The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the regulatory body for technical education in the country, has notified that from the next academic session that it will be mandatory for the engineering students to study humanities, social sciences including management, environmental sciences, Indian Constitution and ‘essence of Indian traditional knowledge’.
The new added syllabus is not meant for students in IITs and NITs. The Council has notified this model curriculum for undergraduate courses in engineering which has been approved by the HRD minister. Approximately 3000 engineering institutions in the country will embrace this new announcement.
“This is absolutely necessary as engineering is all about creating something, which has societal benefits. Unless you know the society and its challenges, how will you produce something that’s required? The overall objective of engineering will not be met if engineering students are not taught psychology, aesthetics, well-being of the human society and the ethical issues related to what they create. In IITs almost one-third to one-fifth of the total credits are dedicated to humanities, social sciences, economics and management in various forms. Engineers need to produce applications which have societal benefits,” said Indranil Manna, professor, IIT Kharagpur.
As per the model curriculum, 12 credits are mandatory for a student over his span of four years of the UG programme from humanities and social sciences including management. The engineering institutes will also have to open themselves up to the options of environment and have to do papers on either the Indian Constitution or Essence of Indian Traditional Knowledge. As per the curriculum, these courses are although mandatory, but no credits shall be given to the students for it.
“Right now some institutes offer humanities and other similar courses but it is not mandatory. Universities can decide whether they want to offer English literature, psychology, political science or economics but they have to comply with it. Engineering students need to follow a holistic approach and the programmes will have an inter-disciplinary approach. This will help in their overall growth and development,” said a senior AICTE official.
“Under the environment paper students can be taught about air and water pollution, and global warming, among others, he said. “Under the traditional knowledge category, they will learn about the culture and the knowledge system that was followed in the past. Books will be recommended for this,” said the official.
The AICTE has prepared this model engineering curriculum as per the recommendations of 11 subject committees it had set up for engineering and technical institutes, excluding the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs).
This model curriculum is used as a base by the affiliated universities to prepare their own syllabi.
With this revision, there will be changes in the theoretical classes that shall be brought down from 30 to 20 every week. As per the officials, with this new curriculum, the final semester students shall be in a position to better understand the industry requirements and free to pursue project works.