I am delighted to see the opinions about Engineering Education in AP by three eminent people and vice chancellors of three JNTU’s. Certainly they have raised important points which are some of the possible reasons for this worst state of Engineering Education in AP. Of course, I don’t feel it is anyway different in any part of India. However, I would like to bring some points which vice-chancellors can observe and correct the situation at their level. Why to throw blame on others. As an authority of an University, you can start correcting the system at your level. I would like to bring some of my observations and remedies that can be done at University level.
1. First and foremost problem which I have observed and which is accumulated from last 20 years is, unskilled, un-qualified, un-ethical, non-motivated faculty members. I strongly believe university people really can do many things in correction direction which they are not cared to do. The following are some of my observations and possible corrections measures to be taken.
a. Today, majority of B.Tech qualified students joining in M.Tech in colleges where classes are not held. Moreover, they work as faculty in nearby colleges. They want degree, fee re-imbursement, salary as a faculty, till they get job in industry. You see how immoral they are. After M.Tech also, if they don’t get industry job then they are opting teaching as a stop-gap. Finally, after they try for 2 to 3 years for industry job, they conclude teaching is their profession and continue as a faculty. How an university can control this situation?. They can easily cross check M.Tech admission lists (of all Universities in AP) and college faculty lists and stop this practice. This will save fee re-imbursement expenses to Govt to some extent.
Another ugliest thing which universities are not giving importance at all is “M.Tech thesis”. It will not be a joke if I say not even 1% of the M.Tech theses are the actual work done by the candidates. They are all purchased from outsiders. I understand that last year annual turnover of those companies who supplies ready my theses is more than 100 crores. They dare to send list of projects, bulk offers to academia including Vice chancellors, Deans, Principals. For my surprise, some of the VC’s inaugurated such a type of business. I have sent email campaigning material to vice chancellors, chancellor and demanded to stop this unethical practice. No action is taken till now. Instead, they have made every M.Tech student to implement an IEEE paper or publish an IEEE paper. Things became too worse. Now, those companies are supplying IEEE papers implementations as theses. Universities should take this thing seriously. This type of M.Tech faculty, what they can teach to students of B.Tech?. About a decade back, Univ people first used to ask experts whether they will in a position to review an M.Tech thesis or not by sending abstract/synopsis. Once experts says yes, they will be sending M.Tech thesis report only after that they will be arranging M.Tech defence along with viva-voce. Now, university people damaged all this good system. They are calling experts on one day, theses reports of three students will be given just before the students seminar. Why universities have to kill the established good systems and spoil the education system. They can very well correct this if they really want.
Is it not possible to see Universities that M.Tech classes to be held regularly in their campuses and also in affiliated colleges?. It is very well possible to be implemented. But they don’t do it. If this is taken care, at least next generation engineering graduates gets benefitted.
Another catastrophic thing that is happening in current JNTU system is that these un-oriented M.Tech studying faculty members are becoming examiners for B.Tech exams. Now, you can imagine how much damage is taking place to the system. Majority of the B.Tech students are of the opinion is that what marks they get and what they expect are never matching. Every student feels this. Why? These un-qualified M.Tech faculty are one reason. All these things can be easily controlled by university authorities. But, they are not serious about it.
Majority of M.Tech pursuing and completed faculty members (since last 10-15 years) are fond of All-in-ones or guides. When they become examiners they are giving marks if they found the answer is from All-in-one which they have studied. They are taking it granted whatever trash is there in those all-in-ones. The generations are effecting because of this. Isn’t not possible for a Vice chancellor to see that all-in-ones to be banned. I still remember about cine actor Mahesh babu and his fans ransacking privacy CD company in Warangal. Is it not possible for a VC to stop this. They don’t do it as they get their percentage from publishers, Board of studies Chariman’s don’t talk as they also get some or other percentage from all-in-one publishers. College managements are not serious as they are getting good pass percentages which helps them in next year admissions. Parents are happy with what marks their lad god. This is the vicious circle that is running in engineering education. Every stake holder (parents, university authorities, faculty, managements, government), especially Universities have to take serious action to stop this worst practice. Is it not possible for Universities to identify faculty members who are contributing to all-in-ones and take actions on them?. May be, chief examiners should be warned to see that the examiners are not giving marks only for those answers which are from all-in-ones. University can ban those examiners for few years and encourage those chief-examiners. Different universities are having different approaches regarding scheme of evaluation. At this junction, if one is serious, one can control the effect of all-in-one.
In Andhra, few years back in order to fill seats in post graduation they have started PGECET as majority of B.Tech passed students from AP colleges are not qualifying GATE. To that extent it is OK. Why universities don’t aim to improve the quality at least after joining the M.Tech. Why they will not ask M.Tech students to pass GATE before they appear M.Tech theses defense or before they start their theses work. Why they cannot ask M.Tech pursuing students who joined under PGECET to appear UGC-NET and clear the same before they start their theses work. Why they cannot arrange GATE orientation lectures in University campuses and help the M.Tech students who joined under PGECET to clear GATE/UGC-NET? This way we can improve the quality of postgraduate student and in turn improving the faculty. They can even ask managements to arrange GATE/UGC-NET orientation lectures to clear them by their post graduate students. However, it is better Universities to organize these orientation lectures in their campuses. This is very well in the hands of University. Why to blame AICTE or Government, they can implement very well easily.
Usually in our hierarchy, an ITI qualified fellow is called as skilled labor. A polytechnic or diploma person is referred as supervisor who sees the work done according to engineering specification prescribed by an engineer. An engineer designs according to some principles. Rather, our engineering curriculum orients him like that and it is the objective of B.Tech or B.E or graduation. Only during the post graduation, the candidate is expected to expose to dogma of research. Thus, a B.Tech thesis is called as project. Whereas M.Tech thesis is called as thesis and is partial fulfillment for the award of the degree. While Ph.D thesis is full fulfillment for the award of the degree. During the masters, candidates are supposed to expose to how research can carried out. They are often asked to re-invent and existing system, change and observe an existing system. Unfortunately, this is not taking place in reality. I dare to challenge the University authorities to prove that at least 1% of M.Tech theses submitted to them are genuine (not purchased) and are carried out in house in a college or university and under the guidance of a faculty member. It is certainly in the hands of the University itself. Why to blame AICTE or someone else.
Universities have to see that classes for M.Tech courses to be conducted on regular intervals and faculty members who takes M.Tech classes should be Ph.D with at least 5 years teaching experience. It is naked fact that hardly few institutions which can be counted on fingers are having Ph.D qualified faculty members. These colleges send the Ph.D faculty to B.Tech classes, not for post graduation. There are many equations involved for doing this. However, total result is the M.Tech classes are not conducted. May be university can identify expert faculty either from their campus or affiliated colleges and entrust them to take M.Tech classes in nodal (or some other identified) college which have to be attended by post graduate students of nearby colleges. This type of action, a University can be implemented easily. May be University can pay the honorarium for faculty. Similar steps to be taken to orient post graduate students towards research methodology course before they start their M.Tech thesis.
DAAD(Germany) etc type organizations welcomes group visits to their Universities. Both under-graduate(B.Tech), graduate (M.Tech) students can apply for this as a group along with a faculty member of their college. For my surprise, not all universities in A.P are not registered with DAAD to extend this facility to students of our AP. For sensible University authorities, taking this as an important thing and arranging student visits and student exchange programs is not at all difficult. But, they are not doing this. That is how our students are lagging global awareness though they are getting degrees.
Also, post-graduate students have to made aware of many fellowship programs such as Common wealth, Erasmus Mundus, Curie, Manmohan-obama, etc., such that they will be serious while doing their Masters thesis. Who has to take this oath of educating M.Tech students about all the above fellowships? Is it not the University or faculty members? What difficulty university will be having to share this with their post-graduate students?. In fact, British Council, DAAD are always at forefront in organizing awareness programs with their expenses. Why universities do not utilize this facility?
These M.Tech students should be made embrace the technological developments such as e-learning, etc., during their study itself such that when they become faculty members they can do better justice to B.Tech students. Universities should see that they will register on-line courses offered by prestigious universities such as Stanford, MIT, UN University. If possible, they can see that they will be visible in their transcripts (marks lists). If needed, they can conduct final examination and give academic credits to the course.
b. Another pathetic thing that is spoiling engineering education is Ph.D degrees. AICTE, Universities, and many other organizations are insisting doctorate faculty members in the colleges? How come suddenly Ph.D qualified people will be available for teaching? This has raised curtain for issuing dubious Ph.D degrees. Since last 10-15 years this is getting aggravated in A.P and also in India. Every university authority who has right to speak, do not open their mouth, rather they are sharing their contribution to further aggravate the situation.
Only recently, UGC made a list of banned universities in their web site. However, by that time many colleges are flooded with Ph.d’s from these universities such as Magadha University as their faculty. In order to satisfy AICTE requirements, colleges are using “cat on a wall” policy. They are under the opinion that let AICTE/University inspection people to point about their Ph.D faculty then will look into this. Of course, they don’t hesitate to supply purses to inspection members for not commenting or pointing about this in their reports. Worst thing is that some faculty members are having on-line Ph.Ds. I strongly feel it is high time correct at this point by Universities. I don’t see what problems they have in implementing this. Why to blame AICTE/UGC or some else. A University can easily implement this on its own. They can demand their affiliated colleges to register their faculty members at the university. University can issue a code or number also to the faculty after verifying his credentials. This will stop employing dubious Ph.d faculty in the colleges and quality of teaching and students increases.
Some of the Universities in AP such as Rayalaseema, Krishna, Acharya Nagarjuna, etc., are offering Ph.d degrees though they don’t have concern departments in their respective Universities. If they don’t have respective departments means they don’t have academic strength or Excellency in those areas?. How they can offer Ph.D degrees in those subjects. Why Vice chancellors of other Universities are keeping quite? Don’t you open your mouth and start raising the issues with concerned authorities. Instead, you are accepting the Ph.D holders from these Universities and giving promotions though through normal promotions. Being an authority who is supposed to maintain the standards of University, if you cannot control these things, how can you build standards in education under your university?
Prestigious institutes like IIT’s are having limits on number of Ph.d students attached to a faculty member. Typically it is 2 to 3. How come these state university faculty are allowed to accept few tens to hundreds of Ph.d students?. University authorities are encouraging this as they are seing Ph.D also another source of income. Ten years back, Ph.D students used to pay few hundred as their annual fee. Now, universities are charging 25000 to 30000/-. In return, what are you providing? Are you holding any classes to them? No. Are you providing any library, other instrument facilities to them?. No. If so, why are you charging so much money?. What is the scientific basis for you for raising the fee?. Some of the university authorities says, deemed universities are charging even one lakh also for Ph.D, why don’t we also charge more?. Of course, I don’t want to talk about Ph.d’s from deemed universities. That is going to be another dimension which is out of the scope of this discussion. What is the quality of your Ph.D’s?. Did you make a committee that evaluates standards of your Ph.d’s for every 5 years?. Is it not possible to take steps to maintain the standards of your Ph.d degrees?. How AICTE can stop you if you plan to correct your Ph.d standards.
Majority of the Universities in AP are admitting their Ph.D students through their own entrance examination. In order to build up the quality among the faculty, why they will not ask their Ph.D students to pass GATE or UGC-NET before they appear for pre-phd examination or before they submit their Ph.d thesis?. If they insist then the quality of faculty improves. After all, if they don’t qualify them how come they make their B.Tech or M.Tech students to clear these examinations?
Few years back, there was no restriction for submitting Ph.D thesis. Recently, some of the universities made a rule such that a candidate has to have one paper published in a Journal before submission of their Ph.d thesis. Because of this many new journals have come up in the recent past which published papers without proper reviewing. World popular organization, IEEE has banned some of the professors publishing their work in IEEE journals for next 5 years. Highest authorities of universities are also in the list. What really happened?. So called Ph.D scholars our AP universities published some of the articles of IEEE as it is in these new journals by making their names and their Ph.d supervisors names as authors?. The fact is that, their Ph.D supervisors do not know this and they have taken aback after seeing emails from IEEE banning their names. This is the ethical strength of Ph.D students in our universities. Is it not possible to stop this?. Why it happened? There can be many reasons, but one of it is: Tens and hundreds of Ph.d students attached to a guide? How come a guide can really guide tens of students at a time. If university limits this number then they have time to take care of their Ph.D students. Otherwise, this type of things are going to continue.
c. Certainly universities are required to revamp their curriculum to make their students preferable to industry. Some Universities such as JNTU’s are doing this to some extent unlike conventional universities. However, they are not concentrating the enforcing the faculty first before introducing new courses. First, they have to organize the new course at their university campus and let private college faculty to attend the course and pass the examination. If possible, the same course can be offered to the students of their autonomous colleges and share those experiences with these faculty. Only if expert committee feels that a faculty can do justice to the proposed course, he will be asked to handle the course in his college. Is it so difficult for an university to implement? If not, what for Board of Studies, what for academic sections?. How AICTE comes into picture to stop your activities in this direction?.
d. It is not a joke if I say that more than 60% of the faculty in professional colleges are not having a service of more than 6 months. They have to be equipped to face a class of strength seventy!. It is very essential to organize few days of induction course to teach fundamentals of teaching. In this connection, I would like to remember Intensive Teaching Workshop (ITW) which is organized at BITS, Pilani for a new faculty members. Such exercises are carried out by me along with some senior faculty in former Institution and observed to be giving better results. This can be practiced by the colleges to improve the faculty teaching skills. May be only after successful completion of ITW, on-line subject tests, one or two subject workshops, technical industrial visits, ethics course, etc., young faculty have to be asked to teach the course. This can be easily enforced by universities to get good quality education.
The above are some of the points out of many ideas which I have regarding how a university can strengthen the engineering system without blaming AICTE.
I shall share my views on the following items in due course.
2. parents and their mindsets.
3. College Managements
5. Students and their mindsets
6. Intermediate education and corporate culture