National Mission on Education through ICT to revolutionise engineering curriculum

Realising the importance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) the Ministry of Human Resource Development as per the Mission Document believes ICT is the tool in education available to enhance the current enrolment rate in Higher Education from 10 percent at present to 15 percent by the end of the 11th Plan period.

The MHRD came up with the National Mission on Education through ICT (NMEICT) in 2008 – 09. It invited proposals from Institutions all over India, it has also approved several projects of which most of them being anchored by some or the other IIT. 

The Ministry also launched a web portal named “SAKSHAT” a ‘One Stop Education Portal’. The high quality e-content once developed will be uploaded on SAKSHAT in all disciplines and subjects. Several projects are in the completion stage and are expected to change the way teaching and learning is done in India.

The case in point is the project, “Developing suitable pedagogical methods for various classes, intellectual calibres and research in e-learning,” anchored by IIT Kharagpur. Faculties from all the IITs and several NITs are participating in this curriculum development project.

According to Anup K Ray, the Principal Investigator of the project explained to India Education Review as, “The pilot phase is already circulating amongst handpicked people about 300 to 400 people and the number is increasing gradually. We are adding more and more people and giving access and we are expecting that the project will be available for general public by the march 2012.”

He further added, “It is an outcome-based curriculum document covering a sample list of core engineering courses at bachelor’s level, in selected disciplines, involving a very large number of eminent faculty members and experts spread across the country. Usually a curriculum is written in half a page in this case a curriculum document will be written in 300 pages. There are 570 people involved in this project”

The concept of outcome based education being comparatively new and there is very little expertise in the country in this area. Faculty members and experts involved in this project are those, who possess considerable domain knowledge.

The new curriculum document is expected to bring a major shift from the currently prevalent teaching learning methodologies, moving away from the traditional teacher-centric approach to largely student-centric approach. It will combine the strength of face to face teaching with the power of technology enhanced learning, laying emphasis on blended learning, attempting to introduce concepts such as problem based learning and collaborative group learning. It is expected to combine the best practices in pedagogy with appropriate e-learning tools to take care of the individual differences amongst learners of various classes and intellectual calibres. 

According to Professor Ray the development of this curriculum is also important because India is on the verge of signing the Washington Accord (an International accord on education). In this curriculum instead of providing readymade fully structured course material, students will be required to consult appropriate learning resources such as chapters in specified books or journals, use of audio-video resources, refer to appropriate websites suggested by the course designer, study any suggested animation sequence/photographs/datasheets/diagrams and notes provided by the author. Students will also be encouraged to consult peers and mentors whenever required.

They will be asked to submit assignments on a regular basis either in text format or PPT and this whole process will make students judge themselves on their understanding of the course.

According to Professor Ray, “It is a very futuristic project and I do not expect any immediate result out of this project. Some immediate problems have been to familiarise faculty with outcome based education, to write curriculum document for future and organise engineering education of the future.

The document will be freely available on the SAKSHAT portal once the project gets completed. “My intention is to make it freely accessible to everybody but this is a very different project altogether it not just content development. It is what a student will be able to do at the end of the course of the study,” added Professor Ray.

For India to emerge as knowledge super power of the world in the shortest possible time it is imperative to convert our demographic advantage into knowledge powerhouse by nurturing and honing our working population into knowledge or knowledge enabled working population.

The project detail, people and institutions involved in the project can be accessed on the official website of “Developing suitable pedagogical methods for various classes, intellectual calibres and research in e-learning,” at, http://pedagogy.iitkgp.ernet.in/index.html

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