutions are doing but how can you do third party impact assessment, I think academia will be a neutral party who can bring the expertise in project assessment so that both what government is doing and industry is doing is actually validated by a third party so that future public service validity can take a move.
Engineering Watch | August 2013
Pradeep Kumar Gupta Chairman & Managing-Director Cyber Media (India) Pvt. Ltd
Just like every industry rediscovers itself in every 10 years, it’s time for e-governance industry to rediscover itself and become an M-governance industry
t’s been a great journey over the last 30 years of unraveling of the entire IT industry, the way we started off with the industry which was looked at as something which was a domain of very few people. There was a time when every IT product was treated as a luxury product; the duties which used to be there were like luxury items- 150% and those sorts of things. I remember the times when Mr. Rajiv Gandhi took upon the entire cause of the industry and assured to bring it to main stream. But even then you may remember the usage of the term Computer Boys in a derogatory way. Today when it is main stream, it is centre-stage, it is bringing the difference in each and every walk of life. It is helping to transform this entire country and the transformation that has happened in the last 30 years is absolutely tremendous. I feel very honored and privileged to be a part of this entire transformation and having caused some of the transformations also through our publications and through the reporting on what all developments were happening. When you start talking about governance, one very important factor of governance is Empowerment. If you look at Empower there are two very interesting letters and those two letters are ‘E’ and ‘M’. So once you add the ‘E’ and the ‘M’ to the ‘Power’ it becomes Empower. So we’ve been doing e-governance but now I think it’s a different world we are living in and in this new world we also need to look out at the ‘M’ part i.e. Mobility. We need to have www.engineeringwatch.in
everything which is now coming up based upon multiplicity of devices that are going to be all around us. All of which will be internet-enabled, IPV6 would be there and therefore you will find billions of devices connected onto the net. So perhaps when we talk about this E-governance to start taking the shape of M-governance, we should start working on apps and we should start working on delivery in a completely new way. Just like our industry rediscovers itself in every 10 years and now it’s time for e-governance industry to rediscover itself and become an M-governance industry. With a number of tablets which are going into the education system, you know how that transformation may take place. You will have people right from early education who will have their exposure to campus, they will have the accessibility to all varieties of data and they will all be connected to social media. There is huge amount of information which is doubling every two years. The old solutions are not going to be the solutions of the future. I would urge the various DMs and directors and DIOs to start looking at these new devices and how information is going to be delivered through them and similarly the education system to start looking at this new paradigm and prepare yourself for what is required for this new paradigm.
Prof. B. C. Mal Vice Chancellor, CSVTU
We need this e-governance plan which can play a major role in building the young generation as the responsible citizens.
ngineering Watch has been working vigorously for a very long time for this purpose and I am very proud of Mr. Raghav Mittal who happens to be my student at IIT Kharagpur. I must congratulate and thank him for this initiative. Now he has probably limited my speech on e-governance and how the colleges and universities can help in this regard. At this stage India is most developed as far as the software program is concerned but still we have to go a long way. At times I get inspired by Dr. A. P .J Abdul Kalam. He said many things on e-governance but most importantly he told that one soft solution to different problems should be a convergence of difference which should be able to sense, compute and communicate together and it should be a low cost multimedia multilingual sense in task sensitive communication device. So itâ€™s a good way to create this kind of devices in which lot of research is conducted. So students from computer science engineering, electrical engineering, electronics engineering have to work towards this. In my university there are some 96 colleges out of which 49 are engineering colleges. Although my university is new and the infrastructure is yet to be built up, we have to handle something like 5000 students, which is a huge task and we may apply the interexchange of e-governance. If I used to convey any message to my principals then I used to send them by group mails or for that matter we had group mails for different students. We are the only university in India which has the digital evaluation system. In 2010, when I left IIT Kharagpur and joined CSVTU, we had to handle something like 700 thousand copies of answer sheets in each semester from all the states from north to south. So we started the reevaluation system for all the digitised answer sheets and then we set up re-evaluation centres all over the state where we had the land, the connector universal system and in this centre there is a group for evaluation which is assisted by the computers. The teacher, according to his subject can access the digital copies using the username
and password and can access the marks and then calculate the marks automatically and the data is transferred to the University. So as Prof. Moni was saying that there are so many agricultural colleges, so many universities and so many engineering colleges but in the rural areas where communication is very-very poor and what I have seen was vast communication gap but then agriculture depends on the variance of nature. Now in almost all agricultural universities, there is something known as crop germination programme based on weather forecasting; and they are doing it every day and can see that data can be forecasted. So to collect all the data from meteorological departments and to forecast, what you need is agricultural cross linkages in all the blocks so that the farmer can have a idea about his crops and the nature forecast and most important thing is the marketing. When you go to the farmersâ€™ field the crop is 200 Rs/kg and when you come to the town it is 400 Rs/kg. So all these things need to be searched and it is a big challenge, where to provide social networking, to provide sufficient bandwidth, massive investment. I am happy that since 2012 government introduced the egovernance plan and is investing in it. Lastly, I want to see the graduates work for the nation , for that they need to accept the challenges in all aspects of e-governance and come up with some new projects and products. So for getting a good output, we need this e-governance plan which can play a major role in building the young generation as the responsible citizens. We need to incorporate e-governance in each and every profession because as we all know even the employees should be of a defined nature. So I request all the District Magistrates and Informatics officers to give some space of egovernance even to colleges and universities across India. www.engineeringwatch.in/profbcmal
Engineering Watch | August 2013
I welcome the proposal to create eGov Cells on select Engineering Campuses across the country which would undertake various Research & Extension Projects in the domain of eGovernance in close coordination with various Government agencies.
Tushar Pandey Senior President and Country Head Strategic Initiatives, Government & Advisory (SIGA), YES BANK
dvances in technology has revolutionized the nature of our democracy and its institutions, especially the ability of citizens to interface, participate and influence the way in which they are governed. E-Governance or the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for delivery of public services has w i t n e s s e d i n c re a s i n g a c c e p t a b i l i t y a n d implementation within both Union and State Government agencies to facilitate the exchange of information communication transactions, integration of various stand-alone systems and services between Government-to-Citizens (G2C), Government-to-Business (G2B) and Governmentto-Government (G2G) as well as back-office processes and interactions within the entire governmental framework. The implementation of e-governance solutions has resulted not just in better efficiency & cost reduction, but has also increased accountability & transparency in governance, monitoring & execution and most importantly citizen empowerment. It is imperative however, that E-Governance in India must continue to steadily evolve from being a process of computerization of Government Departments to initiatives that encapsulate the finer points of Governance, such as citizen centricity, service orientation and transparency. This is particularly relevant in the current environment where there is an increasing aspiration from citizens for accountability, transparency and growing participation of citizen groups and civil society in www.engineeringwatch.in
demanding this. Recent times had already seen significant change in orientation for e-Governance in India, with a growing focus on output as against outcome and a gradual shift toward innovative localized solutions and greater collaboration with private sector. It has been felt that to speed up e-Governance implementation across the country, the institutional framework governing its implementation needs to be strengthened so as to converge efforts by various arms of Government at National, State, and Local levels. A programme based or 'projectisation' approach needs to be adopted, guided by common vision and strategy. This approach has the potential of enabling huge savings in costs through sharing of core and support infrastructure, enabling interoperability through standards, delivery of scalable solutions and of presenting a seamless view of Government to citizens. This is where the principles of Public Private Partnership have also been integrated with the concepts of PPP being adopted to draw in private sector expertise, efficiency and investment while at the same time, eGovernance principles being applied across the process of PPP project development & monitoring including the fulfilling obligations, quality stipulations.
Given the huge impetus witnessed through the PPP approach there is also potential for similar k n o wl e d g e b a s e d p a r t n e r s h i p b e t we e n government and engineering institutions across the country. Many of these Engineering colleges besides being a latent pool of talent and housing some of the sharpest minds in the country also have the potential to be the hub of innovation in developing comprehensive e-Governance solutions. They have the capacity to introduce best practices and replicate international success stories as also to leverage technology including further automating systems including for data collection, MIS, statistics, and its access for enhancing decision making. This is should of course be supported by better documentation, knowledge share, learning, skill development. Engineering colleges also bring with them students of extremely diverse demographic and social mix; a wide reach across the length and breadth of the country and potential to engage directly with local stakeholders (end-users). This can offer the much desired impetus to Localization by augmenting language access and development of voice based solutions particularly for access in rural areas. I therefore welcome the proposal to create eGov Cells on select Engineering Campuses across the country which would undertake various Research & Extension Projects in the domain of eGovernance in close coordination with various Government agencies. The need of the hour is to develop integrated solutions for design of Process Re-engineering, support to Change Management in addition to IT Strategy & Deployment Plan. Engineering Campus have unmatched existing infrastructure and skills in-house to develop in these eGov Cells, multidisciplinary team with relevant skill-sets for these entire requirements. For example Computer Science & Engineering Depts. can collaborate with Dept. of Agriculture to create an equal distribution of knowledge networking system in respective subject areas. These eGov Cells can also offer a mutually beneficial platform for these institutions to develop hand holding, capacity building, changemanagement and trouble-shooting solutions for Government. Banks and financial institutions play a pivotal role in facilitating electronic public service delivery by enabling online transacting capabilities and delivering secure solutions for seamless transactions and to act as collection and payment agent to various stakeholders in the e-governance ecosystem. One of the key objectives for any eGovernance system must be its ability to make transacting cashless and enhance fund collection,
distribution, availability, tracking & its utilization efficiency. E-Governance implementation agencies should ensure the involvement of knowledge banks and financial institutions at the early stages of solution development to ensure integrated solution development and enable highest standards of transacting security. Banks can support the financial inclusion objectives through such platforms and in collaboration with egovernance agencies; educate the citizens to make best use of information and benefit of such progressive public services being delivered by Government YES BANK, India's fourth largest private sector bank, has been actively been involved in advocacy and developing solutions to this cause. Leverage our superior technology platform we have been working to introduce cashless transaction ecosystems that support e-Governance initiatives and offer secure, convenient, and efficient transacting capabilities. In our most recent initiative, YES BANK launched the 'Incredible India Travel Card', in association the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, as a value add to enrich India's tourism campaign, 'Incredible India' at the ITB Fair at Berlin, Germany and we firmly believe it will be a defining step towards making travelling within India a cashless and hassle free experience.
Engineering colleges also bring with them students of extremely diverse demographic and social mix; a wide reach across the length and breadth of the country and potential to engage directly with local stakeholders (end-users). This can offer the much desired impetus to Localization by augmenting language access and development of voice based solutions particularly for access in rural areas.
Engineering Watch | August 2013
Prof. P B. Sharma Vice-Chancellor Delhi Technological University
am delighted to note that the Engineering Watch in association with National Informatics Centre, NIC is organising "e-Gov Campus Programme" an initiative to create e-governance cells in select engineering campuses across the country so as to facilitate e-governance in the domain of research and innovation projects and provide efficient coordination between various government agencies, academic institutions and the industry stake holders. It is also heartening to note that in Phase â€” I of the above initiative 100 engineering colleges are being selected from across the country I am sure the initiative shall ensure the penetration of e-governance system for effective coordination and transparency and shall enhance its outreach to the society at large It is also gratifying to note that the initiative is being launched on the occasion of UN Public Service Day. In the new knowledge age the best way to take advantage of the knowledge revolution is to employ egovernance systems including e-education. e-business, e-health e-security and e-services so as to provide the necessary benefits of the advantage technology to the public at large I Wish to congratulate the Engineering Watch, the leading education portal of India and the National Informatics Centre, the country's flagship for informatics and e-governance for conceiving this highly important initiative at a time when India is taking giant leap forward in the arena of transparency and effective governance I extend my very best wishes for the success of the above mission
Dr. K. Lal Kishore Vice-Chancellor, JNTUA
highly appreciate that "Engineering watch" has taken initiative to create E- Governance cells on select Engineering Colleges across the country, which would under take various research and extension projects in the domain of E- Governance, in close coordination with National lnformatics Centre (NIC) and various government agencies.
E- Governance is very much essential for the country like India with large population, and benefits of welfare schemes not reaching the under privileged sections of the society. The loopholes in the Administration can be effectively checked with E Governance. Undertaking research and extension projects, in this area can immensely benefit the Universities as well as other agencies. I once again appreciate the initiative taken by 'Engineering Watch'
Engineering Watch | August 2013
Prof. B. C. Mal Vice Chancellor, Chhattisgarh Swami Vivekanand Technical University
am very happy to learn that Engineering Watch has taken an initiative to create e-Governance cells all across the country in association with National Informatics Centre, a pioneer organization under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of Government of India engaged in several ICT based projects such as e-Governance .
Actually, Government of India has approved National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) for massive implementation to enable and facilitate various citizen centric services to benefit the society at large scale. A central data repository is created wherein data and information would be collected, stored, retrieved used and exchange in an efficient manner. The e - governance cells would help for delivery of web-enabled services in the country anytime anywhere for access of the services of citizens concerned Capacity building of the district administrative functions and processes will be achieved to enhance efficiency and accountability in service delivery to people We have been growing at a satisfactory speed towards achieving our status as a developed country that needs the upliftment of masses in general and the rural population in particular by providing urban amenities to rural area through very much efficient service provider platform like e-Governance cell . This cell would help in catering services in issuing different kinds of certificates. revenue court services, social welfare schemes ration and card related services, RTI services with the redressal of grievances etc. I am glad to know that 100 engineering institutions will be identified as nodal centers operating as EGovernance cells in association with NIC that would help their students to connect with the giant ICT based organization and get opportunity to work in several related research and extension projects. The eGovernance will help transformation the country through computerized, citizen centric, services oriented and transparent services to the people. I wish that the e-Governance cells would play a major role in shaping the young minds to be involved in providing viable solutions to ICT related problems and challenges. I congratulate the Engineering Watch and wish this initiative a grand success.
Dr. R.K Khandal Vice-Chancellor Gautam Buddh Technical University
t is a matter of Great honor and pleasure for me to write this message to be included in the special souvenir to be brought out by Engineering Watch on the project 'eGov Campus'. Engineering Watch has been doing a good job of creating an eco system by which one can achieve an overall improvement in the quality of technical education in the country. Through Engineering Watch, the institutes located in different parts of the country including the far flung rural and remote areas are able to linked with the others in the metros. Learning from each other experience through the process of sharing and hand-holding has become the reality thanks to many of the initiatives being taken by Engineering Watch. It is possible contribution and for this the whole team Engineering watch deserves kudos. The project 'eGov Campus' is a unique programme meant to create capabilities in the technical institutes across the country so that they attain the desired standards of transparency and quality. The ultimate aim of this project is to bring the standard of technical education in the country at par with the leading ones in the world. With the creation eGov cells in different parts of the country, the quality of technical education would be ensured. In all the initiatives taken by Engineering Watch, the participation from the institutes in UP has been encouraging. I am sure that in this project also, there would be a large number of entries from amongst the affiliated institutes of GBTU. In the recent times most of the institutes affiliated with GBTU, have undertaken several capability building project to remain in league with the leading ones.
Engineering Watch | August 2013
D C Misra, Deputy Director General, National Infomatic Centre
hile working for eGovernance in Rural/Panchayat Sector for along time, I often felt that growing body of engineering community in rural areas can play a vital role in strengthening eGovernance practices in general and service delivery in particular. The linkages between academics(Engineering Colleges) and eGovernance agencies(Government and Industry) need to be established for the good of all. A valuable contribution can be made by the student and colleges in eGovernance practices, particularly in productisation, which is missing as of now. The student can collaborate with eGovernance agencies in collaborative preparation of SRS, Design, Development and testing of eGovernance products/services. The colleges could play a significant role in training and handholding in nearest end-user base.
gov champions District Magistrates & District Informatics Officers Furthering eGovernance to Grassroots
Ms. Tanu Kashyap, District Magistrate SBS Nagar Sri. Rahul Tewari, (IAS), Deputy Commissioner, Ludhiana
Sri. Nikhil Kumar (IAS), District Magistrate, South West Sri. Abhyankar A. Ajit (IAS), District Magistrate, New Delhi Sri. Udit Prakash (IAS), District Magistrate, North West Dr. Ashima Jain (IAS), District Magistrate, Central Sri. Krishna Mohan Uppu (IAS), District Magistrate, East
Sri Ambrish Kumar, District Magistrate, Pali Sri Jogaram, District Magistrate, Kota Ms. Arti Dogra, District Magistrate, Bikaner Sri Rohit Gupta, District Magistrate, Churu
Sri. Appasaheb Dhulaj, Additional Collector
PUNJAB Recommended by Department of Governance Reforms, Punjab
DELHI Recommended by Sri. Dharam Pal, Secretary (Revenue)
RAJASTHAN Recommended by Sri. C. K. Mathew, Chief Secretary, Rajasthan
Recommended by Sri. Ashish Upadhyay, SeMT, Directorate of Information Technology, Govt. of Maharashtra
Sri V Ponnuraj, (IAS), Commissioner, Survey Settlement and Land Records, K R Circle, Bangalore. Smt. Tulsi Maddineni, (IAS), Deputy Commissioner, Koppal District. Sri Sameer Shukla, (IAS), Deputy Commissioner, Dharwad District. Sri Darpan Jain, (IAS), Formerly Deputy Commissioner, Dharwad District. Presently, Managing Director, Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation, Mission Road, Bangalore. Sri Munish Moudgil, (IAS), Director-MGREGA, (Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department), Bangalore.
Recommended by Sri. S. V. Ranganath, Chief Secretary, Karnataka
NAGALAND Recommended by Sri. Alemtemshi Jamir, Chief Secretary, Nagaland
Recommended by Sri Shahid Ali Khan, Honorable Minister & Sri N K Sinha, Principal Secretary, Department of IT, Bihar
Sri Abhishek Singh, (IAS), District Magistrate, Mokochung District
Sri. Sanjay Kumar Agrawal, Managing Director, North Bihar, Power Distribution Company Limited. Sri. Balamurugan D, District Magistrate, Gaya Ms. Bandana Preyashi, Director, Integrated Child Development Services Dr. Pratima Satish Kumar, District Magistrate, Sitamarhi Sri Kumar Ravi, District Magistrate, Darbhanga
Sri. S.N Girish, Collector, Cuttack
Recommended by Ms. Mamata Khamari Cuttack, DIO, Odisha
gov champions District Magistrates & District Informatics Officers Furthering eGovernance to Grassroots
DISTRICT MAGISTRATE Engineering Watch | August 2013
District Infomatic Officer
gov champions District Magistrates & District Informatics Officers Furthering eGovernance to Grassroots
Bhupender Pathak, District Informatics Officer, NIC, Kangra Vinod Kumar, District Informatics Officer, NIC, Hamirpur Pankaj Gupta, District Informatics Officer, NIC, Shimla Ashish Sharma, District Informatics Officer, NIC, Chamba Akhilesh Bharti, District Informatics Officer, NIC, Mandi Sanjay Kumar, PSA Vijay Gupta, PSA Sandeep Sood, PSA Sandeep Kumar, SSA Prathvi Singh, Programmer Praveen Sharma, TA"B" Vinod Singla, Scientist "C"& DIO NIC, Kurukshetra Ramesh Gupta, Technical Director & DIO NIC, Yamunanagar M.P. Kulshreshtha, Technical Director & DIO NIC, Hisar M.B. Gupta, Scientist "D"& DIO NIC, Rohtak M Z R Badar, Technical Director & DIO, NIC, Jind Sandeep Jain, SSA / DIO- West Sampan Bakshi, SSA / Ex DIO-South West
Rajesh Bhusari, Tech. Director, DIO NIC Nanded (e-services) P.Borole, Tech.Director, DIO NIC Jalgaon, Ranvir Arun Mohanrao, Scientist-D & DIO Amravati K.Mariya Das, Sci-D DIO Sangli S.R.Tembhurne, Sci-D DIO Gadchiroli Chandrakant P.Mugali, Tech Director, DIO Kolhapur Sanjay C. Kotkar, Tech Director, DIO Nandurbar B.B.Hegde, District Informatics Officer, Sindhudurg A.Jugdar, Sci-B & DIO Ratnagiri Nitin Vishnu Choudhuri, Sci-C and DIO Akola Vasappanavara Giriachar, District Informatics Officer , Bagalkote Srikanth S. Joshi, District Informatics Officer , Karwar Meenakumari. M, District Informatics Officer, Dharwad P.A. Devaraj, District Informatics Officer, Mysore Manjunatha A., District Informatics Officer, Udupi
N. R Kulkarni, Senior Systems Analyst & DIO South Goa District S. Sivaraman, Systems Analyst & DIO North Goa District
HIMACHAL PRADESH Recommended by Saurabh Gupta, SIO, Himachal Pradesh
HARAYANA Recommended by Ghan Shyam Bansal, SIO, Haryana DELHI Recommended by Sanjay Kapoor, SIO, Delhi
MAHARASHTRA Recommended by Moiz Husain Ali, SIO, Maharashtra
Recommended by A. Venkatesan, SIO, Karnataka
GOA Recommended by JJR Anand, SIO, Goa
Mr. AISM Nizar, DIO, Kavarathi Jobson, PSA, Kochi Ahamed Shaheer, DIO, Minocoy
LAKSHADWEEP Recommended by P.K. Basheer Ahmed, SIO, Lakshadweep
ARUNACHAL PRADESH Recommended by Jyotish Roy, SIO, Arunachal Pradesh
Utpal Kumar Ghosh, DIO, NIC Upper Siang District Centre, Yingkiong Prem Khandu Thungon, DIO, NIC West Siang Dist. Centre, Bomdila Ajay Kumar Singh, DIO, Tirap District, Khonsa Milan Lego, DIO, Upper Subansiri, Daporijo W. Santi Singh, DIO, East Kameng, Seppa
Pinaki Acharya , District Informatics Officer, NIC Pradip Roy, District Informatics Officer, NIC Sujit Debnath, (DIA), NIC
C. Simon, DIO, saiha Raphael, DIO Kolasib L.Zadeng, DIO, Serchhip James Vanlalfakawma, DIO, Lawngtlai T.C.Lalnghakliana, DIO, Lunglei
Recommended by Chayan Dhar, SIO, Tripura
Recommended by Ms. Lallianmawii Hnamte, SIO, Mizoram
MANIPUR Recommended by Kh Rajen Singh, SIO, Manipur
MEGHALAYA Recommended by Timothy Dkhar, SIO, Meghalaya
ODISHA Recommended by SK Panda, SIO, Odisha
WEST BENGAL Recommended by K.K. Poddar, SIO, West Bengal
Th. Ianobi Singh, TD & DIO Imphal East District M. Nimai Singh, TD & DIO Imphal West District Md. Kayum Khan, SSA & DIO Thoubal District T. Shantikumar Singh, SSA & DIO Bishnupur District Th. Chitrasen Singh, PSA & DIO Ukhrul District
Harvest Synrem, DIO, East Khasi Hills District Aiban T Marwein, DIA,West Garo Hills ( Tura ) Elliber A Marak, DIO South Garo Hills District M.Sengre Norikra Sangma, DIO West Garo Hills District Aldrin Synrem, DIA West Khasi Hills District
Ajay Kumar Mohapatra, DIO-Keonjhar S. Chatterjee, DIO-Anugul Subash Chandra Mishra, DIO-Ganjam Sailabala Prusty, DIO- Koraput Mamata Khamari, Cuttack- DIO Biswajit Chakraborty, Scientist-'C', NIC, Paraganas District Centre Ashis Mukherjee, Scientist-'E', NIC-Maldah District Centre Kalipada Nayak, Scientist-'E', South 24 Paraganas District Centre S. Mazumder, Scientist-'E', Burdwan District Centre
DISTRICT INFOMATICS OFFICER
Desh Bhagat Engineering College D.A.V. Institute of Engineering & Technology Punjab Agricultural University Swami Parmanand Group of Colleges CT Institute of Engineering, Management & Technology Baba Farid Group of InstitutionsRayat Bahra Institute of Engineering and NanoTechnologyCareer Point Technical Campus MIT College of Engg & Management Himachal Institute of Engineering & Technology Shiva Institute Of Engineering & Technology
NGF College Of Engineering & Technology Apeejay Satya University ITM University
Bhagwan Parshuram Institute of Technology
Manipal University Jaipur Jagannath Gupta Institute of Engineering & Technology Arya Institute of Engineering & Technology Jaipur Engineering College and Research Center Gyan Vihar School of Engineering & Technology
G.S. Mandal's Marathwada Institute Of Technology
Shri Ram Institute of Technology
66 SAL Institute of Technology & Engineering Research
TKR College of Engineering & Technology Malla Reddy College of Engineering and Technology Vivekananda Institute of Technology & Science-N6 Gudlavalleru Engineering College Turbomachinery Institute of Technology and Sciences Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University Hyderabad V N R V J Institute of Engineering and Technology Srinivasa Ramanujan Institute of Technology Joginpally B. R. Engineering College Sagi Ramakrishnam Raju Engineering College Geethanjali Institute of Science & Technology Bomma Institute of Technology and Science Pace Institute of Technology & Sciences G.Pullaiah College of Engineering and Technology Aditya Engineering College Vijay Rural Engineering College R.V.R & J.C.College of Engineering Swarnandhra College of Engineering & Technology Vignan's Institute of Information Technology Krishna Chaitanya Institute of Technology & Sciences
MADHYA PRADESH GUJARAT
KLE Dr. M. S. Sheshgiri College of Engineering & Technology Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering
SCMS School of Engineering And Technology
Engineering Campuses ready to take on eGov Projects
Graphic Era University
Raj Kumar Goel Institute of Technology Goel Institute of Technology & Management SHOBHIT Institute of Engineering and Technology Kali Charan Nigam Institute of Technology Dr. M.C. Saxena College of Engineering and Technology Institute of Technology & Management Bharat Institute of Technology Krishna Institute of Engineering & Technology JSS Academy of Technical Education United College of Engineering and Research Vidya College of Engineering Himalayan Institute Of Technology & Management Radha Govind Engineering College ABES Institute of Technology Feroze Gandhi Institute of Engineering & Technology G L Bajaj Group of Institutions
Shankaracharya Technical Campus Rungta College of Engineering and Technology Rungta Engineering College College of Engineering & Technology Gandhi Institute For Technological Advancement Orissa Engineering College Synergy Institute of Engineering & Technology Gandhi Institute of Engineering & Technology RCC Institute of Information Technology MCKV Institute of Engineering Dr. B. C. Roy Engineering College
Sona College of Technology Excel Engineering College Paavai Engineering College
Engineering Watch | August 2013
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An excellent platform for bringing clarity about the concept, methods, implementation and the way forward.
Dr. Gajendra Singh, Professor and Additional Director Krishna Institute of Engg and Technology, Ghaziabad, U.P
Very conductive, knowledgeable and interactive. Sunil Kumar Malik, Manager Corporate Relations Graphic Era University
The event is very well organised.
Natarajan, V.Chairman Paavai
Effort for recognizing the contribution to eGovernance. Prof. S. Sancheti, President Manipal University, Jaipur
The overall organization was good. It was a good platform to bring academicians and government officials together to serve the common man. Harpreet Kaur, Assistant Professor Punjab Agricultural University
It was fabulous. I was awarded by esteemed personality about which I were thought. Apart from this, I appreciate this initiative taken by EngineeringWatch. Vivek Kaushal, System Administration
Himachal Institute of Engg. and Technology, Kangra, H.P
“ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ “ Excellent Programme
Prof. T. Kishen Kumar Reddy, OSD to Vice Chancellor JNTU, Hyderabad
One stage for all academic Institutions, govt. policy makers and Industrial persons
Amit Jain, Assistant Professor Vidya College of Engineering, Meerut, U.P
Good initiative by Engineering Watch
Prof. T.N Nagabhushan, Principal JSS Academy of Technology Education, Noida
Bringing institutions, DMs and DIOs together under one platform.
Bhupender Pathak, DIO, NIC
Industry, academia and government coming together to make on the cause of eGovernance and providing oppurtunity to private institutions to be a stakeholder.
Vikram Jain, Head Placements, Training and Corporate Relations Shri Ram Institute of Technology, M.P
Initiative taken for the implementation and sucess of eGov.
Biswajit Tripathy, Associate Professor and HOD(CS/IT) Synergy Institute of Engg and Technology, Odisha Engineering Watch | August 2013
Featured Interactions Varun Aggarwal
CTO & COO, Co-Founder, Aspiring Minds
Chairman & Business Head, Entab
Dr. Paresh Joshi
Director (Academic), Station e Language Labs
Dr. Rob de Brunye Managing Director, Bitzer
EduTECH Engaging Campuses with Educational Technology
I was really keen to come back to India and do something for India because it is today both a land of opportunity as well as a land of problems. May be 20 years back it was just a land of problems, but today a lot of us including you being a platform for looking at engineering community employability, I think the solutions can be found.
” Varun Aggarwal
CTO & COO, Co-Founder Aspiring Minds
hat pulled you in India after your masters in Computer Science from a prestigious institution like MIT? What pulled you back and choose the domain of employability and quantifying employability and doing something about it? I went to MIT in 2005, and if you look at 2005, the amount of discussion about India in New-England area in Cambridge Area was immense. When I went there, it was the same year when Mohd. Yunus got the Nobel Prize for micro-finance, India is a growing market and people were looking at India as a business opportunity and at that time it was hotting up. And at the same time a lot of us recognized that there were a lot of problems which India was struggling with. One of the groups which I founded at MIT was the MIT India Reading Group and that is how the idea of Aspiring Minds first came up. When I was at the MIT India Reading Group, I read this report done by NASSCOM and Mckinsey which said that only 25% of engineers are employable. When we read this report we said that, “How do you know that someone is employable or not? How do you quantify employability? And all these students who are coming of out of college, and if someone is really employable, how does he present his skills to companies?” There was a big signaling problem. So that’s how the idea came up. This report was the real trigger, because we said that there are all these students who should be aware as to ‘where I stand,
whether I am employable of not’ and secondly be able to give a signal to companies, so that the people who are employable, the companies can recognize them. So they said, Oh! We need a GRE or a SAT like test for employability. So, I was really keen to come back to India and do something for India because it is today both a land of opportunity as well as a land of problems. May be 20 years back it was just a land of problems, but today a lot of us including you being a platform for looking at engineering community employability, I think the solutions can be found. So with that hope I came back to India. You claim to ‘quantify employability’. What is really unique in your quantifying model through which you actually define employability and you tend to quantize it? See it starts with how you identify someone is employable or not. For that thing you first need a standardized assessment. So, if you look at the US, we have had the GRE, GMAT, SAT for a very long time. All of these are based on something called ITEM RESPONSE THEORY (IRT) which is a psychometric assessment technology. All of them are pretty much adaptive. But if you look at India, it was only two years back or three years back when CAT started using IRT. They are still not adaptive. So, the first thing is that you have to be able to measure employability and say that whether someone is employable or not you need to have a good assessment and that was first thing which we went after, that how to build good standardized assessments to measure employability which are adaptive and based on IRT. Given that I had a background in Statistical Pattern Recognition; that was very helpful in building a product which can assess the employability of people. The one thing which we did very differently from how NASSCOM and McKinsey was that...you cannot just say that employability is 25%. Employability for which job: For a software job or an analyst job or for a CallCenter job, because employability will change. Even if you look at a software job, the requirements are very different at a services company and at a product company. A services company, if you look at a Infosys, or a TCS, put people to 4 months of training. So, they are just looking for the people who can be just successful in that training and then be productive. Whereas if you look at a Microsoft or a Cisco or a Adobe, their requirements are very different. So, employability for these various companies is very different. For example, in National Employability Report for Engineers, we see in the IT services the employability is 17%, if you look at IT Products, it is around 3.2%. So, IT Product employability is much lesser. You can’t have a blanket figure. You have to see
for different job profiles. Once you have standardized assessment, then you see the wrought components of this assessment are important for different jobs and actually statistically verify that with the companies. So, that’s what we do. We have built a standardized assessment product and we are basically taking it to different companies, applying them on the current employers to understand what the benchmarks on this assessment are to define employability. So that is what quantification of employability is. Quantification of employability can happen at many levels. One is at the student level. Student gets to know how employable he is. Think of some student in a small town, he doesn’t even know that whether he is employable or not and if he is not employable, why is he not employable. So, first is quantifying employability for the student. Then comes quantifying employability for the college. Does the college know how employable its students are? And if they are not employable, is it because they don’t know English, or they don’t know domain skills…Where is the gap? So, we give reports to colleges as to where does their college stand in comparison to all the colleges in the country and all the colleges in state. How do different people in different branches stand, so that is quantifying at a college level. Then you quantify at a state level, and then you quantify at a national level. From the individual, going to the college, then state and the national level and then seeing it year on year whether it is increasing or is it becoming worse, and what interventions are needed.
What kind of key challenges you are facing because a framework of this kind probably required a continual intervention, or a National level intervention. So being a private company, what are the key challenges are you finding in terms of penetration, and recognition of your standardized tests? We faced a lot of challenges in the beginning. We did not have a lot of companies supporting the initiative just because it takes time. Now we are working with some 350 plus companies which include 7 of the top 10 IT companies, which gives a lot of credibility to the tests. For example Infosys uses it, Sapient uses it, HCL uses it. So there are a lot of companies which are using the test which has brought in credibility for the test. Having said that, there are still challenges, challenges are always there. One challenge which we always face is that people want short cuts. People say that, “why are you doing this test? Just tell us how many people will get jobs.” Now both you and I know that there are limited numbers of jobs and everyone can’t get a job. So taking them from a place where Engineering Watch | August 2013
they demand a short cut solution get jobs, saying them that first do assessments, understand where the gaps are, try to improve them and that will attract more and more companies to come and hire from your college. So that has been a challenge, because you have to educate people. If you see two years back or three years back, people used to understand in ‘training as a product’. Now with three or four years of work, we have been able to make people understand ‘assessment as a product’. But still, everyone doesn’t understand ‘assessment as a product’. Last year we went a step further and said that, “If you are doing assessment in final year, you have already lost the game!” There are only six months, if the student doesn’t know English, you can’t teach him English in six months. If he doesn’t know English…all the curriculum is in English, what have you taught him in the 4 years? So what we are telling colleges more and more is that you have to start assessment from first year. If someone doesn’t know English, basic Math; we do this report on Learning Levels of Quantitative Ability, 40-50% engineers do not know how to multiply two decimal numbers. Now if they don’t know that how can they understand 4 years of engineering curriculum? So assessments have to start early on and intervention has to start early on. So these are some of the biggest challenges to explain to people why assessments are important. Short-cuts will not work, if you have only 10% people employable in your college, we can connect them to companies. But for rest of the 90%, short-cuts will not work. So, you have to do year-long assessments and improve yourself. So, understanding the value of assessments for the management is one challenge. What buying-in has come with the academic regulators, be it the AICTE, or be it the State Technical Universities about this entire process of assessment? Is it quite different from the university level examination? They understand that it is a different space. We are into employability testing. They are testing what the college is teaching in the curriculum. For example, they do not test English. English is today, fortunately or unfortunately, very important for all jobs. So there is a clear differentiation, I think. We have started working with a lot of universities, we are working with Delhi University, we are working with Mumbai university, Udaipur University, Kolkata University, so a lot of universities have shown good interest in assessments. We have to go and talk more to AICTE and we have not talked to government regulators as much in the engineering space. That is something Engineering Watch would like to do.
Do you somewhere feel after your research that a correlation exist between what is taught in the classrooms specially in the engineering colleges and what can be assessed using the frameworks or the IRT theory which you have developed? Oh absolutely! I think there is a big correlation. For example I will tell you, one of the big challenges today is that large companies are not hiring as many students. So what do you do, you look at small companies. But small companies will only hire if you know English and you know logical and quantitative ability, they will need you to know computer programming, to know software development. Our report puts a figure between 3-4% of the employability for the SMEs. SME employment is less, I will tell you why. The IT services companies are saying that we will train ourselves for 3 to 4 months. They have a cash reserve, they say, “Just give me trainable students.” SMEs are saying, “Boss, I want to put him in, he should be productive in three weeks.” These figures are alarming and this is what the colleges are expected to teach. SMEs don’t want you to know some great software development, but you must know basic programming, you must know to write 20 lines of code. But they cannot write it and this is what exactly the college has to teach. This leads to inefficiency in the whole market because SMEs are not able to hire and college students are not getting jobs. So what I have been going and telling the colleges is to concentrate on the domain. Large companies will be able to provide jobs to as many people, the others will get jobs only if they know the domain. We launched a new product in this line which we call AUTOMATA. AUTOMATA is a simulated programming assessment. What happens is that a person writes a program, the problem in a simulated environment, and the good thing is that he can get feedback. How good is the program, how close it is to the correct solution, if it is incorrect, it can give him direction how to correct it. So we are telling colleges to start using it in the third year, so that the students can improve their programming skills. Now, the same goes for Mechanical. There I think the colleges have a huge role to play. We have modules in all these domain skills and we say colleges that you should train students in their domains. So have you somewhere come up with certain frameworks where college semester examinations can be coupled with these kinds of assessments semester-on-semester so that large number of progressive colleges which might be open to opt for such frameworks? Do you have a framework ready or are you in the process?
We have a framework. We call it the four year assessment model for seeing what the person needs from the point of view of employability. In first year, you should definitely do a test in English, quantitative ability and computer fundamentals. If you don’t know basic computer operation, then it is very hard in today’s competitive world. Even if you are a mechanical engineer, you need to know how to use the internet, you need to know how to use a word or excel. Now these things should first of all be repeated in the second year. Because in the first year you will see that there are some gaps, the next year you have to see whether those gaps were filled or not. Then in the second year you start looking at spoken English as well. We have a product called SVAR which is for spoken English. So we are saying that in second year, start using spoken English in addition to written English. Third year onwards, you should start concentrating on domain skills now. We have Mechanical Engineering modules for Mechanical Engineer, Computer programming module for Computer Engineer, we have also introduced the Computer Science module which looks at algorithms, OS and DBMS and things like that. Third year you touch domain and fourth year you again touch domain. And in fourth year we have introduced a Business English Component, so how do you speak sophisticated English. So, in all the 4 years the idea is that you need to ensure that you have the prerequisite learning what is there in the college and you should get time to improve your all skills. So, that is how the model has been developed.
population’. If we want to continue to reap that benefit, we need to have a significant percentage of skilled people. I think, we need more and more skilled people. That is the most important thing. There are a lot of young people, but how many of them are skilled. If very few of them will be skilled we will stop reaping the benefit of the Demographic Dividend. We have been talking to some people in the Middle East and there the biggest problem is that the young people are not skilled and the people are coming and saying that we want jobs. The advantage of a young population is that they can drive growth but if they are not skilled, they can become a problem. That’s what we are trying to quantify and say. We do this National Employability Report for Engineers, till last year we were saying that these many people are employable. This year we will also talk about how many of them want jobs and how many jobs are employable. So, we link the whole ecosystem. The vision of quantifying employability in India’s Demographic Dividend, is that right now, look at the engineers, we are saying that we have 8,00,000 engineers (the number keeps fluctuating) out of which 17% are employable. Where we want to be, is that we don’t want to create more engineers. We have enough number of engineers, but we want 70-80% employable. That is what I think is quantifying India’s Demographic Dividend cross not only graduates, but people in vocational domain as well. This ratio is the most important thing that what percentage of people are employable and ready for jobs. As a nation we should be tracking this.
How many colleges have signed up for this 4 year framework? We started last year and we already have 20 plus colleges who have signed in. We think that is a very positive number. Otherwise we are working with some 700 colleges but people have already started coming up and saying that this is interesting. So last year was the year of launch and this year we are looking at taking it to 50-60 plus.
For that to happen, don’t you think the assistance of the existing institutional academic system of this country would come to help or are you doing it entirely on your own, sending your feet on the ground? Yes we work closely with academic institutions but yes we are basically a private organization, so we are open to collaborating. We have been talking to some people internationally where they have interest in the government to do things. But in India you know that we are Indians, we understand the market, so we think we can go and do things on the ground. But, of course doing things with the government or doing things with more public organizations is definitely an opportunity.
You have also been talking about quantizing India’s Demographic Dividend. This has been more of a political currency so far. Enabled by the entire concept of quantizing everything, what do yo u m e a n by q u a n t i f i c a t i o n o f I n d i a’ s Demographic Dividend? How are you correlating with India’s GDP growth and macro-economic indicators which are being uttered day in and day out? Everyone is talking about the Demographic Dividend and India in the last 15 years has reaped the benefit of Demographic Dividend, i.e., ‘having all this young
What sample space are you looking for this quantification? See we have a good stratified sample. Even 10-20% is good. We are already covering 20% of the engineering market. Graduate is much lesser, but graduate is a very huge market so that is a way more Engineering Watch | August 2013
challenging space. But to your question, yes, it is hard to cover a space so large. And of course support from public institutions will be great.
We would also like to know about your Talent Search Program which you have recently launched. What is it all about? Talent Search is so far towards corporates or c o m p a n i e s . T h i n k o f Ta l e n t S e a rc h a s a newmonster.com or newnaukri.com, it is a job portal, which is a very different job portal in the sense that it’s also an assessment course. So the only job portal in the world with an assessment course. You don’t only search people on their resume which you do on any traditional job portal but you also search people on their assessment skills. That’s why I can say that we have made it very simple. So, what you do is, you go on this portal and you say that I want a software engineer in this region and it could automatically search the cutoffs on different modules. So, if you need a software engineer at this kind of a salary, the English cutoff should be this, the computer programming should be more than this, the numerical aptitude should be more than this; and then you search that and you get these people and you invite them for an interview, and you can have a very high conversion rate. The problem with all these job portals is that in freshers, the entire resume looks the same. So you go, you shortlist, you invite 100 people and you are able to hire 1 and that’s why you don’t want to hire freshers saying that, “who will take the trouble of sifting through all these people”. What we are saying is we have made it very easy for you. In a region we already have 1 million people tested, in your region we will say that these are the people who fit your job, just call them for an interview, you will be able to hire 3 or 4 out of 10. That’s the kind of convenience we are creating. Already 300 plus companies are using our services and they all are very interested now in using Talent Search where they are able to shortlist and hire themselves. My argument is that because of this reason small companies specially do not even hire freshers. So companies which are not hiring freshers can start hiring freshers if they get this kind of convenience. That is where the larger thing starts. It’s not only an efficiency argument; the argument is that there will be more freshers hired in the market. NSDC has come up with a National Vocational Educational Qualification Framework whereby they have quantized & flagged at different levels the kind of competencies for various job roles. So how closely your assessment frameworks are linked up to the NVEQF?
If you look at the NSDC framework, it’s more in the vocational space while we are operating more in the knowledge based space. So the intersection is very little right now. They are looking at security guards, they are looking at Health-Care Professionals; they are looking at a lot of things we have not looked at right now. So, we have some intersection like IT. Otherwise there is a lot of distinct spaces there and where there is an intersection we closely match with them. The one thing that we have different is that we have been able to quantify it in numbers. The competencies which they have signaled out, we have been able to quantify the same. So, we would love to talk to them, we think that they are very progressive organization. We are seeing how we can work more closely with them. You have been also talking about the personality development of the faculty members, which has been one of the lost out chains in the entire deliberation like, at one extreme there are students and at the other extreme there are corporates. The faculty somewhere gets lost. So, what all are you doing for the faculty members as such? Let me be honest, we are not doing much for the faculty members and we will be very happy if we are in a position to do anything for the faculty members because my final understanding is, and I have made this argument many times that “Teaching is as good as the teachers”. You do anything… you can make big buildings, and put all kinds of infrastructures; if teacher is not good, good teaching will not happen. Unfortunately in recent years, the quality of teachers in engineering colleges has fallen down. And it’s a nation-wide phenomenon. 20 years back teaching was a much more respectable career; today it is not that respectable. So that has to change. In our assessment system we are working with some international experts to develop teaching aptitude assessments, to be able to find out that who is a teacher. People always look at tests, like they complain that we are being tested, but, test is a feedback mechanism. It should be seen as a feedback mechanism where we can tell teachers where they are wrong, and that, “this is what you are doing right and this is where you can improve”. That is the length we are looking at. I will say that we can only make a small contribution; this is a much larger problem. Can you site from your wide experience some case study from other countries, where teachers are actually assessed and their promotions, appraisals and other things are taken care of through such a standardized process?
Best case is the US for example. ETS has a product called Praxis and it is mandated in many states of US. Teachers have to take this assessment. So, is Teacher Assessments not ubiquitous? If I am right it is not, but a lot of States have accepted Praxis as a mechanism. See teacher assessment is not very easy. We have to also see that in India teacher is ‘Guru’. I think that I prefer not to say that you are distinguished, it’s more a developmental thing where you will get feedback based on the assessment. Other countries have done it. US has done it on a very wide scale that teachers are being assessed. So, you know, we cannot just pick it up and put in India; you have to see that how we incorporate it in our socio-economic cultures, and how we do it with a positive spirit. You also have a program called ‘Talent Prism’. The recent Project Prism of the United States of America has landed up in a global controversy for different reasons. What is this Talent Prism all about? See the whole idea of Talent Prism is, having said earlier that there has not a lot been done in India in assessments and not done in quantifying the recruitment processes. So, in Talent Prism, the main aim is, it is an educational platform for corporates to understand how assessments can help them. So it’s basically a newsletter which comes out every month. It goes to some 12000 corporate HRs. It tries to highlight the best practices in using assessments for variety of purposes. Be it recruitment, be it talent development, or be it promotions so on and so forth and what kinds of assessments work for different industry sectors. For example, there is so much confusion on ‘what personality assessments’ to use or whether to use personality assessments or not. Half of the world uses NBTI. Fortunately anyone who has read or studied psychometrically and academically would know that there are a lot of problems with NBTI, but because it is so publicized that we all start using NBTI. So, there is a lot of need of education on the industries that where there is a scientific evidence of assessments that you have worked. So, if you look at it scientifically in assessments, in personality assessments, it’s is the verified model which has been scientifically validated. So, the aim of Talent Prism is to be able to engage the industry to know and assess the various assessment frameworks to use. There are various models which are successful with scientific evidence. Now that also they become very important for the students, because if the wrong assessment is used, not only the wrong student would get hired but also the right student would get rejected. So, that’s the purpose of Talent Prism to basically educate the
corporate world into using the right frameworks of assessment. Aspiring Minds seems to be having very serious products which requires a kind of immense credibility in terms of the research part of it, specially in terms of the frameworks which you are using. So, we would like to know more about the R&D power, the grey matter behind developing these assessments, these programs. What is the brain behind Aspiring Minds’ various products? I think what Aspiring Minds has done very well is that it has brought two fields very close. One is our educational psychology and the other is Computer Science. The real innovation that we have done is that we have grouped both these together. For example, we have international experts like Prof. Steve Stumler who is a psychometrician at Wesley University, and we work with some other psychometricians as well who bring the psychometric side. I personally have experience in the Computer Science area and Artificial Intelligence. Today, our product development team is around 40 people, which has a R&D team of around 10 people, and then a software development of another 20 people then content team of another 10 people. Our R&D team is pretty world class. All these people can get admissions in the top 10 Computer Science programs in the world. We have people from IITs and NITs who are extremely smart. You know, for example our Spoken English Product. It is a product which automatically evaluates the pronunciations, fluency so on and so forth. We are developing AUTOMATA, which is a product to automatically evaluate a computer program. It’s an unsolved problem in literature, you know, we have preliminary talks with MIT to co-build it up. So, I think there are very few computer scientists, able computer scientists who have taken up assessments as career. That’s what we have done. We have plugged in the education psychology plug, and the other thing is that we have tried not to take shortcuts. We work, we get empirical evidence, we work closely with companies and we have quantified everything. So, it is not that you know, I have got this fancy product which looks very good, there are a lot of dynamics, use it; we actually work and show those companies that if they work with us they can improve the quality.
What percentage of products are derived products from the western world where these things have been for a long time? What percentage are your uniquely developed ones? Engineering Watch | August 2013
The ratio currently would be 60:40, and we are looking at a lot of new products and technology. I will be able to talk more about it in the next six months because I have been working on some things which would be really new and internationally new in their respect and I think it is the need of the hour. So, the other things that have happened internationally is the MOOCs, the Massive Open Online Courses, like Coursera & Udacity; that has again spurred innovation in assessments and that is of foreign interest to us as well. There will be more and more new products which will be coming from our end which are not derivations from what exists in the west but are real innovations. In fact last year and this year we have filed 5 plus patents on different things. Over the next one year again we would have 10 more patents filed. So, there is a lot of new technological work going.
Engineering Watch recently interviewed Prof. Sanjay Sarma when he took over as the Director of Digital Learning at MIT. He mentioned a very interesting aspect that the higher level of cognitive learning and development has been very much ingrained in the Indian culture, in the Indian tradition of learning. Are you somewhere meandering in that space as well taking cue from the Indian Pedagogy? The Indian psychometric and the psychological spaces, like, is it somewhere in your radar? It’s good you mentioned Sanjay, I just met him one month back when I was just there in MIT and we had a very fruitful conversation. I think there is a lot of need for that and already we are trying to develop frameworks around keeping the Indian sensitivities in mind. It starts from very simple things, if you look at personality, how we treat elders versus how they treat their elders is very different; the benchmarks are different, what is politeness is very different. We did a study and showed that if you use a foreign personality inventory in India, it doesn’t work here. We are currently working on a paper, a technical paper which will probably go out towards the end of this year which shows that how the cross-cultural personality differences should be measured in a different way. So we are moving in that direction. I think this was the first study which was sent on ground to quantitatively say that you have to do things differently. I was there meeting some of the assessment organizations in the US and they were saying the same thing. They were saying that there is hardly any cross-cultural data on India. All the assessment studies, all the learning studies have been done in the US. I mean, forget about data, they don’t even know whether it is different or not. We know it
intuitively that it is different. So the starting point will be to start understanding that. We are just so far from what is happening in the West. But we are ready about seeing that what is different in India and we have been able to quantify it and build models which work for India. Moving from these technical aspects of employability we would like to know more about your co-curricular interests like ‘Cure’, which you co-founded to fight ragging in the Indian campuses - we still have some instances of it. What was the instigation towards it and how it has moved forward? Cure started long back in 2001 when I was in the second year of my engineering. I faced some ragging not the brutal ragging, but when I was in college, we heard a lot of it. It was a very different time, lot of ragging use to take place. It was brutal, it was sexual and it was physical in nature; but today if you open the newspaper, newspapers talk against ragging. If you go back to 2001, no one was talking against ragging. If you would publically say that I am opposing ragging, people used to say, “Oh! You have gone mad; this is something which happens, should happen”. That was the instigation. Me and my another friend Mohit who was at IIT Bombay started CURE and we just said that lets start documenting what is happening around the country and just start talking to the people that this needs to be taken seriously. Then we started taking out newsletters which was circulated to students and faculty members. Harsh- another person joined us, Harsh Aggarwal, who was himself a lot in media because he was at the Motilal Nehru College and had to quit due to ragging. He joined us and I think the big break for CURE came when we started doing annual reports and reporting the number of ragging incidents that were taking place. Earlier whenever you would, you would be in a debate sitting with the media and there would be one ragging case, media will take up the issue, they will take up three stakeholders, and the stakeholders would say, “No, no! Isolated incident! It doesn’t happen much. This has happened just in this case and you people are extrapolating it”. Once we started taking out the reports, they could not say that longer. Moving from one extreme where ragging was so abstruse and so criminal in nature, like it has been almost than a decade back when the Supreme Court and regulatory authorities have nailed it in completely. But on the other side another extreme phenomenon has arrived where the peer learning and the learning
between the juniors and the seniors has almost taken a back seat. Something is very important for the courses like engineering and all. See, my take on that is, you know, I had great relationships with my seniors who never ragged me. I have created relationships with my juniors whom I never ragged and we have cross-learnt a lot. In the Western Universities, there is hazing but hazing is only limited to the fraternities. In general colleges there is no ragging or hazing and there is a law of course there. So, no one is saying that the learning should stop, the learning should continue to happen, but in India somehow it is funny that you are expected to call your seniors as Sir. You would not call your faculty member at his back as ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ but you would call you seniors ‘sir’. That, I think is not required. So, interaction should still go on and I agree that whenever a hard structure is put people get afraid and other interactions also stop. I think the balance has been struck at. You know, still ragging is prevalent, and the worst ragging happens in the hostels. It doesn’t happen what we see in colleges, you know, someone giving someone a flower or asking someone a flower is fine and fair enough, but that is what dilutes the ragging-debate. Whenever you start saying that ‘ragging should stop’, people will start taking these examples and say that “why do you want to stop this”? No one wants to stop that, “see what is really going on”. When Harsh quit Motilal Nehru College, someone had tried to burn his private parts. That is what was going on and that is what people are speaking against. So, I think you should put a top-down stoppage on it and the balance will come back. I will tell you what IIT Bombay used to do. IIT Bombay used to say that, “When the student is in first year, you will not meet him privately. Ok, you meet publically, no one is stopping you. You shouldn’t be in his room in the hostel; that is what we are stopping. You can be in his room if there are other people around”. So, you can do things like that. There is one very interesting aspect in your CV which I read at the starting of this interaction that you won an AWA award for your article on “Bose’s Contribution for the invention of Radio”. Now for a long time, in our general knowledge studies we had been studying that Radio wireless was invented by Marconi. So we would like to know more about this. See, what we know and what IEEE has accepted in the end of 90s is that the device which Marconi used to receive the radio signal in the first trans-Atlantic experiment. Marconi did this experiment cross Atlantic where they could receive the radio signal, that is what made Marconi the inventor of wireless.
We know that the device which he used was actually invented by Bose and this device was a center of storm at even that time. So, even at that time there was a two year of debate on who invented this device and Marconi kept giving N number of answers. I can tell you what that device was, that device was: you take a tube, you put mercury in it, and then you dip a metal into it, that forms the device and that is what Marconi used and today we know that Bose had invented it. In fact, Marconi’s company had approached Bose for that device and Bose had refused and he wrote a letter to Rabindra Nath Tagore that you know, “this guy can next collaborate and we can make a lot of money, but I am a scientist. I don’t care about making money.” So, we know that Bose made that device. So Bose’s contribution to the invention of radio is immense. I don’t say today that Marconi didn’t invent that radio and Bose did; I said Marconi and Bose invented radio. But the biggest irony of this nation is that we ourselves teach everyone that Marconi has invented the radio. Even if you pick today’s NCERT book, it will say Marconi invented Radio. So that needs to be changed. Why I wrote this article was, I tried to explain it in layman terms as to what has really happened at that point of time. The most interesting thing is that I have continued to work on a part of this device with a friend and we have recently linked that research with another device which was called MYMBESTERS and the entire research came out last week, it has been covered by IEEE Spectrum and which says, you know, there was this scientist who said that Bose was 60 years ahead; with our new findings we can now say that Bose is 100 years ahead you know, because he had an insight with ‘mymbesters’ that no one else had. So, I think it’s amazing. When I meet many students they say that in India we don’t have equipment and we don’t have infrastructure, that’s why we can’t do research. Just see Bose’s work, it was so phenomenal. He sat at Presidency College in Bengal and did it all. I mean, it’s amazing. He was a HERO. I don’t know how many engineering students know about this but it’s amazing. Beyond, I mean, in the invention of radio, his contribution is just one thing. I think if NCERT and AICTE take his inputs, lot more students will know about Bose and they will be inspired to know more about Bose. His body of work is phenomenal.
www.engineeringwatch.in/varunaggarwal Engineering Watch | August 2013
For us client retention is most important. We have always wished they come back, only then will the customers understand what is better. So, from a ‘come back point of view’, we are far ahead of others in every aspect.
” Shaji Thomas
Chairman & Business Head Entab
e would like to know how you unfolded from a Teacher-to-a Marketeer and then to a Fo u n d e r o f a n E d u c a t i o n a l Technology Company? I have been associated to the education sector for last 24 years. So, we know institutions and vice versa. Initially we provided only training related solutions to educational institutions, but now also entertain automation based queries. And for that we came up with the idea of system automation in schools, which is now moving towards higher education sector. So, currently most of the major institutions, especially the top schools are happy with the provided systems and solutions. Over a span of 13 years, we have reached across 20,000 Indian institutions. In your mission statement you have a very interesting thought ‘Deliver Beyond Expectations’. How does your product “Campus Care” deliver beyond expectations? See, there are different secrets in our working methodology which other companies cannot adopt or is difficult to adopt but for us this is our flagship product or solution we can say. We give 100% attention to this product, unlike other companies. Big organizations are unable to do it because it’s a challenging process for them. Management is involved in each and every project. We are acquainted with the expectations and requirements of institutions. We try to meet their expectations through different level of deliverables, support and post implementation support. In most of the projects what happens is, companies deliver and go back, the customer makes calls which do not get entertained. We have a feedback
system. So, we engage with customer, enquire about their usage and expectations from the system. Your product has been endorsed by over 800 institutions so far and you have been giving a specific emphasis on business ethics. Based on the ethical value system, would you like to share what you are propounding and how have you succeeded to build such a magnificent client base? We definitely have a strong client base. Those who have taken our system, they love our customization; they also tried other softwares, but come back to us. For us client retention is most important. We have always wished they come back, only then will the customers understand what is better. So, from a ‘come back point of view’, we are far ahead of others in every aspect. Our interest is almost 95% above others, almost no customer has left us. Few institutions left in two or three weeks, but not because of our software programs, it’s the incapability of a customer to use our software. That is the actual scenario in this industry, as far as we are concerned. You must have witnessed the transformation of the outlook of the school managements through technological solutions. Educate us briefly, as to how this outlook towards technology as a whole has been changing all through? As far as any educational ERP is concerned, there are three different aspects. First is K-12, Second is Higher Education and Third is Vocational Institutions. Firstly we are catering to the K-12, and which is making our fundamentals stronger. Over the years, schools having failures have come to us. So, they come, understand our system, go through the software and are guided in a better way. We are not just a Solution Provider or Service Provider, but are Consultant for the customers. The institution should be able to convey to us about what they are really looking for. The organization flow, in most of the cases, is lagging. In such a situation, we provide consultation to them. We advise them, but still some are reluctant to change their system, they face difficulty to change over. We take care of that the ‘changing over process’ is very comfortable for them. Having such vast experience in the ERP implementation in education institutions, can ERP be marketed more as an ‘off-the-shelf’ kind of a product or is it more of an experience in an institution where the process of re-engineering is going through? We are interested in ‘off-the-shelf’, but situations are reverse. Every institution is functionally weak. We are trying to maximize standardized systems in every institution, like CBSE Board introduced a new examination system, i.e. standardization in the exam process. Otherwise, all institutions have their own examination methodology, different transcripts, and report cards. So because of the CCE some standard discussion happens in the CBSE Board. Similarly, every board is adopting this standardization process. In some cases, institutions fail to achieve coordination; specially in the fee collection methodology. So, when customization will come, only then, in the Indian scenario, will the customer accept it. Here we provide
the fine-tuning which is required by the institution, be it a School, or College or a University. If fine-tuning is not there, there are off-the-shelf sales. Sometimes, multinational companies are unable to cope with the Indian scenario because of un-customized plans. Customization is needed for future programs. After having served the Indian clients for so many years, you now projecting yourself as a global brand and moving forward. How are you envisioning your entry into the foreign markets and how are you competing with the best products in this domain? Yes we have a solution which is already catering to the needs of Middle-East countries and African Countries. The Indian Scenario has similar functionality conditions. We have not approached American or European countries clients so far, because the product is established more for the Indian scenario. We have a big market here, as well as in African countries and the Middle East countries. Even if our product goes out in other European countries, it is fit for the competition. What’s next from the stable of Entab? What is your vision for the next 5-10 years? We are already well established in the K-12 market. Higher education is steering up because of the trend seen in 2002 but the trend we are witnessing in 201213 is totally different. Initially there wasn’t any automation process in the higher education sector. Most of the education institutions were managed by government indirectly. For the past 20 years, we have seen more and more private players entering the education spectrum through university setup with youth power ruling the chair. They need an automation process. So, there is a tremendous market exploration opportunity for us in the higher education sector, especially universities, professional colleges and the vocational institutions. We have a fine-tuned product for that category also. So considering the Indian scenario and catering to the old education system, we are stretching and expanding our care to the higher level.
What are the key challenges of technological implementation in educational institutions in your view? Firstly, we see reluctance in the management and usage, because people don’t want changes. Change is difficult for them. The second problem area we have seen is the knowledge level of the users. The users know that the resources are limited sometimes which create problems. The third problem observed is the lack of a good advisor for the management people to bring solutions for the institutions. Due to these three basic reasons, we are also facing difficulties in implementing a good system. If we could get a good administrator or advisor for the institution or a single person from an institution to interact with us, then implementation and execution can be improved.
www.engineeringwatch.in/shajithomas Engineering Watch | August 2013
f there is no English language and you don’t have access to knowledge, can you afford to do that? With due respect I say mother tongue is the best medium to learn. But then you have to l o o k a t t h e g l o b a l dynamics. You are no longer the regional individual, you are a global man.
” Dr. Paresh Joshi
Director [Academic] Station e Language Labs
e are aware of about 4,500 engineering colleges producing approximately 14 lakh engineers but according to the reports by NASSCOM only 25% of them are employable which means that 75% are unemployable reasons being lack of technical skills, lack of personality, lack of soft skills, etc. There are various initiatives undertaken by the government through National Skill Development Council and other government agencies to improve their skills. The idea is to make maximum out of this demographic dividend that India has got. One such initiative undertaken by private sector focuses on a very important aspect of personality- English speaking or English communication. English has today become synonymous with Knowledge, the reason being that it’s the medium for communication majorly business communication. Students from both the rural and urban engineering colleges are facing some serious problems, so today; we have with us Dr. Paresh Joshi from Station e Language Labs. I must mention here that Station e calls itself a language laboratory which I find very interesting and in today’s interview we will try and find out from Dr. Joshi, how he views this problem, What he thinks are the reasons, what all remedial measures can be taken, how does he see station e implementing the remedies and where does he see station e in the whole scenario. With more than a million engineering students unemployed according to AICTE , unemployability is a huge issue. What do you think are the factors
responsible for this huge gap in the students passing out and the unemployability still prevalent? This is something realized by everyone collectively. We have millions of engineers coming out of engineering colleges facing one single problem and that is unemployability. We do not focus on communicative English alone, we are skill solutions provider. We primarily focus on communication skills because it tops the aspiration list. Now, coming to your question, one single reason why we face employability crisis is because if you look at the entire education curve, the popular perception is that the moment a student appears in an examination and gets his degree, the learning/education process ends there that’s not how it should be. This is probably one reason why employability is one of the issues with engineering in particular and higher education in general. I think we need a paradigm shift here, they will have to stretch their end point from just getting the degree to employability. Institutions will have to look at employability as one target with which they educate their engineers. Now the solution that I would suggest is that these engineering colleges should create Skills Development Facility. The concept we follow at station e is that we create a Skills Development Centre from evolved digital language where skills like communication proficiency in English, critical thinking, problem solving, time management, interview skills, etc are developed, because it is possibly because of one of these reasons why they fail to get recruitment. Failing or excelling in an interview is a skill, so I suggest all engineering colleges establish skills development centers. I can recall one interview with the founder of Indiamart – Mr. Dinesh Agarwal, and he said-‘there is a debate with what students lack- Is it the soft skills or Is it the hard content which they don’t have and they can’t deliver because of the lack of confidence, because they don’t have those skills and we are working probably towards the softer skills’. Here in this discussion you had suggested that English is important as a language which should be taught because there are many students who run through the four years of engineering without even understanding the classes because they don’t understand what they listen. They carry huge books which they are unable to read but are too shy to put this out in the open. They just pass the examination. So I want to put your focus on this because you have an experience in the skill development and understand this skill gap, so how can we pinpoint on the issue? Where is the problem? Well, your question itself has answered it. We’ve been following some traditional learning methods, we’ve
been educating our aspiring engineers with conventional methodologies. If I discuss the solution, the one skill that you are willing to discuss or rather asking me to single out is English Communication because that is probably one big issue and English communication is a big problem. Large number of students who get into engineering come from vernacular medium school having studied English as a compulsory language. If you try to understand the psychology and attitude of science stream students, most of the science stream students treat English as an extra subject. They consider physics, biology and mathematics as main subjects contributing to their merits and hence ignore English and are happy getting passing marks. If you look at India both undergraduation and post-graduation use English as the medium of instruction and that is where the problem arises. Not having studied English well in school and disregarding it as an outside stream subject causes the problem. Here, I would also blame the teachers and principals for not motivating students, probably the entire system of which I am also a part. We–the teachers are responsible, even parents for that matter. So, if you want to solve the English language crisis, you will have to look at this group-The vernacular students and change their mindset, they should recognize the potential of this English language, coz it is the language of access and opportunity. Once that happens a part of the problem is solved. Let’s just review communication skills syllabus in the first few semesters of engineering and the conventional teaching that happens. So, if you want to resolve this language crisis in engineering, incorporation of technology enabled teaching, implementation of ICT, novel teaching methodologies like active learning need to be focused upon. When we talk about language, we talk about all the four skillsReading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. But when you talk of an interview, you talk about presenting yourself, your personality and ability to communicate makes alot of difference. What does station e is offer and how do you think that would solve the problem or make an attempt to solve it to some extent?
Station e language laboratory is an embodiment of three unique features. First is Technological Integration, we have integrated world’s best technology for teaching. We have Audio-Visual Interactivity in our theatre, so when I say technological integration it is an Audio-Visual Theatre with rustic features, worlds’ best technology for enhancing the learning experience with audio-visual support. Second being Teaching Methodologies. We don’t believe in Theorizing. Every session is a Workshop. The Fundamental, Methodological Structure that we follow
Engineering Watch | August 2013
is Activity Based Teaching, so we teach through Activities. If anyone wants to learn communication, one cannot sit on a chair and learn, you’ll have to stand up and talk. Our teaching methodology is unique coz our modules are customized for a specific need, so we are vertically integrated. We speak of Micro and the Macro of the syllabus plan so it is very meticulously designed. We keep in touch with the current trends of language teaching and make sure that the course that we design is our own and we get copyrights on that. All the audiovisuals we use are our own, we have studios to develop the content. We take researched approach and design content in a way that parallels international standards. Third is our Ability to Customize. We customize training programs according to the client’s requirement. Let’s say Indian Army or Police Department is in a clientele, and I deliberate a minute on our customization. When we talk of English communicative, we need audiovisuals so the communicative English that we design for Soldiers will have the audio-visuals from the Army domain having a direct connection. We live in the era of ESPs- English Suspicion Purpose and Soldier’s requirement of English communicating is different from a doctor’s requirement of English communicating. So we have communicative English for engineering students, management students, conventional degree students, housewives, etc.
the problem of mind-set and attitude. The campus spends a huge amount of money for producing skill development. Assume you’re the principal of a college, and after a month’s functioning of this setup you find out that the students are finding it difficult to get in there or are unwilling to get in there, how demotivating would you be? So it is for the youth to recognize that along with the professional skills, communication skills are also an essential requirement. It is not the engineering degree alone that is going to give you a job. It is the mixture of your ability to convey yourself, your personality, along your engineering degree. So, yes mind-set of the students is a big problem. There are a few managements who have been able to get over it, initially there were some hiccups but change is inevitable. So, initially the students will react, give cold responses, but through motivation and proper communication results can be achieved.
What are the challenges or questions that you face from the management if some colleges are not able to accept it?
Look, your regional language is your identity. Some people think that learning English language is killing your mother tongue. Like I was with someone who was learning vernacular languages, I know Gujarati. I use it as proficiently as any Gujarati would. But speaking English has nothing to do with my Gujarati. You need to realize that English is the language of access. How are you going to have access to knowledge if you don’t know English? You cannot translate a document into your regional language coz you would then deprive the mass. If there is no English language and you don’t have access to knowledge, can you afford to do that? With due respect I say mother tongue is the best medium to learn. But then you have to look at the global dynamics. You are no longer the regional individual, you are a global man. These regional boundaries have been wiped off. So if you think in terms of globalization, I think this argument is insane. Your mother tongue does become your identity but English language is the solution. There are 2 billion people who are learning English today. The countries which initially rejected the idea of learning in English, are putting all efforts to ensure that the entire nation learns English.
Firstly issues pertaining to investment in the right direction. I feel the whole sci-fi culture has its own plus and minus. Many engineering colleges would not wish to spend money on mysterious skills on the campus, why would they do it? It’s not a mandate. The other issues are acceptance. There are people who do not want to look beyond what they are doing they say-“Why would I take someone else’s help, I have my own teachers for teaching English” So the first stage is that the campus management is somewhere not aware of the persistent problem of unemployability and a few which might be aware have not been able to find the cause of that unemployability and these are few challenges which are being faced. My second part of the same question is that once the management accepts it, what are the challenges and issues you face from students’ side? Mostly the management has an innovative outlook towards teaching and learning it accepts and establishes new setup, one of the challenges that the managements face is getting the students inside the lab. A lot of students feel that it’s an additional burden. Now this is
On our Engineers’ Day Celebration last year on 15th September, we had a member parliament from Bihar and he said that India is a land of different languages, why to restrict education or higher education to only English, we can have higher technical education in local languages. What is your view on that?
SIDDAGANGA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY B. H. Road, Tumkur-572103, Karnataka, India. (An Autonomous Institute Affiliated to Visvesvaraya Technological University, Approved by AICTE and Accredited by NBA, New Delhi)
SIT, Tumkur has been awarded by TEQIP Rs. five crores towards developing a Center of Excellence (CoE) in nanotechnology. Center's vision, mission, and other details can be found in its website http://www.sit.ac.in/nano. SIT is seeking outstanding faculty and staff to be part of this CoE. Individuals with both experimental and theoretical expertise in nanotechnology and advanced laboratory or industry work are being sought. Specifically, applications are invited for the following positions: Ÿ Professor Ÿ Associate Professor Ÿ Program and Business Development Manager Ÿ Facility and Lab manager Ÿ Administrative Assistant Ÿ Laboratory Technician
Initial appointments will be for two years, subject to renewal based on contract funding. Salary and benefits will be commensurate based on experience, expertise, and potential. Qualifications, requirements, and application process for the above positions are given at http://www.sit.ac.in/nano/nano_careers.html. Applicants should meet all of the stipulated minimum qualifications, requirements, and application process. Incomplete applications with insufficient supporting documents will not be considered. Review of the applications will commence on 1/08/2013 and close on 30/09/2013 HOW TO APPLY Applications with relevant supporting documents in pdf and in one compressed file should be emailed to: Search Committee Chair, Center of Applied Research and nano-Technology, Siddaganga Institute of Technology, B. H. Road, Tumkur-572103, Karnataka, India at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My perception is that the trade level is where we need to put in some efforts not only in India but in many countries because these technological changes are so rapid. I think a lot of young people for that matter need to come up and develop q u i c k ly i n te r m s o f t h e technical excellence and abilities that they have.
” Dr. Rob de Bruyn
Managing Director Bitzer
he name Bitzer has been synonymous with technology, whether it is the domain of plasma
technology or the world of refrigeration and airconditioning. Bitzer is the world’s largest independent manufacturer of refrigeration compressors. They deal in reciprocate screw and scrawl compressors and in pressure vessels all over the globe. They have supplied over 30, 000 compressors to the Indian companies like BPCL, Reliance, Maruti Suzuki , Taj Hotel and various international and national brands like Blue star, Voltas, CH India etc. Bitzer claims to be a company having compressors high on performance, intelligence and energyefficiency. What’s the underlying engineering technology that is driving all this? It’s a conservative German company. Its primary focus is compressors systems for refrigerator and airconditioning. One of the core areas of our growth and developments is R&D which must be in the forefront of the production and cost. Our focus is always on bringing the efficient technologies and getting the product in market. We see a number of environmental changes taking place in terms of refrigerators usage. Bitzer is the leader in CO2 technology today and its
becoming a refrigerant solution for Europe. You have been having ’benefit after benefit’ buzzword with Bitzer, what extraordinary services you extend to your clients so that they continuously get the benefits? We have got some very good partners in India. Our product has been in India for more than 45 years. One of the most important things we see is the backend support function only then can we have the best product in the world. If there is machinery failure then that needs to be addressed quickly. Bitzer has introduced ‘Green Point’ service centers in India these service centers allow customers to bring the compressors to our workshops and we either repay or give our own conditioners. We have observed that you have consistently been in the top 10 medium size companies for the last 75 years, so we are very curious to know what disciplines and value system led to such consistent delivery at your part? I think because the company is still owned by Mr. and Mrs. Schaufler, they have placed traditional family values in the company and that brought the excellence. He demands the best that his company can provide in terms of engineering and support functions. And the other important thing for our company is the interrelations between different departments. These things not only help us build Human Relations but also spread business. Your Equal Line Series of compressors have been largely in talk, we would like to know what’s so original and unique about them? One of the technological advantages in Equal Line Series of compressors is that we have been able to improve the deficiency by 12% and its efficiency in India is extremely important. We’ve had a very successful offer of this product in India. We all understand that these days in engineering 1-2 % is a good result and we managed up to 12% which is huge. Another important factor in terms of equal line is that it is suitable for all kinds of refrigerators; take hydrocarbons for example which is very interesting in international markets and even in India. There’s alot of discussion on hydrocarbons with some of the IITs, so these compressors are already suitable for the hydrocarbons. Walce is not a big market
at the moment, but we perceive that there is time for it to come. India is seen both as a very exciting market as well as an upcoming market with its intriguing traditions. How do you propose to crack the Indian market and the mind-set of an Indian customer? What is so unique and differential about it? I’m in my 50 and I think I will not be able to understand the interesting cultural attributes of India but what I have understood is that even though your culture demands a very high quality, it knows very well what is ‘not quality’ and of course we all have value for money. I think uppermost in the minds of most people is that it should be reliable, and serviceable. If we talk about the refrigeration applications that we have evolved this is a very important issue for all of us. The actual machine cost is not so high if we talk about what it is and its quality. The cost of its facility for example the fellows from the mechanical refrigeration class can have a very big impact as far as financial loss to the entrepreneurs is concerned. So I think in those terms the market understands what the good quality is made of. I think that is the most important thing that anybody is looking for.
Coming from a country which has engineering excellence for centuries that way, what is your outlook about India in terms of engineering? Its Infrastructure is one thing. Everybody in India is trying very hard to establish that kind of infrastructure. That makes a lot of difference. If we look at the understanding of people in terms of engineering, its very high. My perception is that the trade level is where we need to put in some efforts not only in India but in many countries because these technological changes are so rapid. I think a lot of young people for that matter need to come up and develop quickly in terms of the technical excellence and abilities that they have.
www.engineeringwatch.in/robdebruyn Engineering Watch | August 2013
E T IA C Analysis
G N I L U R T R U O C E M E US PR I
n April, 2013 the Supreme Court opened a
the role of the AICTE vis-a-vis universities and their
Pandora’s box in higher technical education
affiliated colleges is merely supervisory and not
with its judgment regarding AICTE’s
regulatory and hence affiliated colleges are not
jurisdiction over affiliated colleges. While private
required to approach the AICTE for approval before
colleges celebrated the judgment as it delivered
starting a course in technical education. In arriving
them from the restrictive grip of the AICTE, the
at its conclusion, the Supreme Court sought to give a
AICTE and Ministry of Human Resource
wider construction to the word “university” as
Development pitted themselves against the
defined under the AICTE Act and UGC Act. It may be
Supreme Court to undo the ruling. Adding finality to
recalled that in the Bharthidasan University case
the judgment, the Supreme Court also rejected the
decided by the Supreme Court in 2001, the Supreme
review petition filed by the AICTE in July.
Court had exempted universities from the regulatory ambit of the AICTE.
The credibility of the AICTE has come into question many a times in the recent past particularly because
The Supreme Court now relied not only on the
of allegations of rampant corruption in its ranks
aforesaid judgment but interpretation of Section
thereby putting a cloud of doubt over its ability to
12A of the UGC Act, which allows UGC to
act as an effective regulator. In addition, it has also
recommend to a university to disaffiliate a college if
been felt that the AICTE has often over-stepped its
the college does not comply with the UGC
mandate and stifled the growth of quality
regulations relating to fee to be charged. A college,
institutions. Although there can be no doubt that the
as per Section 12A of the UGC Act, means an
multiplicity of regulators in the education space has
institution of study recognised by a university for
only muddied the waters over time, the question
providing instructions in a course, the qualification
that begs attention is what is the most appropriate
of which is granted by the university. It is argued
route for achieving the much needed reform?
that the definition contained in Section 12A on which the petitioners and the Supreme Court relied
The Supreme Court had ruled in April this year that
to arrive at the conclusion that college should be
read within the definition of university, in fact, was
on the issue of MBA not being ‘technical education’
an indication of legislative intent to not treat
and there is a passing reference that AICTE has
universities and colleges as interchangeable terms.
failed to bring any material to show that MBA is
However, Supreme Court felt otherwise.
technical education. In a number of precedents, the Supreme Court has refrained from deciding on an
The Supreme Court held that the wider
issue which was not part of the pleadings of the
interpretation to the definition of University is
parties and has refused to frame an issue on such
necessary to give full effect to the provisions of the
UGC Act and thereby not render it useless. The judgement recognises the fact that doing otherwise
It is not clear whether the judgment would benefit
would have implied that colleges are under the
students and management education in India.
control of universities, UGC (to the extent
Based on this case, the Delhi High Court has
permissible under UGC Act) and AICTE. However,
quashed the show cause notices against IIPM. It is
the expansive scope given to the word University to
likely that other institutes would also be able to
include affiliated colleges, despite clear and
obtain the same relief. The UGC is already
unambiguous definitions under the UGC Act and
functioning as the regulator for universities and
AICTE Act suggesting to the contrary, implies that
distance education. Regulators may validly raise
the AICTE – a statutory body created by a legislation
question about the capacity of UGC to fulfil role that
just like the UGC - is now denuded of all its power.
was hitherto performed by AICTE. There are many who also have doubts on the integrity of the
The other aspect of the judgment that is more
university officials, and favoritism and corruption
troubling relates to the decision of the Supreme
have been found to be vices equally present in
Court that MBA is not technical education.
university administrations. While it is important to
“Technical education” is defined under the AICTE
ensure autonomy of institutes of higher education
Act to mean programs of education, research and
and rid the space of complex labyrinth of regulators
training in various fields including management. In
and regulations, the debates around Higher
the Judgment, the Supreme Court came to the
Education and Research Bill indicate that there is no
conclusion that MBA is not technical education by
consensus on even the ‘single regulator’ reform. The
relying on the dictionary meaning of the word
Supreme Court has in the past refused to enter the
“technology”, which was referred to in the context of
domain of policy making – and rightly so. Policy
MCA. By this logic, it may also be pleaded that even
ought to be made through deliberation and
applied arts and crafts such as fashion design,
discussion within the Parliament and outside.
interior design are not within the ambit of technical
Courts are often not the best places for such
education and hence outside the regulatory
purview of the AICTE. Eventually, the government may still be able to On the facts of the case, it is to be noted that the
topple the Supreme Court’s decision with an
petitioning colleges were aggrieved by an order of
amendment to the AICTE Act much to the
the Madras High Court whereby it directed them to
exasperation of the private education sector.
approach the AICTE for approval of the MCA course. Further, the Judgment (as reported) does not contain any pleadings by the petitioner’s counsels
www.engineeringwatch.in/manigupta Engineering Watch | August 2013
Washington Accord & NBA, India Some Critical Issues and Their Resolution Prof. R. T. Sakthidaran,
M.Tech (IITM), DM (AIMA), FIE, SMIEEE (USA), Dean (III) & Head of Incubation Center, PSY Engineering College, Arasanoor-Tamil Nadu
Prof. R.T.Sakthidaran is a Post Graduate from IIT, Madras. He has served 29 years in MECON Limited (PSU), Ranchi in various capacities and took VRS as Dy. GM (Automation). He is currently in education for the past 11 years. He has a patent to his credit and published several papers at Industry organized national conferences and international journal. He is a Life Fellow of IE (I) and Senior Member of IEEE (USA). His biography appeared in Marquis Who's Who in the World and many other publications for several years.
hose who are in technical education are aware that there is a need to assure quality of our education to international standards. This has become more important with increasing number of graduates seeking higher studies or employment in other countries. It is also important that for executing international contracts, Indian companies are in a position to assure that they employ engineers whose certification has international recognition. The recognition of engineering programs can be assured by becoming a full signatory to Washington Accord. It is not a straight forward path for India to become a full signatory. With continuously increasing number of engineering colleges in India, quality assurance becomes a tricky issue. This paper presents various efforts taken by Government of India to become a member of Washington Accord. It also presents some critical issues presented by mentors of Washington Accord to NBA so that India can advance towards Washington Accord. Finally, the author presents his own observations and suggestion to some of the critical issues that remain unresolved till date delaying the progress of becoming a full signatory to Washington Accord. What is Washington Accord? The Washington Accord was signed in 1989 by 6 countries. They are: Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Canada, Ireland & the USA. It is an agreement between the bodies (In India, it is NBA and in USA it is ABET) responsible for accrediting professional engineering degree programs in each of the signatory countries. It recognizes the substantial equivalency of programs accredited by those bodies, and recommends that graduates of accredited programs in any of the signatory countries be recognized by the other countries as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering. The Washington Accord covers professional engineering undergraduate degrees. Engineering technology and postgraduatelevel programs are not covered by the Accord. The “Sydney Accord” provides for the mutual recognition of technology programs. However, NBA does accreditation of postgraduate-level programs also in India. In other words, a NBA accredited ME program need not be recognized by the signatory countries. Undergraduate programs in Engineering technology (like B.Tech in Leather Technology) is not covered in Washington Accord. Even, B.Tech in Information Technology is under dispute. NBA is trying to convince Washington Accord mentors that
they are also equivalent to engineering degrees. India is neither a signatory to Sydney Accord nor a provisional member. Why India should become a full signatory of Washington Accord? Signatories have full rights of participation in the Accord; qualifications accredited or recognized by other signatories are recognized by each signatory as being substantially equivalent to accredited or recognized qualifications within its own jurisdiction. How can I find out if my program is recognized under the Washington Accord? The list of programs currently recognized under the Washington Accord can be searched by signatory country in their accrediting body's website. For example, let us find out whether an University of Auckland engineering degree in Electrical and Electronic in New Zealand is recognized under the Washington Accord. Ÿ Washington Accord website lists the
accrediting agencies links for various signatory countries. So, enter the following web address in a browser: http://www.washingtonaccord.org/Washingto n-Accord/Accredited.cfm Ÿ Click the link on Institution of Professional Engineers NZ.
Ÿ Search Auckland University in the list. Ÿ You can see that the course is accredited since
1980 onwards. What if there is a break in term of accreditation? Students enrolling during a term of accreditation and continuing studies through to graduation without a substantial break will be deemed to have graduated from an accredited program. Which are the signatories of Washington Accord? Initial signatories are Australia (1989), New Zealand (1989), the UK (1989), Canada (1989), Ireland (1989) & the USA (1989). Other full signatories are Hong Kong(1995), South Africa (1999), Japan (2005), Singapore (2006), Taiwan (2007), Korea (2007), Malaysia (2009), Turkey (2011), Russia (2012). Provisional members include Bangla Desh, Germany, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Provisional Engineering Watch | August 2013
members on qualification would become full signatories, later. What is the status of India? In 2007, India was accepted as provisional member of the Washington Accord. Though, NBA would like to become full signatory in June 2013, it may not be possible till 2014. The path for India to achieve fullsignatory status in Washington Accord is not straight forward. NBA is preparing to apply for permanent signatory status of Washington Accord under the guidance of the mentors appointed by International Engineering Alliance (IEA), Secretariat (Secretariat of Washington Accord). The mentors visit India and advise NBA so that our accreditation conforms the requirements of Washington Accord. What is the role of mentors? The mentoring role will focus on providing advice and guidance on the accreditation or recognition policies and procedures. It will also guide on education standards of the mentee so that the mentee on application can become a signatory of the Washington Accord.
What are the processes involved to move from provisional member to full signatory of Washington Accord? 1. First of all NBA has to implement all the suggestions given by the mentors to improve quality of education and establish processes for continuous improvement. 2. NBA, presently holding provisional status must give written notice of at least one year (prior to the IEAM that is IEA Meeting at which they will apply for upgrade of their status) to the Committee and the secretariat of their application to be assessed. Normally, it is held once in 2 years. The last meeting was held in 2011. 3. No later than 30 days from receiving an application for upgrading, the Committee must assign three Assessors, each drawn from a different signatory. 4. NBA must then provide the Assessors with reasonable notice to observe visits to a range of education providers, and to observe the accreditation / recognition process for a range of decisions in the period leading up to 120 days prior to the IEAM at which NBA wishes its application for upgrading to become a signatory
to be considered. 5. The assessors will evaluate the standards and systems of the applicant against the requirements in a similar fashion to that stipulated as for the conduct of a Review of an existing Signatory. 6. However, in addition to the criteria set out in that Procedure, the assessors must consider whether the systems are well established and functioning correctly. 7. The Assessors will furnish a written report to the signatories no later than 90 days prior to the IEAM at which the application for upgrading will be considered, unless a shorter period (of at least 30 days) is agreed by the Committee to be sufficient in the circumstances. 8. The signatories must consider the Assessors' report at the meeting at which it is presented and must decide one of the four following actions: 8.a. that NBA, India holding provisional status be made a signatory (provided that there is an unanimous support of all signatories), and the date at which recognition by other signatories shall become effective is stated(this would normally be the date on which the new signatory is admitted). or 8.b. That the NBA, India holding provisional status be declined becoming a signatory, but that provisional status be extended for a further period (in which case reasons must be stated), or Accord Rules and Procedures. 8.c. That the NBA, India holding provisional status be declined becoming a signatory and that provisional status not be extended (in which case the reasons must be stated), or 8.d. that the decision on the assessment recommendations be deferred for a specified period of time (in which case the reasons must be stated). 9. During consideration of an Assessors' report each signatory which chooses not to support the recommendation from the Assessors must provide to all other signatories its reasons.
10.When the decision to upgrading is deferred, the signatories may agree to reconsider the application by a Special Meeting held by a suitable meeting prior to the next scheduled General or Mid-term Meeting. No such meeting will occur sooner than 60 days after the organization holding provisional status or the Assessors provides the necessary information to the secretariat. Who are our mentors, what is the status of their visits? Prof. Raman Menon Unnikrishnan Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science, California State University, Fullerton, USA and Prof. Kai Sang Lock, Past Chairman, Engineering Accreditation Board, Institute of Engineers, Singapore were appointed as mentors for India in 2008. Visits of mentors took place in February 2009, March 2011, December 2011 and March 2012. Have we implemented all the suggestions given by mentors and have they cleared our proposal to become full signatories? Most of the suggestions given by mentors have been successfully implemented by our NBA. There are still a few but very critical issues to be sorted out. Some of the Key Issues Issue-1 Continuous improvement and quality assurance in affiliated universities and their programs. Action taken by NBA: NBA has informed Mentors that the issues will be discussed with technical universities, UGC, AICTE, and State Governments in a Conference under the leadership of Honorable Union Minister of Human Resource Development. If the affiliating university is found to have certain weaknesses or concerns, will all the affiliated colleges be impacted similarly? No. The weaknesses of affiliating university will not affect all the affiliated colleges. Since, many colleges have have around 20 years of experience, these colleges have their own systems to tackle such deficiencies. For example, though affiliating university is not having any quality management system conforming to ISO-9001, many affiliated colleges have established quality management system on their own and have conformed to ISO9001.
weaknesses or concerns reflecting in them the affiliating university's weaknesses. Do all affiliated colleges score the same marks in certain accreditation criteria, such as curriculum, since they all deliver the same courses from the university? No. Though, the curriculum prescribed by the affiliating university is same for all affiliated colleges, the affiliated colleges can supplement the curriculum to meet the PEO. Such colleges would certainly score better on curriculum criteria than those affiliated colleges which follow only the curriculum prescribed by the affiliating university. The remaining affiliated colleges that does not add to the curriculum will score the same marks in accreditation criteria like curriculum. How the continuous improvement process is implemented, particularly in curriculum matters? Though affiliating university has its own continuous improvement process in curriculum matters, the affiliated colleges can always add courses to improve the Program Outcome based on continuous improvement process. As an example, the author during his tenure in the previous engineering college identified that a particular course (Programming in C) need to be added in the curriculum considering the type of intake (most of the students joining in Information Technology branch had studied biology as their major in their higher secondary schools. Thus they did not have any exposure to computer related subjects) in the program. A 50 hour course was successfully introduced and taught in the evening hours. Many courses were added like this to supplement the curriculum to achieve PEO that is continuously changing (say 10%) with industry needs. There is growing need felt for subjects like Data Center, Programing in PHP, MySQL, HTML-5, Free and Open Source Software. Courses not less than 40 hours duration have been added in different semester to supplement the curriculum.
Are PEOs of all affiliated colleges the same since the same curriculum is offered? Most of the universities do not mention the PEO of their programs. It has to be inferred from their curriculum and syllabus. Since, the curriculum is same, most of the colleges PEO should be same. However, as said earlier good and experienced affiliated colleges fix their PEO, identify the gap and supplement the curriculum.
However, the incipient colleges are likely to have Engineering Watch | August 2013
Autonomous institutions under the affiliating university have complete freedom to decide their curriculum hence their PEO can be drastically different from the other affiliated colleges. For the rest of the affiliated colleges who simply follow the affiliating university's curriculum, the PEO shall be same. How does NBA assure the quality of an entire university system when it visits and accredits a few from the many affiliated colleges? Right now NBA does not assure the quality of an entire university system. It only accredits the courses offered by the affiliated colleges with out any consideration to the affiliating university. Therefore, quality assurance of a program is the sole responsibility of the affiliated college and not that of the university. NAAC, India assesses and accredits Higher Educational Institutions like Universities, Colleges, Deemed to be Universities, Teacher Education, Physical Education etc. It is not mandatory.
Some universities might have established quality management system conforming to ISO 9001 and certified by third parties. It may be desirable to clearly state at the website that program x is NBA accredited but the overall university or other affiliated colleges within that university are NOT accredited. NBA website provides the list of programs accredited by them in different colleges. The list includes only those colleges that had applied for accreditation at least once. The colleges which have never applied for accreditation do not appear in the list. NBA website shall include all the colleges approved by AICTE and the accreditation status of all the programs offered by those colleges. Thus, irrespective of whether a college had applied for accreditation or not, the quality of their programs can be ascertained from the NBA website. NBA should prepare a paper to explain how the process of accreditation is applied to this type of affiliating universities and their colleges. Accreditation of affiliating university with several hundred colleges is not possible with the present model existing in USA or any other country. It is unique that only in India, an university affiliates around 600 colleges with different owners, location
and history. The solution has to come only from us. The author feels that establishment and practice of quality management system conforming to ISO9001, incorporating the requirements of NBA accreditation can be a solution. When ISO-9001 is established, continuous improvement can be monitored rigorously by both its internal and external auditors regularly which is absolutely missing now. Once the university establishes a quality management system, the colleges can easily be held responsible for Graduate Outcomes. A small variation in curriculum say 10% can be allowed to cater to varying input and industry need. Issue-2 According to mentors, reservation of students for admission to Engineering Programs give rise to poor input of students therefore should be discouraged. While teachers are selected these privileged special classes are given priority hiring thus completing the dilution of quality from admission to instruction. Action taken by NBA: NBA has replied that education is on equity and reservations at the time of admission is to address the issue of equity by Government of India. Therefore, additional tutorials / remedial classes are conducted to assist such students to improve their academic competencies. No compromise is made in the standards / qualitative aspect of teaching-learning processes and evaluation of the students at any stage in any manner and thus the quality of students graduating is not affected by the policy of reservation. Author's suggestion: Reservation at the time of admission is a policy of the government of India and going on for very long time. It is a complex and sensitive issue. We therefore have no say to change this. The response given by AICTE is absolutely far from true. It is a known fact that only 10% of the graduates are fit for industry. My suggestion is raise the admission mark criteria(say 65% average in science and maths with a few marks discount to other categories) keeping the differentials based on reservation policy so that intake quality improves. Right now, this mark is also varying from state to state. Quality of instruction will follow suit, once the intake is improved. Another view of the author: Why bother about
admission quality at all. Let the government have any kind of policy for admission and the management of colleges decide their own for management quota. However, accreditation of programs should be based purely on the outcome of students. Once, the accreditation is based on quality, the market forces will automatically force the university and the colleges to align themselves with quality requirements by suitable training before admission or raising the standard of admission in management quota. Right now, the industry is rejecting the bulk of the graduates as unfit. A fresh plumber or mason draws double the salary of such a graduate! Issue-3 According to mentors, faculty quality is compromised when many faculty members are inbred for their doctoral degrees. (In-house registration for PhD by faculty should be discouraged.) Action taken by NBA: NBA has replied that it may be included as desirable (external registration) in the report. Author's suggestion: NBA's action is not going to satisfy the mentors as it may look NBA is noncommittal. Author suggests that a student or faculty may be allowed to register in-house provided they do so under regular and full time program. Part time research scholars (particularly faculty members) from the same institute shall be banned since it involves “conflict of interest” and “ethical dilemma” resulting in compromise of quality of research. Issue-4 Distinction between AICTE approval and NBA accreditation is not made. Colleges should indicate to the public like Approved by AICTE and Not Accredited by NBA or Approved by AICTE and X, Y Programs Accredited by NBA. Action taken by NBA: AICTE (During the first visit of mentors, NBA was under AICTE so AICTE was interacting with mentors. In 2010 under the suggestion of mentors, NBA was made an independent body) assured that separate list of approved institutions and accredited programs will be displayed by council on its website. Issue-5 NBA has not satisfactorily addressed how affiliated universities with multiple engineering institutions at different sites are going to be accredited.
Issue-6 NBA has not accredited a significant number of engineering programs yet (at least 100). Author's suggestion: If we see the NBA site, many colleges' accredited programs have expired. NBA should ensure that before the expiry of validity, NBA shall arrange experts visit to the institution that want to continue accreditation so that the validity of accreditation does not elapse. If NBA can not arrange visit in time, then it must extend the validity till the next report. Lot of good institutions have discontinued accreditation as the visit is not taking place in time causing loss of revenue. NBA should have a system to regularly recruit experts and maintain a repository of experts to assess the institution. NBA itself shall establish ISO-9001 quality management system and undergo certification process so that all its processes are streamlined and improved on continual basis. Conclusion It is well understood by every one that there are constraints and complex issues unique to our country. Yet, we can not afford our technical education becoming worthless. It is very important that our technical education conforms to international standards or even excels them. Though, there are many areas (primary, secondary, higher secondary, technical, arts, science, law, medicine etc) in education where we need to improve our quality right now, we have committed for Washington Accord. We must get full signatory status at the earliest. Continuing as “provisional members” for more than 6 years is not a credit at all. We must not only take the mentors suggestion seriously (evidenced by NBA's display of all reports of mentors in their website) but also try quickly to find solutions to critical issues. Author is confident that his suggestions to some of the nagging issues that NBA could not reply adequately, would be helpful in expediting our application for full membership or signatory.
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