India's technical education board AICTE has revamped the curriculum of engineering studies with the inclusion of courses on Essence of Indian Knowledge Tradition, that focuses on ancient Indian philosoph, traditions and yoga.
The next question is whether it will ccentuate job opportunities or not.
Besides their regular engineering courses ranging from computers, electronics to the internet of things, about 700,000 engineering students every year will now come out of their institutes armed with additional knowledge of Indian culture and tradition. But the major question is whether the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) guarantee them more jobs.
Defending the move, India's Human Resources and Development minister Prakash Javadekar said, "The syllabus has been revamped by preparing a model curriculum as an updated curriculum is a student's right."
Ironic though that the minister did not specify how it would increase job opportunities to them. "The course aims at imparting basic principles of thought process, reasoning and inferencing," says the course objective.
While many professors agree with the intention of such non-credit courses to widen the horizon of the students, they caution that it should not gradually become mandatory.
On the positive side the new curriculum is more focused on practical knowledge with lab work and intrnship with the firms. Interestingly, the credits for theory have been reduced to 160 from 220 reducing the burden on students.
"This will help engineering graduates connect with the need of the industry and society at large," said Javadekar on changes made to the curriculum in tune with the industry needs.
Currently, India has more than 3,200 engineering institutes producing 758,000 graduates but only half of them or 334,000 find jobs, shows AICTE data.
To bridge the gap, AICTE seeks to emphasize on job-centric knowledge skills. "Every student, on admission, would be put through a mandatory induction training to reinforce the fundamental concepts and the required language skills for technical education," said AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe.
On the flip side of it, AICTE has found that several engineering colleges are not maintaining the prescribed student-faculty ratio, not paying salaries as per the prescribed pay sclae and waiving off qualifications for the teaching staff during the recruitment process.
No wonder, students finally enter the job market to find few jobs or face under employment. More than 60% of them remain unemployed or the country is facing a potential loss of 20 lakh man days annually, according to AICTE data.