Not enough PhDs available to meet requirements: IT pioneer

‘Education in crisis at all levels’

September 23, 2017 11:50 pm | Updated September 24, 2017 08:08 am IST - Kozhikode:

Students during the convocation at NIT, Calicut, on Saturday.

Students during the convocation at NIT, Calicut, on Saturday.

The country is not producing enough postgraduates and PhDs to meet faculty needs and requirements in research, design, and innovation, F.C. Kohli, founder chief executive officer, Tata Consultancy Services, has said.

He was participating as the chief guest at the convocation ceremony of National Institute of Technology, Calicut (NIT-C), here on Saturday. Mr. Kohli, often described as the ‘Father of Indian Software Industry’, said the education system for preparing students for PhDs started at the undergraduate level.

“There is a strong correlation between economy and education. Also it is continuing education that sustains economic growth. Today, education is in crisis at all levels. There is a large set of population that remains illiterate,” he said. There is deterioration of learning at primary and secondary schools. School education is of concern, as schools provide the raw material for higher education, Mr. Kohli added.

He said it was time the country paid attention to education and matters that affect education. “Faculties must be encouraged and enabled to be involved in generation of new knowledge. This requires working on collection, structuring and dissemination of new knowledge that may be still in an advanced research stage. Curriculum needs more and frequent changes,” he pointed out.

“It is excellence of education at the undergraduate level that is a prerequisite for graduate school education, research etc. We need to provide autonomy in governance, financial independence, faculty, advanced curriculum, and facilities like libraries and world-class labs,” Mr. Kohli said.

He said the basic assumption that a few years of formal education could provide adequate foundation for a lifetime of professional engineering education was misleading, if not false. “The task is to continuously update knowledge as technology changes. It is essential to design for self-renewal as also to learn about new knowledge and innovation. Unless this is done, we will have obsolescence in our engineering system or engineers who become obsolete and are no longer productive and efficient,” he added.

On future challenges, Mr. Kohli said computerisation was yet to reach 900 million people who do not speak English. There is also a need to provide affordable hardware and software in 22 official Indian languages. Shivaji Chakravorti, Director, NIT-C, and Aruna Jayanthi, Chairperson, Board of Directors, among others, were present.

Women engineers

Mr. Kohli said there was a need to address the issue of women engineers discontinuing their professional life citing family issues.

“Bright women professionals interrupt their career to raise children. In many cases, this interruption becomes life-long. We need to study and come up with suggestions on how not to lose the assets that the country creates in women as engineers,” he added.

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