Let Youngsters Teach Millennials Centennials
BVR Mohan Reddy, Chairman, Board of Governors, IIT Roorkee and IIT Hyderabad, Founder Chairperson of Cyient, and author of Engineered in India, shares with BW Education his thoughts on transformation needed in engineering education and his vision for research
It’s almost 50 years since I graduated from IIT Kanpur (1974). In the past the source for knowledge was fairly limited. To cite an example, I had an intent of learning about Assembly Line Balancing. I went to look for a specific book in the library but didn’t find it. The librarian told me the book had been issued and it will take two weeks for it to be returned. So, I had the intent to learn, but there was limited access. Whereas now, sitting in the car, travelling from Roorkee to Delhi, there is no dull moment in my life. I learn all the time. Access to knowledge has become extensive. Technology is enabling learning anywhere, anytime.
But the pressure on faculty has changed. With transformation in technology and extensive access to knowledge it’s time for youngsters to come in to handle to Millennials and Centennials whose listening span is no more than 12 minutes and there is enough evidence today for that. After 12 minutes a lecture becomes a monologic. There has to be some activity built in.
Moving on, Learning will become extremely student-centric. Technology is already enabling us to create individual learning paths. Learning is not going to be one-time; you have to learn all the time. People will look forward to more of micro degrees.
Research is being done by academia, but we need translation of that. The reason why translation not being done because industry is not aware of what is being done in institutions. It feels that education institutions are very long-term projects, that they keep doing research and no outcomes are associated with it. There should be trust built between the two. For that, we have started an IIT R&D fair called Inventive on IIT Delhi campus in October. All the IITs participated in it, and we sourced 400 projects, out of which we shortlisted 75 and displayed. A number of inquiries have come. If industry shows interest, the faculty will feel motivated to come up with good and relevant work, instead of publishing in some journal and stopping there.
We are doing many things in the right direction. But I keep saying, what brought us here, will not take us there.