Engineering Education is education for doing engineering. Like any other education, it is woven into the natural fabric of a society. Engineering education is nothing but response to workforce-needs for each new technology that appears on the economic scene. Therefore, the capacity to adopt and adapt the new technology is an essential qualification of an engineer. And as such, a robust engineering community is essential for achieving a nation’s goal. Thus engineering practice is recognized as a noble profession producing future statesman and leaders of a society.
Till the last decade of the 20th Century, the system of engineering education followed the traditional one-size-fits-all-curriculum. Engineering and engineering practice were not much different. But with the onset of Globalization and Flat World, engineering and engineering practice have become different and will be even more different in the coming years. This is simply because these two phenomena amplify the impact of technology on modern societies, and as a result many jobs are just like a "mouse–click" away from anywhere. The word ‘location’ is fast losing its traditional meaning. In the present age an engineer trained in one country works in another country with different cultures. This is not all. He is dealing with a product assembled in that country but the components of the product are bought from various countries. This is vividly illustrated by Ron Zarella, Chief Executive Officer of Bausch and Lomb: "We make a product called Interplak. The electromechanical design for this home plaque-removal device is done in Germany and Japan. The batteries are supplied from Japan, the motors are built in the Peoples Republic of China, the charging base is made in Hong Kong, the precision-made plastic pieces are manufactured in Atlanta, Georgia, the brush head is made in Ohio, and the final assembly is done in Mexico." Therefore, it is necessary that in the 21st Century engineering education must be:
"Broad based with ample scope for learning beyond the syllabus, substantial reduction of the emphasis on syllabus–centric teaching, attention to innovative learner-centric teaching, excellent communication skills that cross disciplines, cultures and languages".
Thus the message for any engineering institute is: "Either produce Global Engineers or perish."
In view of this we at Sir J C Bose School of Engineering have already taken the following steps within eight (8) months from its beginning:
1. Keeping constant watch on the in-campus activity of the students during the college hours in order to inject strict discipline code.
2. Arranging Concept Classes by renowned professors from premier institutes in order to promote innovative student-centric learning.
3. Arranging regular seminars by renowned professors and researchers to create an environment of learning beyond the syllabus.
4. Arranging innovative 'culturals' and students’ paper contest in order to infuse creativity among the students. These will make them culturally alert and prepare them to work with anyone and anywhere.
5. Organized a national conference on National Conference on Engineering Education (E2NC-2010) in order to expose them to the charm and personality of internationally reputed professors and researchers from IITs, Universities, Indian Space Research Organization, Defense Organization, NGOs, etc.
6. We have already started language classes where teachers are also participating because "Communication is more than a vehicle for transmitting what we know - it also affects what we know."
A Note of Warning:
It will never be possible to teach everything required for a 21st engineer in a 4-year graduate engineering course. As such it has been generally agreed in the world forum that a 4-year engineering course be followed by a 2-year master’s programme. That is,
1. The baccalaureate degree should be considered as a pre-engineering or "engineer in training" degree.
2. Master degree can be recognized as the engineering "professional" degree.
So my advice to the students is
To pursue a career in engineering one should avoid tutorial-home type engineering institutes.
To get mentally alert and be prepared to go in for a master degree before joining a company.
So that at the end of day, we are determined to produce a good crop of engineering graduates with the conviction: "I can be all that I can imagine", "I think, therefore, I am" and "I doubt, therefore, I am".