The technical education department is all set to undertake a major overhaul of the curricula in engineering colleges and polytechnics in order to focus on English skills and making the students more employable.
The decision to usher in reforms has been taken even as the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) has pointed out that only a small percentage of engineering graduates who pass out of state colleges make it big in the job market. The percentage of students who remain unemployed even after getting a BTech or BE degree is over 50%, Nasscom had pointed out.
The government, thus, has decided to focus on imparting soft skills, including the ability to communicate in English. As a first step, the department has decided to set up 43 Skill Development Centres (SDC) to impart communication, analytical and technical skills to students doing their engineering and polytechnic education. “It is felt that the students must have life skills, communications skills and critical thinking to be employable,” said Ajay Jain, commissioner, technical education.
The department has also done a massive recruitment of English faculty for its colleges. While till 2012, the number of English faculty stood at 47, this year the number has gone up to 75. In an attempt to train the trainers, eight faculty development programmes were organized for English lecturers.
The focus is now on developing a curriculum to suit the need of tech job aspirants. Already, a text book, Poly Skills, was developed in collaboration with Cambridge University Press India Private Limited (CUPIPL) to be followed by students who get trained in the SDCs. “We also trained two batches of newly-recruited English lecturers on Communicative Language Teaching (CLT) in collaboration with CUP,” Jain said.
Interestingly, in a first ever move, students opting for polytechnic education could also get English training in the UK. A select group of 100 students of government model residential polytechnics will be given a 100-hour training course in Bourneville College, UK starting this year. “The facility could be extended to other students in the longer run,” Jain said. Teachers will also get training in the UK with Association of Colleges, UK being roped in for the same.
There will also be regular workshops, orientation and induction programmes for English teachers and students of technical education in the future, he said.