The state government has decided to involve engineering students in evaluating ongoing development schemes to give them an opportunity to get practical experience through internships and to come up with solutions to developmental challenges.
This decision followed a presentation by professors of IIT Bombay on how engineering education can be aligned towards finding solutions for developmental challenges.
The government has formed an 11-member working group committee to be chaired by SK Mahajan, Director of the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE), and will also include Prof Milind Sohoni from the Centre for Technology Alternatives for Rural Areas,
“Every engineering college needs to have centres like CTARA, which work with the people. But there is currently a huge skill gap between engineering education and what is required on ground. University participation in regional development problem is thus critical.
There is also the need for engineering curriculum modification to allow students to take projects with local content and a focus on research and development for regional needs. These were some of the aspects highlighted at a presentation by IIT Bombay’s CTARA to the state government. Subsequently, the Maharashtra government agreed to open some of its schemes to students for analysis,” said an official.
Some of the proposed schemes or policies where students can be involved include social audit of NREGA schemes, energy audit, road development and management, water management, sanitation and cleanliness, audit of garbage management by municipal bodies and GIS mapping, among others.
The committee has been asked to recommend in what ways students from engineering colleges and those pursuing other professional courses can be involved in these projects, and what kind of internship schemes can be devised. Selection of educational institutes, eligibility and finalising the process are some of the terms of reference of the committee. They have also been asked to recommend the kind of funding required.