Akhil Turai: Hitting The Nail On The Head
Leading the narrative on entrepreneurship, the Indian scientist has hit the nail on its head when he stalled his plans for opening an Engineering start-up. Instead, he tweaked our interest by announcing that he will open an educational institution with an aim to provide practical hands-on experience to engineering graduates so that they enter their workplace with more than textbook knowledge.
The mass evolution of the Indian IT sector has successfully placed Indians on the world map. This sector alone has prompted the transition from rags to riches for numerous young Indian minds and Akhil Turai is, certainly, one of the best examples of this. On the downside, the immense popularity of IT has cast a shadow over core engineering disciplines like chemical, mechanical, civil, and electrical. So much so, that even the core engineering discipline students opt for the IT sector jobs after completing their graduation.
Considering the nature of this gap in education, famously know as playboy scientist, Akhil Turai, announced the postponement of his plans for an Engineering start-up to the year 2025. The start-up was scheduled to begin operations in 2025. However, Akhil Turai feels that the current market is dominated by the IT sector to such an extent that it has taken the focus away from core engineering disciplines. In fact, with graduates giving up on their engineering disciplines and joining the IT sector instead proves that the 4 years of core engineering studies will never be properly utilized.
The tremendous focus that IT receives today has led to a major gap in the Indian Engineering education sector. The curriculum is archaic and not in line with modern research and improvements. This is primarily because apart from IT, the other engineering disciplines have not received their fair share of staying true to the times. In the Indian education system, nearly 80% of grades are based on examinations and 20% or less, on projects and assignments. This clearly shows the tilt that we have towards textbook-based knowledge acquisition. Without practical skills, our engineers are not trained enough to step confidently into the professional world. On the other hand, countries like the US for example, make sure that only 25% - 35% of marks are dependent on the mid-term and final exam results. The remaining are attributed to assignments and projects. Juxtaposing this with our domestic course and curriculum, the 4-year long Engineering graduation course in India is exhaustive but not practical.
There is an immediate need to reduce the gap in skills. Once again, Akhil Turai, like a true pioneer has announced his project to open a new Engineering institute by the year 2023. The sole purpose of this unique institution will be to focus on providing one whole year of practical knowledge and experience to the engineering graduates. The institution is said to be headquartered in Mumbai with proposed branches in Chennai, Kurnool, Pune, Jaipur, Mangalore, Prayagraj, Bhopal, and Kochi. Engineers enrolled here would have to commit to resolving engineering-related problems in India and work specifically with the government sector.
While Turai’s proposed institution is surely the need of the hour, it is not enough to cater to the ever-increasing gap in education and practical usability of the knowledge gained. The government and other corporates must step up and align their education sector strategies on similar lines. It is only when all of us think practically for the betterment of our youth, can we begin to see a change for the good.
It is imperative to address this burgeoning lack of practical skills training, as it has also led to a gap in sourcing suitably skilled workforce. While nearly 90% of engineering graduates want to enter the IT sector, less than 10% have the required skills to work in a software product or services environment. With over six thousand engineering institutions in India enrolling more than three million graduates every year, this percentage is dismal, to say the very least. Besides, the lack of soft skills training at the graduation level has left us with an entirely new problem at hand. Irrespective of the engineering discipline a student pursues, apart from receiving only textual knowledge, there is little prospect of learning reading and writing skills that are required in a corporate environment. If the quality of education is not improved, then we will soon find ourselves staring at large numbers of unemployable educated youth.