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[Education] State of Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering in India
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rupen
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 4:42 am    Post subject: [Education] State of Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering in India Reply with quote

Dear SEFIans:

Greetings, and welcome to the much-awaited e-conference on "State of Structural Engineering" in India. In any successful profession, good "education" is essential for good "practice". For Civil and Structural engineering too, this is expected. But, is it really the case today in India? If not, what are the reasons for that, and what could be the way forward? Before we delve into these, it would be worthy to look back at our journey so far with regard to Civil Engineering and Structural Engineering, in particular, education in modern India.

No doubt, Civil engineering was, and was considered, to be a noble profession both pre- and post-Independence. Civil engineering was a necessity to ‘Build the Nation". To develop quality human resource to help achieve that goal, the IITs were set up too in the 1960s. Nothing but "education" was at the forefront both in the minds of the teachers as well as students. Civil engineers did great.

But, once the dust settled, it was observed that other disciplines had progressed, probably, a bit too far. Civil engineers continued to work, but silently. Also, due to various social and economic reasons, the scope and pace of work stagnated too. Students were beginning to look outside their classrooms… the decline had begun.

With economic liberalization, came a new phase in Civil engineering in India, but unfortunately, Civil engineering was not liberated. With opportunities elsewhere, students no longer wanted to become Civil Engineers, but just engineering degree holders. This remains true, to a large extent, even today!

This new situation had a dangerous effect on education. Students were no longer interested in education, or profession at least, – they were interested in "job" (but, who would blame them for that? Everybody deserves, and wants, a "better" life). With decline in sincerity came decline in quality. To cope with the situation, academia shifted focus from "teaching" to "research".

And just then, came the big revolution – opening of hundreds and thousands of engineering colleges across the country (disclaimer: some are really doing great today, but let us focus on the norm). Everyone wanted a degree, with little regard for education. "Quantity" became more important than "quality"!

Academia too fell for this trap! Along with numerous global rankings coming up every other day and taxpayers’ question of "what have you done?", academia hinged on quantity against quality to justify their existence too! Quality of professionals produced for the society cannot be measured, but numbers of projects, publications, and students graduated do help in getting better ranking. This constant pressure led to one simple thing - "teaching" and "learning" took backseats!

The result was diversion of focus from "educating and training" to "graduating", often, even undeserving candidates. The easy way out to achieve this was dilution of curriculum. For records, considering all forms of mechanics, analysis and design courses to be part of Structural Engineering curriculum, earlier a student would take at least 6-7 such courses in an undergraduate degree programme in Civil Engineering. Today, top institutes in the country, including in IITs, are contemplating having only ONE analysis and design subject each as part of CORE curriculum in Civil Engineering. Is this fact not enough to describe the "State of Structural Engineering"? We seem to have lost our senses by the catch-phrase "rounded" development of our students; "sharpness" of mind is no longer important – academia is mandated to offer more "free" electives than "core" subjects.

The game of quantity has led to an appalling situation – today, there are many institutions but little infrastructure and good teaching resources, too many colleges but few qualified (rather capable) teachers, innumerable graduates but few competent professionals. Only now, have we realized what we have done to our beloved profession – today, we talk about, probably trying to salvage our profession through, "continuing" education opportunities. But, what about basic education? A recent article reported that about 80% of engineering graduates in the country are unemployable, even in non-core sectors!

In this situation, does "industry" have a role to play? Today, there is tremendous need for Structural Engineering for the next re-building of the Nation. Can the Structural engineering fraternity seize this opportunity to showcase the demand for their profession? If they do, can they not then demand better professionals out of academia and "treat them well" both financially as well as intellectually? Today’s market is "demand" driven. If the Industry demands better professionals, and students see potential in the profession, will this jinx not break? With little help from industry (probably an important issue that needs focused deliberations), can academia not spring back in action? Can Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering and Structural Engineering profession not prosper again in India?

On behalf of SEFI, I welcome all SEFIans to join us on this e-conference and discuss this critical aspect of the profession of Structural Engineering in India. In the end, we expect to come up with deliverables to take Education in Structural Engineering to new heights in India in near future, with focus on "industry-academia partnership".

With warm regards…
Rupen Goswami

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ladies and gentlemen,Firstly, I would like to thank the organisers for taking up this important issue.I believe that it's a fair observation that the quality of engineering graduates has deteriorated rapidly over the last 2-3 decades. Engineering colleges have sprouted everywhere like mushrooms, churning out thousands of fresh graduates every year. However, the focus seems to be on quantity rather than on quality, and only the top few percent of these graduates can be considered to be suitable for a responsible position.I have even seen grossly unsuitable candidates being admitted to PG programmes, where their attitude seems to be "now that I've got an admission, I MUST get an MTech degree as a matter of course".Of course, their façade falls apart with a few questions in an interview. However, I would like this conference to discuss:

  1. How to ensure quality of engg graduates when their ability seems to be unrelated with thier academic score
  2. How to force engg colleges to upgrade their academic standards
  3. How to make academic grades more representative of actual ability of the student.

Thanking you,

A S Oundhakar,
Invictus Consultancy Services,
Mumbai
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:00 am    Post subject: [Education] State of Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering in India Reply with quote

dear friends, All engineers are worried about their profession.Government is totally  responsible.Private universities are working as business enterprise.even average student  can get admission in such poor quality universities.you must have come across the news  that IIT Roorkee and IIT KANPUR have detained students who could not succeed in their  first semester.some times news is coming that student have committed suicide. quality of education in all fields have deteriorated. there is no license for practicing engineers.no effective regulator by govt. to monitor the education being imparted in our  universities.No postgraduate engineer is willing to accept field job to learn.There is no  alternative to him except to work as consultant.He is willing to charge the lowest fee  for his/her services.Architects too encourage awarding work to such engineers.The quality  of drawings produced will not be accepted in any other country.contractor is not legally  bound to produce shop drawings. software used in day to day work have reduced the time  consumed for analysis.so architects are not willing to pay. The most worried point is that economic growth is not matching with the production of  engineers from universities.you can not distinguish between good and bad.Every engineer  coming from private university is first class graduate.in UK there is professional body  like The Institution of structural Engineers,who holds examination and awards license to  practice.But there is no such body in India.There is no engineering council in India.No  proper faculty for new IIT recently opened.Guest lectures are conducting classes in  private universities. we engineers are helpless lot.unless the govt. is interested in  regulating and improving the quality of education in all fields,nothing can be  achieved.Engineers shall insist on passing a bill for Engineers like Architects.Protect  the title of Engineer.engineers with five years experience shall only certify the design  of structures.Syllabus at B.E. level shall be improved.specialization shall be introduced  like structures,highways and transportation etc etc. Many times structures fall,but no body is interested.Many causalities get unnoticed.Life  is very cheap in India.Many things i can not write.our fate is in the hand of  politicians.Lowest tenderer is awarded the work by compromising the quality.how many  Indian companies have been given contract in international market.We are a lion on our  own turf.Indian are willing to accept the poor quality.Now some good Builders have come  in to the construction of housing.compare any govt. housing construction and private  construction.we must approach govt. to regulate the engineering profession on American or  British system of licensing.Doctors,dentists and lawyers have their license to practice.  please think on this line. regards satya paul  On Mon, 08 Feb 2016 10:15:36 +0530 "rupen"  wrote >                   Dear SEFIans: >  > Greetings, and welcome to the much-awaited e-conference on "State of Structural  Engineering" in India. In any successful profession, good "education" is essential for  good "practice". For Civil and Structural engineering too, this is expected. But, is it  really the case today in India? If not, what are the reasons for that, and what could be  the way forward? Before we delve into these, it would be worthy to look back at our  journey so far with regard to Civil Engineering and Structural Engineering, in  particular, education in modern India. >  > No doubt, Civil engineering was, and was considered, to be a noble profession both pre-  and post-Independence. Civil engineering was a necessity to ‘Build the Nation". To  develop quality human resource to help achieve that goal, the IITs were set up too in the  1960s. Nothing but "education" was at the forefront both in the minds of the teachers as  well as students. Civil engineers did great.  >  > But, once the dust settled, it was observed that other disciplines had progressed,  probably, a bit too far. Civil engineers continued to work, but silently. Also, due to  various social and economic reasons, the scope and pace of work stagnated too. Students  were beginning to look outside their classrooms… the decline had begun. >  > With economic liberalization, came a new phase in Civil engineering in India, but  unfortunately, Civil engineering was not liberated. With opportunities elsewhere,  students no longer wanted to become Civil Engineers, but just engineering degree holders.  This remains true, to a large extent, even today! >  > This new situation had a dangerous effect on education. Students were no longer  interested in education, or profession at least,  they were interested in "job" (but,  who would blame them for that? Everybody deserves, and wants, a "better" life). With  decline in sincerity came decline in quality. To cope with the situation, academia  shifted focus from "teaching" to "research". >  > And just then, came the big revolution  opening of hundreds and thousands of engineering  colleges across the country (disclaimer: some are really doing great today, but let us  focus on the norm). Everyone wanted a degree, with little regard for education.  "Quantity" became more important than "quality"!  >  > Academia too fell for this trap! Along with numerous global rankings coming up every  other day and taxpayers’ question of "what have you done?", academia hinged on quantity  against quality to justify their existence too! Quality of professionals produced for the  society cannot be measured, but numbers of projects, publications, and students graduated  do help in getting better ranking. This constant pressure led to one simple thing -  "teaching" and "learning" took backseats! >  > The result was diversion of focus from "educating and training" to "graduating", often,  even undeserving candidates. The easy way out to achieve this was dilution of curriculum.  For records, considering all forms of mechanics, analysis and design courses to be part  of Structural Engineering curriculum, earlier a student would take at least 6-7 such  courses in an undergraduate degree programme in Civil Engineering. Today, top institutes  in the country, including in IITs, are contemplating having only ONE analysis and design  subject each as part of CORE curriculum in Civil Engineering. Is this fact not enough to  describe the "State of Structural Engineering"? We seem to have lost our senses by the  catch-phrase "rounded" development of our students; "sharpness" of mind is no longer  important  academia is mandated to offer more "free" electives than "core" subjects. >  > The game of quantity has led to an appalling situation  today, there are many  institutions but little infrastructure and good teaching resources, too many colleges but  few qualified (rather capable) teachers, innumerable graduates but few competent  professionals. Only now, have we realized what we have done to our beloved profession   today, we talk about, probably trying to salvage our profession through, "continuing"  education opportunities. But, what about basic education? A recent article reported that  about 80% of engineering graduates in the country are unemployable, even in non-core  sectors! >  > In this situation, does "industry" have a role to play? Today, there is tremendous need  for Structural Engineering for the next re-building of the Nation. Can the Structural  engineering fraternity seize this opportunity to showcase the demand for their  profession? If they do, can they not then demand better professionals out of academia and  "treat them well" both financially as well as intellectually? Today’s market is "demand"  driven. If the Industry demands better professionals, and students see potential in the  profession, will this jinx not break? With little help from industry (probably an  important issue that needs focused deliberations), can academia not spring back in  action? Can Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering and Structural Engineering  profession not prosper again in India? >  > On behalf of SEFI, I welcome all SEFIans to join us on this e-conference and discuss this  critical aspect of the profession of Structural Engineering in India. In the end, we  expect to come up with deliverables to take Education in Structural Engineering to new  heights in India in near future, with focus on "industry-academia partnership". >  > With warm regards… > Rupen Goswami >       > >  >  > --

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ashish.mane333
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear All,
We all haveopinion that quality/ technical ability of fresh graduates are decreasingmainly because of too many engineering colleges, ineffective syllabus, inexperiencedor ineffective staff, too many students are getting pass out in one year etc.
Okay, But Ithink what we are getting back is response from colleges, students, parent and societyto our/ companies way of working, expectations of owners and top management ofcompanies, our / companies unethical and unprofessional way of working. Beloware some points which led me to this conclusion.

  1. Company’stop management and owners don’t care too much about technical things. They are happywith minimum technical standards. Nowadays minimum technical standard meansgreen color in STAAD or other software’s. What they care is only about moreprofit, expanding their organization etc.  To gain more profit, to keep client happy andfind new client is there primary and only concern.  To achieve this they don’t care if employs hasto work for 10-12 hrs per day or even more (some even pay bribes).  Just think how many of us are able to leaveoffice happily after 8hrs of work daily? And whether people from other developed countries work more than 8hrs ?

  2. Ifsome good graduate enters an organization and performs good, then after 2 to 3years his growth does not depend upon how good he technically is but dependsupon whether he is working  more than8hrs a day and also making his subordinate work more than 8hrs a day (by pressurizing,forcing etc.).
    In short his growth depends upon how quickly he is able to adapt and implementthese dirty management tricks and politics.

  3. Ourcompany structures are such that, if a person starts his career into design ofbridge then he is going to do the same for rest of his life. If after 4 or 5years he think he wants to enter into something different then he will not getsame salary or even be considered as fresher in new field. Because of this acompany has very well established procedure and lots of experienced people in thefield in which they operate.  So even if anaverage graduate enters a company or organization, he well get easily trained becausethere is well established procedure which he has to follow without asking toomuch of questions. If he makes mistake then there are lot of people how caneasily identify it because they are doing same from many years. Company owners knowthese things and that’s why they don’t care too much about technical things.

  4. Manycompanies pays bribe to get projects, so where the question of technicalability comes.
In short, wecan conclude if you have to be successful in structural engineering or evenengineering field, then what we have to do is blindly follow the procedure offirm or company (which requires minimum technical standard) , work more than8hrs daily and learn, apply dirty management tricks, may even should be able topay bribes.
Nowcolleges, parents, society and even students have realize these things, theyunderstand more than technical ability others things matters, so why to spend suchefforts in technical things.
That’s why todays graduate may have lesstechnical abilities but have strong management or adapting capabilities.
Iunderstand not all companies or top management peoples are like that but majorityof them are like that.
One of ourvery respected SEFI member, expressed in one of his post that to get aproject  you should have contacts orinfluence (Pull the strings). If such a reputed and respected structuralengineer has such opinion about Indian structural / civil engineering industry,then wat we should expect from colleges, students and society.
So my finalconclusion is rather then emphasizing so much on education system, structuralengineering fees, first we should think our way of working. Once we improvethat other things will get automatically improved.
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nrk
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In his world’s most watched TED talk titled ‘Do schools kill creativity?’1, Sir Ken Robinson asserts that the whole purpose of public education throughout the world is to produce university professors. He also contends that creativity is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status. In structural engineering education, the counterpart to creativity is innovation and the counterpart to literacy is the theory of structural design as per the prevalent national codes of practice.
                             
Structural design of any structure is done in three phases, viz., conceptual design, preliminary design and detailed design. Innovation plays a key role in conceptual design and preliminary design. Detailed or member design is usually done by the blind adherence to the prescriptions of the prevailing national codes. Conceptual and preliminary designs are not given their due importance in most of the structural engineering curriculums across the world.
                             
Since the past few decades, there has been a growing concern among the experienced engineers in the UK and the USA about the risk of the young engineers using the computer as an alternative to the understanding of the behaviour of structures. In the early 1970’s, Dr. David Brohn devised a test for an understanding of structural behaviour. The control group for the test was the graduate entry to the Arup Partnership. The results of the test revealed a surprising deficiency and the course ‘Understanding Structural Behaviour’ was devised for the Arup Partnership.2 The course revealed that even engineers of many years experience are less than secure in applying this understanding. He has continued to provide the training course for many of the world’s leading firms of structural engineers.
                             
In their report titled ‘The Teaching of Structural Analysis’3, to The Ove Arup Foundation, Prof. Ian M. May and Dr. David Johnson suggested that conceptual design, approximate analysis, the use of case studies, the limitations of analysis procedures, discussion on the reasons why design calculations do not reflect real behaviour, an introduction to more formal validation and verification processes of computer analyses would all have important roles to play in the design of academic courses.
                             
In the UK, ‘Constructionarium’4 and ‘Seeing and touching structural concepts’5 are a couple of examples where the universities have taken initiatives to provide students better understanding of the behaviour of structures and the construction process. In the USA, the National Council of Structural Engineers' Associations (NCSEA) recommends that structural engineering students receive instruction in the NCSEA structural engineering curriculum, which was developed by practitioners and educators, to improve the quality of structural engineering education.6
                             
Prof. Guy Nordenson, in his interview with Alex Beers and Michaela Glaser, class of 2011, at the Princeton University7, classified innovative structural engineers into structural artists, as defined by Prof. David Billington, collaborators and technicians. He goes on to explain how each category are innovators in their own right.

A balanced structural engineering education should cater to the needs of the prospective structural artists, collaborators and technicians as well. However, that is not the case with the structural engineering curriculum being followed at majority of the universities. In his memo titled ‘In search of Brunel’8, to the president of MIT, the late Mr. Charles Correa suggested that MIT, being a premier engineering institute should create a holistic engineering curriculum taking a cue from the architecture curriculum.                    

  • References:
                                                                                                                         

    1. https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity/transcript?language=en                                                                                                                             
    2. http://www.newparadigms.co.uk/aboutus.asp
                                                                                                                                            

    3. http://www.ovearupfoundation.org/oaf/wp-content/uploads/2005/01/TeachStructAnalysis.pdf
                                                                                                                                                 

    4. http://www.constructionarium.co.uk
                                                                                                                                                 

    5. http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/project/teaching/civil/structuralconcepts/Introduction/background.php
                                                                                                                                             

    6. http://www.ncsea.com/downloads/committee/docs/NCSEA%20Recommended%20Structural%20Engineering%20Curriculum1.pdf
                                                                                                                                                 

    7. http://www.princeton.edu/engineering/video/player/?id=6034
                                                                                                                                               

    8. http://www.charlescorrea.net/pdfs/essay03.pdf                                                                                                                                                                                                   

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N. Prabhakar
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Sefians,

There is a general complaint by structural engineering consultancy firms that fresh graduates coming out of our present day engineering colleges, including IITs, are not up to the mark, and require further training to be given for few months to make them useful to the firm.

Complaints of this sort are no doubt genuine, but in my opinion, this can be sorted out with the inter-action of academics and the practicing structural engineers.  I would like to suggest the following on this matter:

1. Colleges should invite practicing structural engineers periodically to give lectures on case studies of actual projects carried out by them, with reference to methods of structural analysis adopted,  the codes of practice used, and presentation of detail drawings prepared by them for the project.

2. The degree course curriculum should include a topic on structural behaviour of various types of structures in reinforced concrete and structural steel under different combinations of loads, both overall and local, as it would help in designing the structural elements and connection of joints, etc.

3. The degree course curriculum should include the topic on the use of current codes of practice for reinforced concrete and structural steel as structural elements.

4. The degree course curriculum should also include preparation and checking of detail drawings for reinforced concrete and structural steel work, as these are done in practice.

The above curriculum may not even carry additional marks to the present evaluation of passing the degree course, but it would certainly enrich the student's knowledge on the practical aspect of structural engineering, if they are really interested to pursue their career in this field.

With the above suggestion, I am sure that the fresh graduates would be immediately useful to the consulting firms they are employed.

With best wishes,

N. Prabhakar
Chartered Structural Engineer
Vasai (E), Pin 401 208
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Ankur Shah
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 2:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear all,
               
Most of suggestions given can be implemented on an ideal conditions. Reality is quite different. Situations in average & below average colleges is pathetic.

1) & Most important is "APATHY" of Government body, universities etc.
They just want number of students to pass irrespective of their capability.

a) Most of question asked in Exams are too easy for them to solve & are repetitive in nature . It seems universities want to pass all students. My university has textbooks up to 8th Semester.

b) Norms of AICTE & other Government bodies are ignored in general (yes, they are on paper only) . (Most of Self financed colleges don't have a proper laboratory infrastructure, Average Actual Faculty to Student ratio in most colleges > 1:35. Almost all colleges (Except for premier institutes generate fake data in websites), Low salary to Teachers/Engineer, Lack of infrastructure/Budget.

c) Since university has to fill in seats,  Irrespective of his % or mental capability students can opt for engineering. (Students around 35% marks).
(Scenario is good in B. Arch. where NATA exam is compulsory)

d) Improper inspections by AICTE & Universities.

e) Course upgradation to level of professional working scenarios.

It is simple "Students will work hard to get through or learn engineering".

The fact is rather than raising  the bar or level of education we have reduced it to the bottom and so the understanding of students is reduced.

Education rather than practical learning has to reduced to mere class room teaching. (Every other aspect is on paper only). India had gurukuls which were practical classroom. Commercialisation has taken practicality away from it leaving for mere classrooms.

"We cannot change every individual or organisation nature or can tell them to follow code of ethics (no one will really do)".
Unless the government interferes by imposing penalty, cancelling registrations of college the situation will worsen and quality of students will decrease in years to come.

Regards,
Ankur Shah
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 5:00 am    Post subject: [Education] State of Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering in India Reply with quote

dear mr.n.prabhakar, you are a learned person with lot of experience in design of structures.i was working with german company in Iraq.what they say.i am reproducing it here.fishermen do not fly aeroplanes,you need trained pilots.by reading a book one can not learn swimming.no country will transfer the latest technology to your country.we have spent years on research work and spend money on it.tell me which country can produce Mercedes Benz like car.engine will not open till it has run 400,000 km.can you run high speed trains.your country is labour supplying country.in our country only few projects like Metro rail is up to the international standard.our country is spending crores on highway construction.all highways will last hardly ten years.There is no rigid quality control.university professors get job by seniority.they do not go to the field for work.work is awarded to the lowest tenderer,with out looking for quality.strcutural engineers are appointed by the architects,who charges minimum.where is the merit recognition.quota system is prevailing for catching votes.recommendations are prominent.concrete shall not be plastered.which project it is not happening.poor quality of shutteinng is used.i do not want to name a minster of another country.what he said i am going to narrate to my fellow engineers.labour and material cost is the same.difference is only on supervision.therefore for little extra we employ european engineers not indian.our engineers work like babus.junior engineers are only supervising the jobs.in the international market,no country wants to give the job to Indian contractors.no shop drawings are produced by the contractor and certified by the structural engineers.total setup right from design to implementation is to be overhauled.Government is not going to help.only private industry and the employer can help.compare the quality of bridges in india and USA and eurpoe.even parapet wall is geometrically not matching.up and downs can be noticed.strcutural engineers can ensure correct design,but who will implement them.country's image is what we produce.made in idia goods are not preferred over european produced goods. please take criticism on healthy spirit.concerted effort is required at all levels.please excuse me if i have heart any one.character of a nation is more important.every citizen is interested to make money by hook and crook.poor quality cheap goods from china have flooded our country.Business houses too get chinese goods manufactured in their company name.My experience is unless leaders are willing to improve,nothing is possible. regards satya paul  On Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:59:15 +0530 "N. Prabhakar"  wrote >                   Dear Sefians, >  > There is a general complaint by structural engineering consultancy firms that fresh graduates coming out of our present day engineering colleges, including IITs, are not up to the mark, and require further training to be given for few months to make them useful to the firm. >  > Complaints of this sort are no doubt genuine, but in my opinion, this can be sorted out with the inter-action of academics and the practicing structural engineers. I would like to suggest the following on this matter: >  > 1. Colleges should invite practicing structural engineers periodically to give lectures on case studies of actual projects carried out by them, with reference to methods of structural analysis adopted, the codes of practice used, and presentation of detail drawings prepared by them for the project. >  > 2. The degree course curriculum should include a topic on structural behaviour of various types of structures in reinforced concrete and structural steel under different combinations of loads, both overall and local, as it would help in designing the structural elements and connection of joints, etc. >  > 3. The degree course curriculum should include the topic on the use of current codes of practice for reinforced concrete and structural steel as structural elements. >  > 4. The degree course curriculum should also include preparation and checking of detail drawings for reinforced concrete and structural steel work, as these are done in practice. >  > The above curriculum may not even carry additional marks to the present evaluation of passing the degree course, but it would certainly enrich the student's knowledge on the practical aspect of structural engineering, if they are really interested to pursue their career in this field. >  > With the above suggestion, I am sure that the fresh graduates would be immediately useful to the consulting firms they are employed. >  > With best wishes, >  > N. Prabhakar > Chartered Structural Engineer > Vasai (E), Pin 401 208       > >  >  > --

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:00 am    Post subject: [Education] State of Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering in India Reply with quote

In his world’s most watched TED talk titled ‘Do schools kill creativity?’1, Sir Ken Robinson asserts that the whole purpose of public education throughout the world is to produce university professors. He also contends that creativity is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status. In structural engineering education, the counterpart to creativity is innovation and the counterpart to literacy is the theory of structural design as per the prevalent national codes of practice.                             Structural design of any structure is done in three phases, viz., conceptual design, preliminary design and detailed design. Innovation plays a key role in conceptual design and preliminary design. Detailed or member design is usually done by the blind adherence to the prescriptions of the prevailing national codes. Conceptual and preliminary designs are not given their due importance in most of the structural engineering curriculums across the world.                             Since the past few decades, there has been a growing concern among the experienced engineers in the UK and the USA about the risk of the young engineers using the computer as an alternative to the understanding of the behaviour of structures. In the early 1970’s, Dr. David Brohn devised a test for an understanding of structural behaviour. The control group for the test was the graduate entry to the Arup Partnership. The results of the test revealed a surprising deficiency and the course ‘Understanding Structural Behaviour’ was devised for the Arup Partnership.2 The course revealed that even engineers of many years experience are less than secure in applying this understanding. He has continued to provide the training course for many of the world’s leading firms of structural engineers.                             In their report titled ‘The Teaching of Structural Analysis’3, to The Ove Arup Foundation, Prof. Ian M. May and Dr. David Johnson suggested that conceptual design, approximate analysis, the use of case studies, the limitations of analysis procedures, discussion on the reasons why design calculations do not reflect real behaviour, an introduction to more formal validation and verification processes of computer analyses would all have important roles to play in the design of academic courses.                             In the UK, ‘Constructionarium’4 and ‘Seeing and touching structural concepts’5 are a couple of examples where the universities have taken initiatives to provide students better understanding of the behaviour of structures and the construction process. In the USA, the National Council of Structural Engineers' Associations (NCSEA) recommends that structural engineering students receive instruction in the NCSEA structural engineering curriculum, which was developed by practitioners and educators, to improve the quality of structural engineering education.6                            Prof. Guy Nordenson, in his interview with Alex Beers and Michaela Glaser, class of 2011, at the Princeton University7, classified innovative structural engineers into structural artists (as defined by Prof. David Billington), collaborators and technicians. He goes on to explain how each category are innovators in their own right. 
A balanced structural engineering education should cater to the needs of the prospective structural artists, collaborators and technicians as well. However, that is not the case with the structural engineering curriculum being followed at majority of the universities. In his memo titled ‘In search of Brunel’8, to the president of MIT, the late Mr. Charles Correa suggested that MIT, being a premier engineering institute should create a holistic engineering curriculum taking a cue from the architecture curriculum.                     

References:                                                                                                
  1. https://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity/transcript?language=en                                                                                                                            
  2. http://www.newparadigms.co.uk/aboutus.asp 
  3. http://www.ovearupfoundation.org/oaf/wp-content/uploads/2005/01/TeachStructAnalysis.pdf                                                                                                                   
  4. http://www.constructionarium.co.uk                                                                                                                                      
  5. http://www.mace.manchester.ac.uk/project/teaching/civil/structuralconcepts/Introduction/background.php                                                                                                                                      
  6. http://www.ncsea.com/downloads/committee/docs/NCSEA%20Recommended%20Structural%20Engineering%20Curriculum1.pdf 
  7. http://www.princeton.edu/engineering/video/player/?id=6034 
  8. http://www.charlescorrea.net/pdfs/essay03.pdf                                                                                                                          

On 8 February 2016 at 10:13, rupen <forum@sefindia.org (forum@sefindia.org)> wrote:
Quote:
           Dear SEFIans:

Greetings, and welcome to the much-awaited e-conference on "State of Structural Engineering" in India. In any successful profession, good "education" is essential for good "practice". For Civil and Structural engineering too, this is expected. But, is it really the case today in India? If not, what are the reasons for that, and what could be the way forward? Before we delve into these, it would be worthy to look back at our journey so far with regard to Civil Engineering and Structural Engineering, in particular, education in modern India.

No doubt, Civil engineering was, and was considered, to be a noble profession both pre- and post-Independence. Civil engineering was a necessity to ‘Build the Nation". To develop quality human resource to help achieve that goal, the IITs were set up too in the 1960s. Nothing but "education" was at the forefront both in the minds of the teachers as well as students. Civil engineers did great.

But, once the dust settled, it was observed that other disciplines had progressed, probably, a bit too far. Civil engineers continued to work, but silently. Also, due to various social and economic reasons, the scope and pace of work stagnated too. Students were beginning to look outside their classrooms… the decline had begun.

With economic liberalization, came a new phase in Civil engineering in India, but unfortunately, Civil engineering was not liberated. With opportunities elsewhere, students no longer wanted to become Civil Engineers, but just engineering degree holders. This remains true, to a large extent, even today!

This new situation had a dangerous effect on education. Students were no longer interested in education, or profession at least,  they were interested in "job" (but, who would blame them for that? Everybody deserves, and wants, a "better" life). With decline in sincerity came decline in quality. To cope with the situation, academia shifted focus from "teaching" to "research".

And just then, came the big revolution  opening of hundreds and thousands of engineering colleges across the country (disclaimer: some are really doing great today, but let us focus on the norm). Everyone wanted a degree, with little regard for education. "Quantity" became more important than "quality"!

Academia too fell for this trap! Along with numerous global rankings coming up every other day and taxpayers’ question of "what have you done?", academia hinged on quantity against quality to justify their existence too! Quality of professionals produced for the society cannot be measured, but numbers of projects, publications, and students graduated do help in getting better ranking. This constant pressure led to one simple thing - "teaching" and "learning" took backseats!

The result was diversion of focus from "educating and training" to "graduating", often, even undeserving candidates. The easy way out to achieve this was dilution of curriculum. For records, considering all forms of mechanics, analysis and design courses to be part of Structural Engineering curriculum, earlier a student would take at least 6-7 such courses in an undergraduate degree programme in Civil Engineering. Today, top institutes in the country, including in IITs, are contemplating having only ONE analysis and design subject each as part of CORE curriculum in Civil Engineering. Is this fact not enough to describe the "State of Structural Engineering"? We seem to have lost our senses by the catch-phrase "rounded" development of our students; "sharpness" of mind is no longer important  academia is mandated to offer more "free" electives than "core" subjects.

The game of quantity has led to an appalling situation  today, there are many institutions but little infrastructure and good teaching resources, too many colleges but few qualified (rather capable) teachers, innumerable graduates but few competent professionals. Only now, have we realized what we have done to our beloved profession  today, we talk about, probably trying to salvage our profession through, "continuing" education opportunities. But, what about basic education? A recent article reported that about 80% of engineering graduates in the country are unemployable, even in non-core sectors!

In this situation, does "industry" have a role to play? Today, there is tremendous need for Structural Engineering for the next re-building of the Nation. Can the Structural engineering fraternity seize this opportunity to showcase the demand for their profession? If they do, can they not then demand better professionals out of academia and "treat them well" both financially as well as intellectually? Today’s market is "demand" driven. If the Industry demands better professionals, and students see potential in the profession, will this jinx not break? With little help from industry (probably an important issue that needs focused deliberations), can academia not spring back in action? Can Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering and Structural Engineering profession not prosper again in India?

On behalf of SEFI, I welcome all SEFIans to join us on this e-conference and discuss this critical aspect of the profession of Structural Engineering in India. In the end, we expect to come up with deliverables to take Education in Structural Engineering to new heights in India in near future, with focus on "industry-academia partnership".

With warm regards…
Rupen Goswami
     



     



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear All,

This topic is close to many engineer's heart and we will discuss this.  We have plenty of ideas to improve this but I presume that we speak from a distant corner and expect someone to improve this.

Who will improve the education?  As far as my experience goes, these days, many engineering college civil heads are very junior engineers.  Many fresh engineers, teach the subject they studied only a year before.  Why is this?  Do you expect a great engineer coming out through such system.

How many of talented practicing students and engineers wish to contribute in educating the younger engineers?  While reviewing some of the master's thesis, I noticed that students and their guide were not actually knowing what they have done for a full year. Such students come out with flying colors and handful of % marks.  

In my opinion, the standard of education as a whole is deteriorating due to couple of reasons.

Though, there is good remuneration in education, the opportunities are less for ambitious engineers.  Remuneration at a large is still less compared to many other fields and hence, good candidates won't pursue a noble career of becoming a teacher.  

Second, the students interest is not maintained as their teachers are junior and can't teach them in depth.  I think, the minimum experience of the teacher shall be 10 years in any practical field before he is inducted to teach.  

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As far as professional practices is concerned, I don't find many forums for structural engineers coming together.  If you see other professional like CA, hold regular annual conferences outside their regional body and they debate many issues for common understanding. I know most of the CA attached to that regional body participate with family and they invite key experts.  This can happen only if we have only one governing body.  The only people who can solve both these issues are some of us, especially the senior staff who can share their experiences and practices to younger lot.  Also, there has to be restriction in producing number of structural engineers like doctors and CAs...Any engineer with a degree or diploma shall not be deemed eligible to practice structural engineering unless getting qualified through a set procedure.

Regards,

Jignesh V Chokshi
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