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Simple Tools To Make Graduates Industry-ready

Experiential learning is the way forward. Let the students base their understanding on the theories and facilitate them to give vent to their creativity fuelled by their curiosity and see the magic!

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Gone are the days when teaching in engineering colleges was done through the chalk and board and by way of using models, overhead projectors and other conventional methods. Technology has taken its place with the latest presentation formats, 3-D models, etc. Live projects, movies, and case studies have also become the norm of the day. Still, what is it that keeps the Indian engineering students not on equal standing with the western counterparts? Data reveals the viewpoints of industry as well as students that they are not job-ready and lack employability skills. Here are some possible solutions:

Experiential learning: Most of the engineering colleges today follow the same old pattern of teaching, where the textbook is considered key to all queries. Experiential learning is the way forward. Let the students base their understanding on the theories and facilitate them to give vent to their creativity fuelled by their curiosity and see the magic! Give them problem-based situations, divide them into teams, allot a time frame and share the broad expectations with enough room for innovative outcomes.

Faculty: With the increase in the number of engineering colleges, has come the wave of hiring fresh engineering postgraduates as faculty therein. Although they might have been exposed to the same syllabus, they surely need to be polished before they assume the role on the other side of the table. After all, the research experience they will carry will go a long way in guiding and motivating their students towards the same. Guest faculty from reputed engineering colleges from within the country such as the IITs, National Institutes of Technology and others as well as from international colleges should be invited not only for delivering lectures and for conducting a session or two, but also to have collaborative teaching in the regular courses offered by the host institute’s faculty.

This promises a dual purpose – advantage for students by getting sensitised to international standards and styles of learning; and exposure for faculty by gaining from their counterparts teaching in high-ranked world institutes and colleges. The gain of the faculty is two-fold: joint teaching gives them opportunity to observe and learn the teaching styles, and networking brings forth collaborative research, which further strengthens their expertise.

Professional training: Along with a state-of-the-art facilities and an experienced faculty with innovative teaching styles and pedagogy aiming at active learning, it is also imperative to equip the engineering students with professional skills, vital for the job market. A mini course on technical communication and a few workshops imparting soft skills are not enough. Professional training should be intertwined in the very curriculum, and need not be graded given the importance it has in today’s competitive world – something  the students are well aware of. Experiential learning in teams will give them ample opportunities to learn and demonstrate leadership skills, team spirit, along with managing time.

Apart from the above-mentioned, it is also required of engineering institutes in India to conduct student conferences both national and international, to enhance students’ knowledge and to boost their self-reliance. Let them commit mistakes, learn from those, and move ahead managing the exigencies. That is how you can make them industry ready. That’s what the industry expects them to be – experts in their fields, reliable at times of need/crisis, and professional enough to become the face of the organisation they join by demonstrating zeal in whatever they do.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Deepa Sethi

Prof. Deepa Sethi is an Associate Professor at Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode. Her teaching areas include Managerial Communication, Cross Cultural Communication, Written Analysis & Communication. Her research areas also include Soft Skills, Nonverbal Communication, Electronic Communication, Persuasive Communication. Currently, she is also the Chair of the area of Humanities & Liberal Arts in Management at IIM Kozhikode.

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