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Engineering colleges urged to improve quality of courses

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HELPING STUDENTS: A section of the gathering at the industry-academia meet on the Infosys campus in Mysore on Tuesday. Photo: M.A. Sriram
HELPING STUDENTS: A section of the gathering at the industry-academia meet on the Infosys campus in Mysore on Tuesday. Photo: M.A. Sriram

Special Correspondent

China may outdo India in IT sector, says Infosys official If they fail, China may outdo India in IT sector, says Infosys official

StatementsNearly four lakh students graduate as engineers in the country each year 75 per cent of them are unemployable Poor quality of graduates will affect information technology sector

MYSORE: Chief Operating Officer of Infosys Technologies Ltd. Kris Gopalakrishnan has expressed fears that China may overtake India in information technology services soon if the quality of technical education is not improved.

He was delivering the keynote address (through videoconferencing) of the two-day industry-academia meeting on the Infosys campus here on Tuesday. The conference is being organised by the National Institute of Engineering, Mysore and the Confederation of Indian Industry to address issues such as participation of industries in curriculum development, management of engineering colleges, redesigning of curriculum to meet industry needs, and ways of disseminating best practices through focussed programmes.

Mr. Gopalkrishnan, who is the Chairman of CII, Karnataka, said India produced nearly four lakh engineers each year, and China six lakh. "If India did not make efforts to revamp the quality of engineering education, it will lose the edge in IT services to China," he said.

He said 75 per cent of engineering graduates were unemployable. IT majors, such as Infosys, Wipro and TCS, were committed to absorbing nearly 80,000 engineering graduates. The IT industry would absorb 50 per cent of technical graduates this year. Other sectors such as construction, retail and automobile, would recruit the remaining students. But industries had to contend with graduates who were poorly trained, he added.

Mr. Gopalkrishnan said the gap between the requirement of industries and the quality of graduates would have an impact on the IT and other sectors, and India faced the risk of being outdone by China. He noted that students demanded world-class education, and there was a growing trend among youth to pursue degree education abroad. About 25 years ago, students went abroad for postgraduate studies, but now the number of students pursuing education after 12th standard was increasing owing to the declining standards in education and students' higher expectations, he said.

He said the thrust should be on providing strong fundamentals as no academic institution could be expected to keep pace with a fast changing field such as computer science. Schools, where fresh graduates could update their knowledge and skills, could take care of the gap, but this could only be a temporary arrangement. Training for faculty members should be addressed, and industry could help in this regard, Mr. Gopalkrishnan said.

R.N. Mathur, Central Project Adviser, Technical Education Quality Improvement Programme, said engineering colleges should look for ventures with industries and establish institutions where graduates could update their knowledge.

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