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Industrial training now a must for diploma engineering students in Maharashtra

The students will also receive hands-on training throughout the three-year course by working on ‘mini projects’.

mumbai Updated: Jul 24, 2017 01:06 IST
Musab Qazi
Musab Qazi
Hindustan Times
Mumbai news,education,engineering
(Picture for representation)

With the demand for diploma engineering courses dwindling in the past few years, the Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education (MSBTE) has decided to make the curriculum more suited to industry needs.

As part of the new ‘I Scheme’ curriculum, which will replace the existing ‘G Scheme’ curriculum from the upcoming academic year, the state board has introduced a mandatory six-week internship in the last year of the diploma. The students will also receive hands-on training throughout the three-year course by working on ‘mini projects’.

“The curriculum provides for industry-relevant skills to the students. It will focus more on practical training than theoretical knowledge”, said Vinod Mohitkar, secretary, MSBTE. He added that declining number of students in diploma programmes was one of the considerations while designing the new curriculum.

So far, the theory aspect of engineering has been the major component of all diploma programmes. Industry apprenticeship was limited to the institutes offering ‘sandwich pattern’ programmes, where two semesters of industrial training was sandwiched between classroom teaching.

‘I scheme’ is an outcome-based curriculum pattern, with specific sets of goals defined for the each programme. It follows a variation of choice-based credit system (CBCS), which allows students to choose from a list of subjects. “The students can specialise in an area of their choice,” said Mohitkar.

The board has also decided to prepare learning resources such as lab manuals and sample question papers, to ensure uniform and effective implementation of the curriculum.

Gopakumaran Thampi, principal, Thadomal Shahani College of Engineering, said that the new curriculum has been designed to encourage students to join the industry, instead of opting for higher education. “Many students treat the diploma as a stepping stone for a degree course. The curriculum will ensure that the students intuitively learn skills required in the industry, rather than seeking knowledge,” he said.

HT, on Saturday, reported that, in the last two years, the number of students applying for diploma courses has dipped by 38%, as the students increasingly prefer pursuing degree engineering after junior college or joining a vocational courses at an Industrial Training Institute.

Thampi believes that the board will have to do more than just revise the curriculum if it wants more students to join polytechnics. “The diploma holders are looked down upon in the society. As a result, most of the students opt for degree engineering. The board needs to glamourise and market diploma programmes and explain their importance in nation building,” he said.

How ‘I Scheme’ curriculum was developed

Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education (MSBTE) had begun the exercise to revise the curriculum in October 2015, when it convened a meeting of around 60 industry experts in Pune to gauge their expectations from diploma holders, in terms of knowledge skills and attitudes.

The National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research (NITTTR), Bhopal was appointed as an education consultant for this project.

MSBTE, then, prepared two separate questionnaires to seek inputs from industries and alumni of polytechnics in the state.

The feedback from around 300 industries and several alumni were collected, tabulated and analysed, using statistical tools.

The requirement of industry were prioritised in terms of various categories of subjects such as basic science, engineering science, engineering technology, core technology and applied technology.

Based on this data, the structure of 18 engineering diploma programmes, including mechanical, civil, computer and electrical engineering, were developed.

The final drafts were further fine-tuned after running them by industries again.

Fewer takers for engineering diploma

This year, the state’s directorate of technical education (DTE) received around 65,406 applications, 185 less than 80,000 applications received in academic year 2016-17.

A similar rate of drop - 20% - was witnessed between 2016-17 and 2015-16, when close to a lakh students had applied for the diploma courses.

First Published: Jul 24, 2017 01:06 IST