“Every student can make the nation proud”
DTU Times interviewed Prof. Anil D. Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), who was the Chief Guest at the 1st International Conference on Signal Processing, VLSI and Communication Engineering (ICSPVCE - 2019) organised at DTU.
How have you seen the technical education field change over the years?
Technical education started with IIT Roorkee as University of Roorkee and Thomason College in 1847. Now, we have about 160+ years of technical education in this country. In the former years, they were certificate/diploma programmes, and later on, graduated into degree programmes and some colleges became IITs, NITs. Subsequently after Independence, several IITs, NITs came up, while DCE started in 1941. A massive expansion in the technical field took place in the country.
What is your vision for India's technical education Institutes?
When this massive expansion took place, we had access and equity; access to anyone who wants Engineering education, and equity in terms of caste, religion, location – rural and urban. Even though access and equity have been matched very well, but when it comes to quality, only 20% of the institutions are of high quality. 30-40% are moderately good and the remaining 30-40% are very poor. Our target is to convert the borderline 30-40% institutions into good institutions. Once we are able to lift all of them, we will be the best technical education provider in the world.
.How can the students be motivated to pursue research activities, since only a few voluntarily enter this field?
I think motivation is sometimes required, but more importantly, when you show the students the possible challenges and plausible solutions, then they will start thinking on their own. That itself is self-motivation. If a student sees a problem, then he can understand the solution and wonder how he can help provide a better solution. In an institution, students can get inspired by looking at their seniors and other professors doing research. Motivation and inspiration come from either a field visit or faculty or any professionals undergoing research.
What are your views on a huge number of vacant seats in the institutions?
Vacant seats are remaining because the expansion was sudden and way more than it was necessary. In fact, in some of the states, the number of class 12 (Science) students passing out is way less than the seats available. Hence the expansion was sudden and we have been suffering from consequences of it. Nowadays students join the institutions only if the quality is combined with placement promises. Hence, it should balance out the vacant seats and mass expansion in the next four to five years
Is the 75% bar really necessary for the students?
The 75% attendance bar is for students to come forcefully sit in the class. If the teaching-learning process is efficient, they would attend class without any rules. Students will attend the classes if and only if they get new and exciting knowledge. If something is available on a website or on the Internet I wouldn’t bother coming to classes. Students, as I would like to believe, are not at fault, it is the teachers who have to go one step ahead and teach beyond what is available online and discuss challenging problems from those topics. If the student can’t solve the problem, then teachers can devise new ways to pose the problem so that student deeply understands the root of the problem.
What is your final message for the students?
I have emphasized that opportunities available to you are plenty and spread in all domains. Every student has opportunities wherever his passion and commitment lie and if he works without expecting anything in the short term and is willing to put in time with all sincerity, success is bound to follow and hence, every student can make the nation proud.