After students of arts and science and humanities of the Avinashilingam Deemed University for Women got an opportunity to suggest changes in their respective curricula, it was the turn of the engineering students of the same university.
The Faculty of Engineering of the university located at Pannimadai organised a two-day workshop on “Curriculum Re-structuring” with two moderators to take them through the proceedings.
The workshop discussions were divided into three sections – technical skills, job skills and life skills. The discussions were based on the premise that curriculum was not merely syllabus. Syllabus should be considered as part and parcel of the curriculum. Apart from this, curriculum includes co-curricular and extra curricular activities as well as other aspects that comprise the total educational environment.
The exercise was held on the basis that a competent curriculum will bring a turn around in the acceptability of the degree concerned in the corporate world. Therefore, revising or redesigning the curriculum continuously to keep up with the ever-changing expectations of the society is very essential.
The workshop was designed with the objective of preparing students to excel, provide a solid foundation in core competencies, inculcate professional and ethical attitudes, and an academic environment.
Under the technical skills section, the suggestions put forth included stress on the core knowledge of the discipline and integration of theory and practice, need for generic transferable skills, and student-based teaching and capacity building.
Under the job skills, the suggestions included need for increased co-curricular aspects, competitive / entrance examinations, and technology-driven skills.
Under the life skills, the recommendations called for more service to community, emphasis on culture, value and ethics, and functional skills.
Moderators P.V. Mohanram, Dean (Autonomous), PSG College of Technology, and A. Kandasamy, Head, Biomedical Instrumentation Engineering, PSG College of Technology, said that students had put in much ground work and come out with bright ideas in all the skill areas that were discussed at the workshop.
Such suggestions would help in the university restructuring the curriculum to being it on a par with world-class universities, they pointed out.
The also appreciated the importance the students gave to the role of women engineers in the family and society.
Other than the section-based suggestions, there were also a few others that the students made on a general level. They called for introducing one-credit courses by industry experts, credits for open-book tests, credits for club activities for technical and non-technical events, credits for yoga, ethics, meditation, fine arts and community services, and total flexibility in the credit system
They also stressed the need for a practice school, training of junior students by senior students for placements and also other technical areas, provision for accelerated electives, bundling of theory and laboratory in one group, and viva-voce examinations for theory subjects too.
Other recommendations made included a need for a five-year sandwich programme with industry partnership, dual-degree and student-exchange programmes, and setting up of business clubs.
Vice-Chancellor of the university Sheela Ramachandran said the main goal of conducting the workshop was to help students transform global problems into engineering ones and then find suitable solutions for them. Since they were the main stakeholders, the responsibility to improve the curriculum greatly rested with them.