Faced with great economic and social challenges, India’s potential for development depends on technology and young talent in equal measure, in order to leverage ideas and innovations. Institutions of higher learning will therefore play a crucial role as drivers of innovation and competitiveness. The 21st century will require bold, different, and judiciously chosen approaches, newer implementation strategies, and a new thinking in education in general and technical education in particular. We need a mind-set change in order to provide a student with the kind of education that will prepare her/ him to face the challenges of the 21st century knowledge society.
Based on extensive research and experimentation on newer models of education and learning, I propose a novel institute that integrates my past experiences and thinking with the vast knowledge that exists in the world today – one that I think would be more suitable for this generation. The philosophy and approach of education at this Institute is based on the new paradigm that focuses on students, researchers, and experiential learning rather than on teachers and teaching. It would strive for excellence, by making continuous effort to remain inclusive, equitable, modern, relevant, and current.
The objective is to produce creative, inquisitive, ethical, responsible scholars and global citizens, with sound theoretical basis to address real life, complex, multidisciplinary problems. It would optimize the numerous educational resources freely available globally, along with providing high quality faculty that encourages lateral thinking, self-learning, life-long learning, innovation and creativity, to cater to the young and internet savvy population in the rapidly changing technological world of today. This dynamic and flexible education model is an experiment in new thinking.
The Institute would offer 5-yr Dual Degree MTech, as well as PhD programs in selected engineering disciplines. It would be a dynamic, flexible, and modern program imparting holistic education, semester wise credit based, moving at students’ pace that would produce a highly skilled graduate with critical thinking and problem solving abilities, ready for the market. Students would be free to create their own course of study, based on their passion, integrating their major areas of interest. Throughout the 5-yr program and beyond, a student has to be continuously exposed to a variety of experiences for a holistic education.
I believe that competent and committed faculty is the foremost building block in the development of an academic institution. They would enjoy academic freedom and flexibility to create, innovate and implement new frontiers in teaching and learning; they would focus on research, publications and innovation, contribute to the society through social innovation and entrepreneurship, and do everything that will benefit the student body and the society at large.
The emphasis would be on student-centric active learning, project-based and collaborative learning, team work, problem solving and critical thinking as sound teaching/ learning paradigms, so as to create a suitable classroom environment – the constructivist classroom for this purpose. The classroom architecture should facilitate discussion, dialogue, team activity, collaboration, cooperation, and effective use of technology.
I expect this book to be useful to teachers, educators, parents, entrepreneurs, professional societies, change agents, policy makers, Corporate & Business leaders, and community. It is my sincere hope that those who wish to improve and modernize existing technological and scientific institutions, and establish new institutions will benefit from this effort, not only in India but in several other countries of the world.
These are exciting times, and a new challenge and opportunity exist for public and private players to offer education and learning in dramatic new ways that will propel the country to global levels of excellence, and make a real difference to the society at large. Let us work together, my dear students, colleagues, private and public enterprises, and the state and central governments, and make it happen and soon.
Get a deeper preview of the book and myself in this video of the book launch: