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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

History of Higher Education in Engineering

Submitted by Kukatlapalli Pradeep Kumar – Research Scholar – Christ University - Bangalore - April 2014.

Engineering education is the process of imparting knowledge and values in connection with the professional practice of engineering principles. The roots of engineering education was found in a movement which emphasized on engineering science and quality in engineering education. This movement took place at the end of World War II. Later on, the practical exposure in engineering undergraduate programs was not perceived due to lack of focus on the same. To resolve the issues in the engineering education, early 1980’s researcher bodies and different organizations piloted many studies. They agreed upon the common results achieved, to deliver strong base theory knowledge in all engineering institutions. They also concluded upon the exposure towards the societal context and the interdisciplinary research for engineering education as one among the initiatives of the studies.

Service learning contributed to the transformation in engineering education, focusing on the self-learning, and development of professional and interpersonal skills.

As far as engineering education in India is concerned, a recent study says that there is 10.4 percent increase in the number of engineering graduates on yearly basis. This number is more than that of China, South Korea, the UK, and US. This leads to the question on quality of graduates coming out from universities and colleges. It results in unemployment or underemployment. A study said that about 30 percent of the fresh engineering graduates are unemployed because of lack of quality in education pursued. The engineering institutions in India are good at undergraduate programs, however lack in progressing towards the graduate and research oriented programs. One of the reasons is, undergraduate students not opting for M.Tech and other PG programs.

The official approval and accreditation process for technical education in the country on quality assurance started in the year 1985 with ISTE (Indian Society for Technical Education). As per the AICTE (All India council for Technical Education) India, the technical education not only mean Engineering, but also Management, Architecture, Pharmacy, Computer Applications, Hotel Management and Catering Technology, and Applied Arts and Crafts. The professional society ISTE is a program unit of MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource and Development) India. In the year 1994 the NBA (National Board of Accreditation) was established by the All India council for Technical Education. NBA as an association conducted many awareness programs, training programs, workshops on the quality of engineering education. It also focused on evaluation process and methodologies to be followed by the technical universities. However, the IISc also contributed towards the accreditation system, in which it was named as “Manyatha”. This could not attract the professors in the technical education in spite of its distinct features, and did not make further proceedings and updates on the same.  It is because of the NBA and NAAC accreditation initiatives, technical institutions could able to improve on the quality aspects with respect to the curriculum, industry institution interaction, Research and Development etc., [THE ORIGINS AND HISTORY OF ACCREDITATION OF TECHNICAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS IN INDIA Prof. R.Natarajan Former Chairman AICTE Former Director, IIT Madras].

As the trend in technology is more towards product based models, there is need felt for transformations in engineering education. The engineering activities followed in the industry differs from the class room teaching in many ways. The product modelling and simulation environments have to be installed and updated on regular basis. The main challenge lies behind contributing to the already existing work with slight or major modifications. There is a need for formulating new courses in the institutions for the product based model architectures. The virtual system laboratories also have to be established and the laboratory hours have to be scheduled. Knowledge representations and application tools are to be connected with the engineering systems. With the newer results in research, the quantitative and qualitative approaches can be applied in engineering domain as well. The quantitative methods are relevant where a hypothesis or a theory justifies the direction of the research. The qualitative methods are more towards personal interviews, conclusions drawn from observations, data collection and analysis of the field work/surveys. For the product development systems a best method can be applied with respect to the area of engineering. [New Challenges in Engineering Higher Education József Gáti and Gyula Kártyás Óbuda University,  Budapest, Hungary]. The National System of Innovation (NSI) aimed at higher education in collaborating government sector, Industry and fourth pillar organizations. The    Fourth pillar organizations are innovation- enabling and multiplier organizations such as incubators, innovation support centers, technology transfer centers, and technology demonstrators.  The helix model and the triple helix paradigm also can impact the higher education system. [Higher Engineering Education in the 21st century (June 2003) Andre’ Hattingh, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa].
The interdisciplinary approach with respect to natural sciences, social sciences can optimize the higher education structure in the education systems engineering to address various research problems. [Systems Engineering Methods in the Study of Higher education Structure Optimization 2009, Sun Shaorong, Zong Liyong University of Shanghai for Science and Technology. Shanghai, China]. Usage of audio visual means will have a positive impact on the university education. These resources also help in improving the efficiency of teaching among the faculty fraternity.

Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) is a research theory which is intended to illustrate about the adoption and rejection of technology by the users. This model aims at verification of UTAUT adequacy on the information technologies in pedagogical process of Engineering Higher Education. [Applying the UTAUT model in Engineering Higher Education: Teacher's Technology Adoption, Bertil P. Marques, Dep. Eng. Informática – ISEP, GILT- Graphics, Interaction and Learning Technologies Porto - PORTUGAL].

Usage of computers and information technology leads to positive results in the engineering higher education. It not only develops education in engineering, but also the product development environments in and around the universities with high performance methods, tools and systems. The artifact developments depends on the sophisticated infrastructure with simulated environments. So the product development and the education in engineering can act as the real integration of academic systems with the field practice. The teaching, projects and problem solving aspects has to be merged in the engineering education for effective exposure on to the student community. The course models and product models can be integrated to form a new and unique approach in engineering higher education. [Computer System Support for Higher Education Programs in Engineering: József Gáti and Gyula Kártyás,  Óbuda University Budapest, Hungary]


Roopashree H.R said...

1. you could have make chapter wise description. can add references.
3.Font size is not uniform

M.Usha said...

The article gives an elaborate account of quality of engineering education and how various government bodies have been formed to regulate the quality in Indian technical education.The write up has not dealt with the history of the discipline of engineering as such.You can include a detailed account of the history of education in India or abroad in a detailed manner.
The conclusion deals with how the quality of engineering education can be enhanced through simulated work environment and the integration of high performance tools and methods.But the aspect of history of the discipline is absent as it has not been covered in the write up.
You can work on a better transition between the paragraphs based on the themes you are dealing with in each of them.For example, "Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT)" does not seem to fit with the rest of the thought precess.Similarly "Service learning contributed to the transformation in engineering education, focusing on the self-learning, and development of professional and interpersonal skills." is a single line appearing from nowhere as a paragraph.
Grammatically "1980’s researcher bodies" could be written as "1980's research bodies". In the sentence, "The National System of Innovation (NSI) aimed at higher education in collaborating government sector, Industry and fourth pillar organizations.", "Industry" need not have an upper case "I".
In-text references like "Systems Engineering Methods in the Study of Higher education Structure Optimization 2009, Sun Shaorong, Zong Liyong University of Shanghai for Science and Technology. Shanghai, China]." should be written as "Shaorong, 2009" giving only the last name of the author and the date of publication of the article.Rest of the details of the source like title, name of the journal, volume and all should be given as part of the references in the end.
Hope the aforementioned comments would be useful with regard to a modified write up.Thanks.