Indian Engineering Education needs to have a multitasking and multidisciplinary curriculum because the new 'Knowledge Age' is characterised by the pooling of minds, management of knowledge, sharing of expertise and creating winning teams. In this context, technology-enabled solutions offer mankind new hope as they open up newer dimensions of human endeavour. However this necessitates nurturing talent in both engineering and technology and creating capabilities to scale the unscalable.

Much of the 'damage' to engineering education has been done by the rapid and often uncontrolled expansion programme in the name of increasing the gross enrollment ratio without proper care and concern for quality and employability. It is a matter of concern that colleges of engineering are being established in every nook and corner of the country, including in areas where it is difficult to attract faculty and quality students to take up engineering education.

What we have not realised is that engineering institutions are neither chemist shops, nor primary health centres which need to be spread across the country. Rather these are to be seen as focal points that will attract meritorious students from all backgrounds and engage them in the pursuit of engineering and technological excellence - thereby helping to produce people equipped to innovate.

What we should do is set up skill development centres everywhere rather than let engineering institutes mushroom. Once these centres begin to create productive employment there will automatically be a demand for high-end engineering education. We must also recognize that engineering is really an interdisciplinary subject. Whether it is the design and development of an automobile or a highly sophisticated space craft it is interdisciplinary and involves a team of highly specialised yet highly connected disciplines.

The Car is as much mechanical as electrical and requires a high-level knowledge of material engineering, an understanding of human engineering, comfort engineering, intelligent electronics, microprocessor engineering, etc. Likewise, roads, buildings, bridges, and other infrastructure are an amalgamations of civil, mechanical, electronic, computing, clean and green energy technologies; environmental engineering and green building concepts. What more, tomorrow's convergence of info-nano and biologically inspired products and services will call for an altogether new form of engineering both in design and manufacturing.

Keeping all these aspects in mind, our engineering education system needs to consider a multitasking and multidisciplinary curriculum for engineers. We need to foster the culture of design engineering and problem solving as part of our curriculum design and delivery system.


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