Vedas, Purnas made part of AICTE's engineering syllabus

27 January 2018

Along with the internet of things, big data and bullet trains, engineering students will now have to study the Vedas, the Puranas and tark shastra (Hindu logic), according to the revamped curriculum released by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on Wednesday.

The features are part of the model curriculum rolled out by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) on Wednesday for students pursuing courses in BTech, MTech, Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Post Graduate Diploma in Management.

Over 3,000 engineering colleges and 500 management schools approved by the AICTE are expected to follow the curriculum after it is adopted by the affiliating universities.

On Wednesday, nearly 100 vice-chancellors of varsities offering technical courses, who attended a conference where the model curriculum was unveiled, agreed to adopt it with suitable modifications.

The model curriculum for management courses provides for the study of Indian ethos and business ethics.

"Indian culture is largely focusing on collectivism where family and work group goals dominate over individual needs and desires. The ethical values of family system and man as a 'community individual' are not reflected in the management literature," the model curriculum says.

AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe said the idea was to encourage the application of the principles depicted in traditional Indian literature in modern-day business. "Indian literature has much to offer to business studies. So there is the chapter on Indian ethos," he told The Telegraph.

The document says India has a rich knowledge pool of the Vedas, the Itihasa (the Ramayan and the Mahabharat), the Upanishads and literature like the Panchatantra and Chanakya's epic Arthashastra, which have a relevance for the modern economy.

The curriculum advocates the inclusion of the Indian ethos by citing the financial crisis faced by corporate houses around the globe because of "weak foundations of business ethics".

Though these courses are mandatory, their scores will have no bearing on their final credits. The changes will kick in this academic year. ''The syllabus has been revamped by preparing a model curriculum as an updated curriculum is a student's right,'' said HRD minister Prakash Javadekar.

The course on Essence of Indian Knowledge Tradition will also focus on Indian philosophical, linguistic and artistic traditions, along with yoga and Indian perspective of modern scientific worldview.

''The course aims at imparting basic principles of thought process, reasoning and inferencing,'' according to the course objective.

It is good to teach non-discipline courses as it helped broaden horizons, said Dheeraj Sanghi, a professor of computer science at IIT Kanpur, but said that it should not be mandatory.

The new curriculum lays emphasis on practical knowledge and lab work - the credits required for theory have been reduced to 160 from 220.

Students will also be required to intern with industries as well as the social sector. ''This will help engineering graduates connect with the need of the industry and society at large,'' Javadekar said, adding that the curriculum should be updated every year and changes made per the needs of the industry.

Industry has often voiced concerns over the quality of engineers in the country, saying a majority of them were not employable and had to be trained on job.

India's more than 3,000 institutes produce about 700,000 engineers every year but barely half of them find employment. In 2015-16, of the 758,000 graduates, only 334,000 got jobs through campus placements, AICTE data says.

Management programme courses, too, have been changed.

''The minimum number of credits for award of MBA (master in business administration)/ PGDM (post graduate diploma in management) course is 102 credits,'' Sahasrabudhe said.

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