“To make students more employable, universities have to attach skill development components to each stream including humanities,” said Anil Kakodkar, who is heading various committees on reforms in higher education, on Monday.
“Skills should be made an essential part of the education system. Learning has to be made a practical experience,” said Kakodkar while speaking on the challenges of higher education at a discussion organised by Observer Research Foundation. “A science student should have an understanding of the humanities and management and vice versa.”
Kakodkar, a former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, is heading a committee to look into university reforms in Maharashtra, which will submit a report soon. He also just submitted a report on the roadmap of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
Speaking about the criticism of IIT graduates taking up lucrative careers which have nothing to do with engineering, Kakodkar said, “I would worry if a graduate in a particular discipline can’t adapt to another discipline. A good education is where a student learns to adapt to changing scenarios. Although I do worry that lesser people are there for research in technology.”
Kakodkar addressed the increasing burden of affiliated colleges on universities and the need for autonomy and greater focus on research. “For holistic growth, a student has to be on a university campus where there is ongoing research and be part of a community of academics. That is not possible in affiliated colleges,” added Kakodkar.
Citing the example of China, he said, “There are no affiliated colleges there. Every student has to study at a residential university campus that is spread across 1,000 acres with 35,000 students of which 6,000 to 8,000 are doing their PhDs.”