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[Education] State of Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering in India
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 5:00 am    Post subject: [Education] State of Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering in India Reply with quote

you are 100% right.failure of structures and common mistakes made at sight shall be also  taught.Dr.N.Subramanian 's post about Mosul Dam is mind opening.Please advise members to write about  the mistakes.All engineering graduates shall be taught Bis(indian) and ACI codes of practice for civil  and structural works.Engineering books shall be updated with current scenario.Latest Tile  adhesives,Epoxies and full range of chemicals used in engineering works from Cica and Fosam will  enhance the knowledge.Retrofitting and repairs of old structure shall also be taught. Engineering is a vast subject. specializing of one section has become more relevant in practice. regards satya paul  On Thu, 18 Feb 2016 09:53:00 +0530 "Alpa Sheth"  wrote >                   Hi All, >  > There have been so many insightful and erudite comments on this topic on the econference that there is  hardly anything new to contribute. I agree with Prof Rupen and others that there is a need to revamp  civil engineering curriculum. I would further add that it is perhaps more important to change the  pedagogy of civil engineering, i.e. the method and practice of teaching civil engineering. That is the  major malaise in our education. Prof Arun Menon in another topic has shared an excellent presentation  on the necessary changes required in Engineering teaching methods and curriculum. >  >  > Civil engineering in most colleges. is taught from part to whole. Wait, that is not quite right. We  never get to the whole, do we? We teach engineering at the element level but the student does not  ever understand the whole. Because there is no History of Structures ever taught, no role models ever  put forward. How many of our students learn about Nervi, Torroja, Brunel....? How many learn History of  Construction Technology? Can a single engineering student explain to us how the domes of cathedrals  were built or even that of Taj Mahal? Most architecture students can. >  >  > Students graduate with no engagement with their core discipline. Jignesh, Ankur and others have ably  pointed to more issues that need reflection on our part. Also, the current civil engineering program  allows students to slack off during the semester and slog at the end for submissions and exams. This  is unlike the architecture program where the student gets accustomed to hard work all through the  semester and develops into a professional who is not a shirker. Engineering students believe real life  is an extension of their student years and feel it is okay not to work assiduously except at deadlines  time. An office environment which requires them to apply themselves, which expects them to "think"  constantly is considered "Stressful". >  >  > BMD, SFD are the alphabet of structural engineering. Students don't know their alphabet and are called  upon to write essays on graduating in the form of real life design. It does not faze them at all. They  are happy to write gibberish. Except that this gibberish is a real building and real people will  live.work/visit there. I don't see any difference between a terrorist and an engineer with poor  fundamentals who still goes on to design buildings. I say this out of sheer exasperation. I was  recently called in for a peer review of a building under construction who's design is so wrong and has  already started showing cracks and huge deformations, the most sage thing to do would be to tear it  down. And why did this happen ? Because nobody in that big consulting firm bothered to check the design  of an incompetent engineer!! >  >  > I believe that some colleges are trying to change the scenario. I have been talking to some IIT  Directors who see merit in bringing out sweeping changes and are going out of the way to increase  industry - academia manifold. I see colleges like BITS Pilani who send their students for two six  month internships during their undergraduate program. TVS had similarly tied up Thiagarajar College to  train their students during 4-6 weeks semester vacations and a semester long project. But more  interaction with architecture colleges will also help our faculty and students to pull up their socks.  We need to wake up and smell the coffee. We will not survive like this because if we are graduating  technicians and not engineers, they can be replaced easily. >  >  >  > Why dont we try to work with a select 4-5 colleges across India as an experiment? I repeat - there is a  need for a change in the pedagogy of civil engineering as much or perhaps more than a change in  curriculum content. Let's make a start somewhere. >  >  > warmly, > Alpa >  >  >  >  >  > On Tue, Feb 16, 2016 at 7:25 PM, rupen wrote: >       --auto removed--

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am also of the same of opinion that of Dr NS. Students should take interest in learning.

I my opinion, the interest among students is being killed by the over importance of grading. Do giving grades like "Distinction, First, Second... etc " help in improving quality of education? It may encourage students. Let the forum discuss. I think, it does not improve quality.

Let us think about objective of education. Should an education make him a scientist, teacher, technician, designer, manager? We need all kind of people. In my opinion, there should be absolute flexibility in education. As many suggested, let them have training in their respective fields in industry. Why should all learn structural design? Let me point out that the quality of the training institute will defensively influence the quality of their training.

Four divisions of civil engineering have grown tremendously; (i) Building construction (ii) Water management for irrigation & hydro power, (iii) Environmental Engineering & (Iv) Transpiration Engineering. Even though Geo-technical Engineering & Structural Engineering has applications in all these four divisions, I feel, specialization should not be offered in the under graduate level. Instead, a student should give opportunity to specialize in any of the four divisions. Again, in my opinion, since Architects are learning in detail about building construction, it has to be removed from civil engineering curriculum. Structural engineering being an interdisciplinary subject, it can be offered to all those who have studied basic stress analysis in the undergraduate level ( Architects, Civil Engineers, Mechanical Engineers and MSc Physics with specialization in properties of matter/ stress analysis .. !!)

There is a good point by Alpa Sheth; to learn from whole to parts.  Let the curriculum start with Basic Civil Engineering regarding all the four divisions, conduct study tours, learn construction methods, take photographs  etc... That subject should not include design, basic mechanics (like Soil, fluid, rock or solid etc), or any theories. If they start from there, they will get more insight as "a whole", while learning "a part"

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 7:00 am    Post subject: [Education] State of Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering in India Reply with quote

Dear SEFIans:

This email is not to ask for opinions or seek suggestions to improve the state of education in structural engineering in the country. Rather, this is just to share my personal experiences, observations, and thoughts on the subject. If you are not interested in those, you don’t have to read any further.
***

We generally attribute many reasons to the decline in education. Based on my stint of two decades in some good institutions, both as a student and then as a teacher, I feel there is probably just one important factor though. And, that is trust. Earlier, a student used to trust that whatever the teacher is teaching must be for good. It must be helpful to him in his future. But today, a student starts with the question of how, what is being taught, going to be useful to him.  

But, is this unnatural? I believe not! We all have our own believes and methods. Imagine how we react when somebody floats a new idea to us. We react the exact same way by asking why should I listen to you and how is your method better than mine. The first reaction is to resist change. The students do the same. This behaviour is probably what we try to characterize by claiming that earlier, students were motivated to learn, but today they are not. Actually, earlier students learnt trusting the teacher, while today, they first ask the question “why learn this”. And once given a satisfactory answer to that question, they learn. That is the difference.

Every time I walk in a new class, of 20, 30, 50 or even 100, I see the same question in the students’ eyes. To be honest, I had almost an entire class full of “unmotivated” students. But, I do not care what I get on day 1. What matters is what I leave back on day 42, after an entire semester. The question is, have I been able to answer their first question in class – why learn what I am teaching? If I manage to answer that question, I end the semester with quite a few, so called, motivated souls!

But still then, I need newer, more exciting and efficient ways of teaching. This is because of various reasons, including change (decrease) in the total number of courses I can teach a batch of students (because of increase in number of free electives, etc.,), and emergence of newer ways of actual practice. For instance, today all structures are analysed using computers. So today, how do I justify teaching ALL of the hand-calculation based analysis methods, that we once learned? This is exactly what the students ask – why learn this? Now, one may still argue for it but instead, would it not be wise to utilise the limited class time discussing more of structural behaviour and focus on more modern and efficient methods of analysis?

What I am really doing here is thinking about possible departures I need to undertake from the old way (which I love anyway). Today, I need a new strategy, a new curriculum. First, at least I need to have a plan in place, without worrying about whether it will be implemented. In fact, if ever there is going be a change in curriculum, who is going to do that, if not we? The question am I empowered to bring in the change does not bother me. At least I have a proposal ready is what gives me satisfaction instead.

With warm regards…
Rupen Goswami

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:00 am    Post subject: [Education] State of Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering in India Reply with quote

Respected All members of SEFI,  
I would like to inform all people in the construction practical field that really there is no ethics in practicing quality, standards
in work execution. As I am into the field of Slipform Engineering last 33 years. People who have learned this subject mostly
from European experts and U.K are not following the rules of slipform operation especially in construction of high

raised R.C.C Tapered Chimneys with Slipform equipment. The Original Slipform manufacturer the operation mechanisms
taught by Swedish ,|Hungarians, English or Germans.  

The peripheral formwork which reduces the diameter, arc-length, which also there by maintains the slope and wall thickness.
The peripheral reduction will be achieved by operating the mechanism called Horizontal Turnbuckle hydraulic jacks.

These Hydraulic jacks are operated by a centrally controlled by a Power Pack. According to slope the operation charts are

are made to be followed during concrete pouring and sliding in progress. To achieve all the dimensions as per
the drawings one should check all the equipments in operation and to be reparied immediately or replaced. One of the senior
person working with a Power company, also an expert in Slipforms. That the turnbuckles are not necessary system for

operation. Very senior people in the Firms, letting the contractors do wrong practice in operation of Slipform equipment.

Once, I have asked them why they are not using these jacks, then their reply was that not functioning well. Those type

same equipments purchased and used by the companies namely, Simplex Infra, Gammon India, HCC, Unitech all using the

same and maintaining in good. The very astonishing thing is that people are not going to do the maintenance jacks not
using proper seals and mostly the equipment they are buying from Indian manufacturers. Simply, they are blaming the

inventors of the equipment. And there is a technical issue that the suppliers in India are not matching the gear V/S stroke
to correct function. While retraction of jack (back Stroke) they are not knowing that a proper lock spring is to be used.

Till to-day the Swedish makejacks for these operation still working (even after 30 years) in good condition who so every using.

Manually maintained operation of turnbuckles are highly difficult. How we can synchronize the function of vertical lifting with

Horizontal movement of form slide.

95% Indian companies are using the hydraulic turnbuckle jacks. All rotating the spindles by manually. If at a time 40 units to be
operated both in and out. How, the operation will be genuine and all the spindle turned at given a time and number

rotations to be operated. I have asked my Shishyas do they achieve the right operation? Everybody said manual operations

are mere failure. But who cares and who controls these RCC Structures in India. Also informed me that the yoke legs

distances are not coming equal one to other yoke legs. Lot undulations in wall etc.etc...

From the above all I came to know that many chimney constructions are not constructed as per the drawings.



Very pitiful in our construction field. I do not know who will improve. I can only suggest to the world and to my

country being a Slipform Contractor in India.

On Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 1:12 PM, rupen <forum@sefindia.org (forum@sefindia.org)> wrote:
Quote:
           Dear SEFIans:

This email is not to ask for opinions or seek suggestions to improve the state of education in structural engineering in the country. Rather, this is just to share my personal experiences, observations, and thoughts on the subject. If you are not interested in those, you don’t have to read any further.
***

We generally attribute many reasons to the decline in education. Based on my stint of two decades in some good institutions, both as a student and then as a teacher, I feel there is probably just one important factor though. And, that is trust. Earlier, a student used to trust that whatever the teacher is teaching must be for good. It must be helpful to him in his future. But today, a student starts with the question of how, what is being taught, going to be useful to him.

But, is this unnatural? I believe not! We all have our own believes and methods. Imagine how we react when somebody floats a new idea to us. We react the exact same way by asking why should I listen to you and how is your method better than mine. The first reaction is to resist change. The students do the same. This behaviour is probably what we try to characterize by claiming that earlier, students were motivated to learn, but today they are not. Actually, earlier students learnt trusting the teacher, while today, they first ask the question “why learn this”. And once given a satisfactory answer to that question, they learn. That is the difference.

Every time I walk in a new class, of 20, 30, 50 or even 100, I see the same question in the students’ eyes. To be honest, I had almost an entire class full of “unmotivated” students. But, I do not care what I get on day 1. What matters is what I leave back on day 42, after an entire semester. The question is, have I been able to answer their first question in class  why learn what I am teaching? If I manage to answer that question, I end the semester with quite a few, so called, motivated souls!

But still then, I need newer, more exciting and efficient ways of teaching. This is because of various reasons, including change (decrease) in the total number of courses I can teach a batch of students (because of increase in number of free electives, etc.,), and emergence of newer ways of actual practice. For instance, today all structures are analysed using computers. So today, how do I justify teaching ALL of the hand-calculation based analysis methods, that we once learned? This is exactly what the students ask  why learn this? Now, one may still argue for it but instead, would it not be wise to utilise the limited class time discussing more of structural behaviour and focus on more modern and efficient methods of analysis?

What I am really doing here is thinking about possible departures I need to undertake from the old way (which I love anyway). Today, I need a new strategy, a new curriculum. First, at least I need to have a plan in place, without worrying about whether it will be implemented. In fact, if ever there is going be a change in curriculum, who is going to do that, if not we? The question am I empowered to bring in the change does not bother me. At least I have a proposal ready is what gives me satisfaction instead.

With warm regards…
Rupen Goswami
     



     



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 18, 2016 10:00 am    Post subject: [Education] State of Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering in India Reply with quote

dear Dr.Goswami, Every student is interested that after going through any course of study,he should be  employed.interest of the students in studies is directly influenced by employment scope. In the recent past govt. spending was reduced for civil engineering projects.we should  not criticize students and teachers.students are more interested in computers because  better scope of employment.use of computers shall be taught in fourth year.fundamentals  and applications shall be given importance.graduate engineer coming from college can not  give the layout of multi storey building.young generation of engineers want white collar  jobs.they want to sit in air conditioned rooms.best brains is going to USA,where after  further studies of two years,they get better employment. The whole problem rests with the leadership. Indian masses are responsible.All Indian  scientists,who got Noble Prize had left this country.there is no merit recognition.our  fate is in the hand of these policy makers.things are being changed.Engineers shall make  good rapport with industrialists,Architects and other learned persons. warm regards satya paul  On Thu, 18 Feb 2016 13:13:50 +0530 "rupen"  wrote >                   Dear SEFIans:  >  > This email is not to ask for opinions or seek suggestions to improve the state of  education in structural engineering in the country. Rather, this is just to share my  personal experiences, observations, and thoughts on the subject. If you are not  interested in those, you don’t have to read any further.  > ***  >  > We generally attribute many reasons to the decline in education. Based on my stint of two  decades in some good institutions, both as a student and then as a teacher, I feel there  is probably just one important factor though. And, that is trust. Earlier, a student used  to trust that whatever the teacher is teaching must be for good. It must be helpful to  him in his future. But today, a student starts with the question of how, what is being  taught, going to be useful to him.  >  > But, is this unnatural? I believe not! We all have our own believes and methods. Imagine  how we react when somebody floats a new idea to us. We react the exact same way by asking  why should I listen to you and how is your method better than mine. The first reaction is  to resist change. The students do the same. This behaviour is probably what we try to  characterize by claiming that earlier, students were motivated to learn, but today they  are not. Actually, earlier students learnt trusting the teacher, while today, they first  ask the question “why learn this”. And once given a satisfactory answer to that question,  they learn. That is the difference.  >  > Every time I walk in a new class, of 20, 30, 50 or even 100, I see the same question in  the students’ eyes. To be honest, I had almost an entire class full of “unmotivated”  students. But, I do not care what I get on day 1. What matters is what I leave back on  day 42, after an entire semester. The question is, have I been able to answer their first  question in class  why learn what I am teaching? If I manage to answer that question, I  end the semester with quite a few, so called, motivated souls!  >  > But still then, I need newer, more exciting and efficient ways of teaching. This is  because of various reasons, including change (decrease) in the total number of courses I  can teach a batch of students (because of increase in number of free electives, etc.,),  and emergence of newer ways of actual practice. For instance, today all structures are  analysed using computers. So today, how do I justify teaching ALL of the hand-calculation  based analysis methods, that we once learned? This is exactly what the students ask  why  learn this? Now, one may still argue for it but instead, would it not be wise to utilise  the limited class time discussing more of structural behaviour and focus on more modern  and efficient methods of analysis?  >  > What I am really doing here is thinking about possible departures I need to undertake  from the old way (which I love anyway). Today, I need a new strategy, a new curriculum.  First, at least I need to have a plan in place, without worrying about whether it will be  implemented. In fact, if ever there is going be a change in curriculum, who is going to  do that, if not we? The question am I empowered to bring in the change does not bother  me. At least I have a proposal ready is what gives me satisfaction instead.  >  > With warm regards… > Rupen Goswami >       > >  >  > --

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 2:59 am    Post subject: [Education] State of Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering in India Reply with quote

I read with interest [and some amusement] all postings about education of Structural Engineers. A little bit of reflection would show such comments are also equally applicable to all branches of engineering.There is no doubt that syllabus must reflect latest trends and in particular that it is relevent to digital world we now live in
It may be worthwhile for SEFI members to suggest say syllabus in a top ranked civil engineering school like UC-Berkeley or any such institution
[I suggested UCB because I respect it and also the SEFI administrator
is its alumnus]


prof. ARC


On Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 12:12 PM, N. Prabhakar <forum@sefindia.org (forum@sefindia.org)> wrote:
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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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 5:20 am    Post subject: [Education] State of Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering in India Reply with quote

Dear Prof. arc,

I have seen your posting on education of structural engineers. Do you agree with my suggestion on this subject, or consider it as 'some amusement' as you mention?


Regards,


N. Prabhakar


On 20 February 2016 at 08:30, prof.arc <forum@sefindia.org (forum@sefindia.org)> wrote:
[quote]            I read with interest [and some amusement] all postings about education of Structural Engineers. A little bit of reflection would show such comments are also equally applicable to all branches of engineering.There is no doubt that syllabus must reflect latest trends and in particular that it is relevent to digital world we now live in
It may be worthwhile for SEFI members to suggest say syllabus in a top ranked civil engineering school like UC-Berkeley or any such institution
[I suggested UCB because I respect it and also the SEFI administrator
is its alumnus]


prof. ARC


On Wed, Feb 10, 2016 at 12:12 PM, N. Prabhakar forum@sefindia.org (forum@sefindia.org))> wrote:
      --auto removed--

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 11:00 am    Post subject: [Education] State of Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering in India Reply with quote

Civil Engineering  is the top most  turnover  profession in society.
In that structural engineer is the top most knowledge people and till
2000 civil engineering is the only profession in ruled society.
We don’t have much research and development centre  in civil
/structural engineering, we have many offices which can helps to live
/ sustain in society as we are in citizen and becoming      .
And As per my knowledge 90% + of civil engineering projects is not
completing in time due to so many of reasons ( Structural engineers)
have to find new  solution  which meets complete  projects in time
structural engineer is only people highly knowledge person in our
dept.
Civil engineering project outcomes using almost all the humans are
using.  I believe almost all human/Citizen will support civil
engineering research and development.
In our society engineering / other domination is started recently just
15 to 20years only and this short period only civil engineering top
most people (Structural eng) is thinking fee and consider how the
future generation of civil engineering. Industry Rulers is with us.
I request our forum has to take initiative to select top most
professional from Forum for doing research and development and
consideration of future of civil engineering. Or We (Civil engineer)
Have great structure mechanism (IS Codes) to have a safe guard from
human. & make a strict law Rules /Law/is Codes is made for safe guard
of Ideal from the society.
This is my last mail E-CONF-2016

With Regards,
Tekuri Narasimhulu


On 2/11/16, Ankur Shah <forum@sefindia.org> wrote:
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: Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:30 pm    Post subject: Passion & Stimulation required Reply with quote

Respected SEFI members,
In my opinion, engineers that are graduating today are not passionate enough about engineering. The good students need to be stimulated and challenged. I believe we need to align the courses towards this end. The students need to be given a feel of the applications where the knowledge that they acquire would be used. Case studies of structural marvels will help a huge deal in this regard.
I am a NITK 2012 Batch passout, and after working for 3 years, I realise why we learnt what we learnt in engineering. This realisation should happen to an extent in college itself, and be strengthened by projects, internships as well as the final year major projects.
A bridge needs to be built between the industry and the academia. Even online recorded lectures of prominent structural engineers, which would highlight the challenges of a project, application of concepts, laboratory testing and studies required, software support used, process of preparing deliverables and finally proper planning & project management would help a long way.
Ultimately, its the interest of a student that has the final say in the development of a student, but the student should have all the opportunities he/she needs to develop into a competent engineer.
All of us were students at one point and we must help in whatever way we can so that the students of today do not feel the inadequacies that we once felt.

Regards,
Ajit Kamath
Structural Engineer,
Engineers India Ltd.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 2:12 am    Post subject: [Education] State of Education in Civil (Structural) Engineering in India Reply with quote

Dear Prof.Goswami,

From times immemorial, the hallmark of a good student has always been learning through asking relevant questions (tad viddhi pranipatena pari prasnena sevaya ...)

I strongly believe that no matter what, one cannot make a shining diamond out of a gravel stone.

Two reasons have held me back from joining academia.

1) I will not have a choice in selecting the people I want to teach and learn from. Most people today believe that the purpose of education is to get a job. I strongly disagree with this view. I believe in Mohandas Gandhi's views on the purpose of education. If you are unaware of his views, please read Hind Swaraj. Mere literacy or knowledge of a trade does not make one educated. We have many literates in our country, but very few educated.

2) I will not have the freedom to choose what I want to teach.

Best wishes,
Ravi.


On Monday, 15 February 2016, rupen <forum@sefindia.org> wrote:
Quote:
Dear SEFIans:

Since the beginning of the e-conference, many of you have written on the subject of education. Rather, you have expressed disappointment, frustration, and even anger, on the issue of current state of education in Structural Engineering in the country. It was necessary to do so before we could collectively think of deliverables to improve the situation. Let us do that this week.

To begin with, let us now focus on what we can do rather than spending our time and energy discussing what Government, AICTE, Universities should do, why lack of infrastructure, etc. Few suggestions have already been made, and here is an attempt to highlight key issues to take the discussion forward.

On the issue of industry complaining about poor quality of fresh graduates: Yes, they are right, the quality is bad. There are no two opinions about it. But, two additional issues are also worth taking note of. First, in the good old days, there used to be a compulsory Industrial Training as part of BE/BTech curriculum, which most of us would agree, was very useful. It gave the aspiring engineer an opportunity to see the exciting world of structural engineering practice, meet senior engineers, develop contacts, and above all, feel inspired about the prospect of being part of the system. Is this happening today as well? And second, today those who say that the fresh graduates know nothing, can they pledge their honor and say that when they joined the industry as fresh graduates, they knew everything? Were they not groomed to be what they are today by their seniors? Again, is this happening today as well?

In the recent past, the reality is that industrial training has become a farce in most companies. Students are made to sit and develop spreadsheets or simply thrown to construction sites, both without proper guidance and supervision. Because of cut-throat competition in the market, senior engineers do not have time to spend with these trainee students. Further, after joining, a fresh graduate is expected to immediately start producing drawings the best guidance on offer is look up what we did for the previous project and use it as a mother, meaning copy and reproduce what was done before. It comes as a shock for most fresh graduates and shatters their dreams. And, after this, we expect them to be ethical in their conduct in future!

So, can this situation be changed a bit? Can companies step forward and take charge, and offer meaningful grooming of trainee students and fresh graduates? Yes, there are some companies who do practice this, but surely that number is too small. Can we have more voluntary participation?


Next, on the issue of appropriate curriculum: Some top institutes undertake curriculum revision, probably once in a decade or so. Some also do request input from industry. While the general perception is that this exercise is futile in that they have only helped dilute the curriculum till now, still, can this opportunity be used to the advantage? Every top executive of a company today is an alumnus/alumna of an engineering college/institute/university. Is it possible for them to re-establish contact with their alma-mater and impress upon them the need to have a proper curriculum in place as the first step? Is it possible for the industry to dictate what ought to there in the curriculum, not just for their immediate gain alone, but for betterment of the profession in the long run too? Of course, there will be resistance from the academia. So in return, industry may have to promise, possibly recruitment or something, but still, is this a possibility in the future? Also, with this partnership in place, will it not be easy for the industry to engage with academia more in terms of providing ideas of meaningful practical projects, special courses, etc.? Even the idea of joint guidance of projects can be pushed forward. Only, it will require time from the industry, which is critical no doubt. But, can industry afford to offer that to help academia? For a change, can industry take the lead?

With warm regards
Rupen Goswami


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