Technical Education in India

The history of inculcating formal technical education in India started in the 19th century although it got momentum in 20th century with the onset of Constitution of Technical Education Committee of Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE). After India achieved Independence in the year 1947, the head-start of technical education emerged as a major concern for the Indian Government in order to face upcoming challenges and bring the country ahead.

The established the Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management and Indian Institutes of Science were a vital step in the development of technical education in the Indian subcontinent. The ability of these institutions to produce competent and hard core intelligent scientists and engineers had managed to change the outlook of Indian on the global front. India was earlier known for yoga, meditation and holy places, but now it is reckoned for computer engineers.

Therefore, in order to maintain the standard of technical education all across the country, a statutory authority namely- The All India Council for Technical Education was set up in 1945. AICTE is renowned for planning, formulating and sustaining similar standards through accreditation, funding in particular colleges, monitoring and evaluation and awards thereby ascertaining coordination in management of technical education in India.

The main objective of these authorities is to ensure that all the admission procedures, selection criteria, entrance examination and information regarding allied preparation material are carried out appropriately all across the country. Under the term ‘Technical’, there comes a number of courses which include degree and diploma courses in Engineering, Master degree Courses in Engineering, Master of Computer Application (MCA), Master of Business Administration (MBA), Pharmacy Courses, Courses in Architecture and Applied Arts and Hotel Management and Catering Technology Courses.

Keep the Change by Nirupama Subramanian

I knew the author, a friend of mine, so I bought the book promptly from a nearby book-store. Not to mention that the catchy cover page which made the book stand out in the store shelf.

The very first sentence of the book had me wanting for more. It says “… today morning an elephant fell on me..” I didn’t want to finish the book soon – as then I would have to go scouting for another book to read. So I browsed through the pages of the book and found the writing style very intriguing. The whole book is written as a series of letters to a friend named Victoria (reminding me and my single-track mind of Victoria Secret all the time). I couldn’t keep myself from diving deep into reading the book soon thereafter and only kept it down when I had finished.

There are lots of things that I liked in the book apart from the main protagonist B. Damyanthi. I really liked the exchange of words between Damyanthi and her mom and how her mom is always talking about marriage, food and relatives all in a single conversation. It reminded me of my mom who changes topics seamlessly within a dialogue like an Indian actress changes sarees during movie songs. Maybe its because she is trying to catch up on everything in the little time that the kids give to their moms after growing up.

The other amazing aspect of the book is Damyanthi’s wild imaginations. One moment she is visualizing herself as Brad Pitt’s wife with a rainbow family and another moment she is the best employee of First Global bank.

B Damyanthi also has two voices in this book – a private one which is usually more funny, young and bold and a public one which is demure, mature and as per people’s expectations. So while the outer voice is nodding head in agreement to an aunt’s remarks, the inner voice is talking about being a pole-dancer in a strip-bar.

Overall – a must read and a hard to put down category.

Why India Needs Culture of Entrepreneurship in Classrooms

While there are successful examples of young innovators like PC Musthafa (iD Fresh), Sampriti Bhattacharyya (Hydroswarm) and Vijay Sharma (One97), the harsh reality is that an inordinately large number of start-ups fail. That’s the reason why academic institutions and organisations must assist and support the development of entrepreneurs in order to ensure high survival rate.

Young Indian entrepreneurs are making headlines with regularity. After an entire generation of cautious Indians who viewed entrepreneurship with suspicion-preferring stable and predictable careers in government service, banks, as doctors, lawyers and engineers-the tide is turning. There is optimism in the air as young entrepreneurs are daring to go global, drive innovation and experiment with unique business models.

The latest Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report reflects this important cultural shift. The report noted that 58% of Indian adults (18-64 years old) consider entrepreneurship a desirable career choice and 66% think that entrepreneurs receive a high level of status and respect. And this is not just because Indian tech entrepreneurs are becoming global rock-stars. It is because young entrepreneurs from every sector-from agriculture to manufacturing-are putting India on a new path of growth and development.

Take the story of 42-year-old PC Musthafa, who quit a well-paying bank job in Dubai to return to India because he wanted to create job opportunities for the rural youth. He started iD Fresh Food, a dosa batter company, with his cousins, 550 square feet of space, two grinders, a mixer and a sealing machine. They began by selling 10 packets of batter a day. Today, iD Fresh Food sells 50,000 packets a day, has expanded its product range to ready-to-eat foods, and is a R100 crore company employing 1,100 people. Musthafa’s goal is to become a R1,000 crore company employing 5,000 people in the next five years.

Among the more innovative ideas his company is exploring is that of a Trust Shop-in apartment complexes and corporate offices-where you can pick up idli-dosa batter, ready-to-eat wheat parathas and chapatis, and drop the money in a box at the store. The store has no salesmen and is not monitored by cameras to keep an eye on shoppers who don’t pay. The stores are proving to be a success. Shoppers who don’t have money on them are coming back the next day to drop the cash. It is a unique low-cost model that can be scaled, ensuring that prices are kept low and stores are conveniently accessible 24×7.

Now let’s take the case of 28-year-old Sampriti Bhattacharyya, whose company Hydroswarm designs and manufactures autonomous drones that can scan ocean floors, look for lost aircraft, identify oil spills, and spot radiation under the sea.

Entrepreneurs and innovators like these are playing a major role in bringing unique ideas, offerings and business models to market-ideas that large companies don’t want to explore because they don’t have a clear and well-charted future and could pose a risk to their growth plans.

One recent study by a leading analyst has suggested that the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector-which includes such entrepreneurs-will increase its contribution to India’s GDP from the 8% share in 2011-12 to 15% by 2020.

The growth is not just because young Indian entrepreneurs are daring to dream up great new ideas, but also because they understand the value of hiring the best talent in the country. Take Vijay Sharma’s One97 Communication, the digital goods arm of Paytm. Sharma’s company announced its expansion into Europe and the US this July, using some of the best business talent in the country to enable the growth. In other words, Indian entrepreneurs are aware of what it takes to be globally competitive.

Going global should not be difficult for Indian entrepreneurs. Today, the best minds in the country are dreaming of entrepreneurship. This year’s IIT-JEE topper, Deepanshu Jindal, says that after graduation he wants to become an entrepreneur. Youngsters from prestigious educational institutions all over the country such as the IITs and IIMs are showing similar inclinations.

All this makes great news. But the harsh reality is that an inordinately large number of start-ups fail. Studies have shown that 47% of the jobs created by start-ups are eliminated because the business folds up in the first five years. This emphasises the importance of having academic institutions and organisations to assist and support the development of entrepreneurs in order to ensure a higher survival rate.

If India is to continue on its growth path, the contribution of entrepreneurs to wealth creation will play a pivotal role. This is why the importance of including entrepreneurship as part of standard curricula cannot be undermined. We must begin by creating a formal culture of entrepreneurship starting in classrooms where young minds and the nation’s future are shaped.