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NITs? mission: Churning out ?thinking? engineers

NATIONAL INSTITUTES of Technology (NITs) of the country, established as centres of technical education excellence, have now come together. For the first time, they have defined a common mission for themselves for the next two decades ?- producing thinking engineers.
None | By K Sandeep Kumar, Allahabad
PUBLISHED ON JUL 31, 2006 12:14 AM IST

NATIONAL INSTITUTES of Technology (NITs) of the country, established as centres of technical education excellence, have now come together.
For the first time, they have defined a common mission for themselves for the next two decades —- producing thinking engineers.

The final draft of the ‘NITs Vision-2025’ has already been circulated to the directors of all the 19 Indian NITs for their final approval and will be submitted to the Government of India by August-end.

The Vision-2025 document’s draft has visualised a greater autonomy for the NITs in their functioning and has identified 16 emerging fields like food processing, agriculture, healthcare, nanotechnology and biotechnology as the potential thrust areas on which to focus on in the coming years.

These 16 emerging fields will be further clubbed under four major heads for ascertaining the advanced research and experiments needed by the country. This has been done together as the NITs have visualised that the next two decades will be India’s in the field of technology development.

Draft Committee for the Vision-2025 chairman and Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MNNIT)-Allahabad director Prof Arun Baran Samaddar said the Vision Document primarily embodied the plan of action, areas of thrust for emerging technologies and scope of NITs in nation-building.

In an exclusive chat with Hindustan Times, Prof Samaddar said that as per the draft prepared by his committee, a generalised structure for the NIT Council and governance had also been spelled out.

Under it, the council would have elite representation of eminent educationists, directors of NITs, invited scientists and researchers of international repute, besides senior officials of the Ministry of HRD.

The vision document had for the first time talked about producing thinking engineers.  “The term ‘thinking engineers’ was suggested by me after realising the fact that despite creating world-class infrastructure, the present system has failed to produce quality engineers having the capability of developing new technologies,” Prof Samaddar said.

He said that thinking engineers envisioned by the NITs were technically sound persons having the sensitivity for the cause of the nation and also having the zeal necessary for producing indigenous technologies suited for the country.
The draft has a detailed description about the various programmes and activities that will be taken up by the institutions during the coming two decades.
It also summarises the activities and the projects that will be carried out in the field of resource management, disaster mitigation, entertainment and lifestyle, computer and IT services, material and processing, as well as technology management.

“The idea of framing the vision document-2025 was born in the meeting of  directors of NITs held in Delhi on March 1, 2006, which was attended by senior MHRD officials too,” said  Prof Samaddar.

He further said thereafter the Ministry of HRD formed a committee and directed it to frame the vision document. “The exercise included three rounds of meetings, which included the first meeting for finalising the terms of references, the second for vision and ideas furnished to all NITs and the third and final meeting at the NIT Srinagar in the third week of July for finalising the draft,” he said.

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