Importance of Technical Education in India
In India, ‘Technical Education’ refers to skill-based education, where practical skills are taught, including (but not restricted to) various branches of Engineering. This includes not just B.Tech. and B.E. graduates, but also A.M.I.E. (Associate Member of the Institute of Engineers) and related qualifications.
(But Brittanica.com defines Technical education as “The academic and vocational preparation of students for jobs involving applied science and modern technology. It emphasizes the understanding and practical application of basic principles of science and mathematics, rather than the attainment of proficiency in manual skills that are properly the concern of vocational education. Its objectives are the preparation of graduates for occupations that are classed above the skilled crafts but below the scientific or engineering professions.”)
In order to maintain the standard of technical education, The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) was set up in 1945. AICTE is responsible for the planning, formulation and maintenance of norms and standards, quality assurance through accreditation, funding in priority areas, monitoring and evaluation, maintaining parity of certification and awards and ensuring coordinated and integrated development and management of technical education in the country.
Why is technical education of crucial importance in India? The entire world is growing on the strength of more and more scientific innovations; more and more new products are flooding the market; electronics and software seem to be growing at the fastest rate. Almost as soon as you buy the latest smartphone, the next version is in the market or a competing brand brings out more advanced features, possibly at a lesser cost. So an engineering degree can help in getting a job in India or abroad. It is perceived by many that engineering graduates have better job prospects than non-engineering graduates (but not including medicos).
But just having an engineering degree with no insight or ability to apply that knowledge is not sufficient. That is the reason we see engineering graduates unable to get jobs; they know the theory, they have high marks, but they do not know how to apply the knowledge they have learnt. For instance, an electrical engineer is unable to explain the concept of power factor, or the need for a starter in a tube light. Actually, technical education should include practical sessions and skills so that our engineering graduates are job ready when they graduate.
Getting a suitable job and a great career growth pattern also depends on one’s technical skills and the ability to constantly learn new skills. This is in addition to having other skills like communication and negotiating skills, grasp of languages, cordial human relations, working knowledge of computers, etc.
In addition, we should accept that technicians like plumbers, draftsmen, carpenters, electricians, fitters, mechanics, etc. have a practical technical knowledge, and are more employable, and many are self-employed. Hence they also deserve our respect and should be treated on par with degree holders.
Jetking, which began operations in 1947, has been of this opinion since inception; In addition to their business of manufacturing electronic goods, they started selling do-it-yourself kits for making your own transistor radios, which were very popular among students in high school and college. These students began with the practical knowledge, which fired their desire to take up careers in engineering, and with strong fundamentals, they bloomed in their careers.
Jetking also brought out do-it-yourself kits for other electronic devices like TVs, and on date are conducting various courses for need-based training in various centres in India, and their students are easily able to get suitable jobs, being more in demand than graduate engineers with no practical training or knowledge.
Technology impinges on every aspect of life and society across the civilized world. Since Independence, technical education system in India has developed into a huge system, giving opportunities for education and training in a wide variety of engineering disciplines right up to a doctoral and post-doctoral level in institutions across the country. Indian engineers have made their mark worldwide and occupy top positions in the world’s most prestigious and biggest organizations.
In addition to working in fields where their technical knowledge is used, the basic technical knowledge of engineering is useful in any job, as all jobs today are connected to technology. For example, a civil or mechanical engineer can use his knowledge for creating CAD-CAM systems for software companies. If they are employed in banks, their technical grounding enables them to understand and appreciate the finer points of the manufacturing processes of borrowers. At home, they should be better able to educate their children in technology-related subjects and conduct minor repairs when needed. An engineer who knows the fundamentals and is able to apply that knowledge is always an asset. A recent example is when an IIT graduate on an international flight used a spring from a ball pen and cobbled together an insulin pen for another passenger, whose insulin pen was lost, and who was almost in coma due to low insulin.
But higher education in India is not world-class and needs to be improved.