Flagship programmes of the Modi government — Swachh Bharat, Smart Cities, Jan Dhan, Make in India and Digital India among others — could soon make their way into the engineering curriculum of the National Institutes of Technology (NITs). The NIT Council — the highest decision-making body of the 31 premier engineering schools — met on May 25 to discuss the recommendations of the V K Saraswat committee set up by the HRD Ministry to suggest changes to the NIT curricula. The suggestions of this panel, which the council decided to adopt, include introduction of a new course on the national flagship programmes for all engineering disciplines. “The objective of the course should be to make students ready to contribute to the nation-building programme. The course should cover engineering aspects involved in national flagship schemes to ensure that students are aware of the engineering aspects related to those,” states the Saraswat committee report, which was accessed by The Sunday Express.
The panel, for instance, has recommended that Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, a sanitation and cleanliness campaign rolled out by the NDA government, and Skill India, which aims to provide industry-relevant skill training to youths, should be studied by all NIT students irrespective of their branch of engineering. Similarly, the committee wants all students to know about Make in India, which was rolled out to make India the world’s manufacturing hub. Further, according to the panel, undergraduates pursuing a degree in information technology or electronics should be aware of the engineering component in the Digital India initiative, which aims to make India “a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy”. Students of civil engineering will be expected to study the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation, which focuses on providing basic civic amenities such as water supply, sewage system and urban transport to improve the quality of life in cities.
The Saraswat committee has also suggested that the NITs move from theory to more project-based and technology-enabled learning. NITs must also incorporate courses related to life skills. “A new course ‘Sustainable Engineering’ must be introduced in all the branches. This must be based on a cradle-to-grave approach and address lifecycle analysis, environmental, social and economic impact of a process/product,” the report states.