Witnessing the acute decline in the rate of enrolment of students in UG engineering courses, with numerous such colleges closing doors, it is imperative that the onus is put on the evaluation of standard of Engineering education being imparted. It was decided in the 52nd meeting of the Council of IITs that all of the present IITs (23 in number) will be entrusted with the task of mentoring at least five engineering colleges (located near them) each in a bid to improve the sinking level of engineering education.
As per this mentorship initiative, the IITs will endorse joint student activities, collaborative research projects, and open lectures. There will also be an attempt to give a rise to the number of faculty member pursuing PhDs, and belonging to the colleges under the Quality Improvement Program (QIP). "IITs are ahead of rest of engineering colleges in terms of research infrastructure, labs, resources and quality faculty. The focus will be more on enhancing teaching techniques and sharing of resources," said Pradeep Mathur, Director, IIT Indore.
Under the initiative, the IITs need to select the local Engineering colleges that need mentoring very carefully."We are ready to mentor more than five colleges, provided these colleges show eagerness to upgrade their standards. Geographical proximity will definitely be one of the major parameters while selecting colleges."
V Ramgopal Rao, Director, IIT Delhi, emphasized on the need for implementing proper mechanisms in a bid to decide upon the various parameters for the selection process. That way, the first batch of the programme can begin in the next three months. "Recently established IITs do not have infrastructure like labs and research equipment, as they themselves are in the formative stage, but few of them can rely on the experienced faculty members recruited recently," added Rao. Amongst the ‘third generation’ IITs are the ones located in Jammu, Bhilai, and Goa. Each of them is less than 8 years old and has been keeping up with the rest of their more fancied contemporaries. “We are not as good as old IITs in terms of infrastructure but as the mentorship programme will be more about building capacity of teachers of mentee institutes, we will be able to contribute with excellent faculty and bring the overall academic level to high standards," said BK Mishra, director, IIT Goa.
"Many students, who pursue BTech from other institutes, join IITs to pursue MTech. The mentorship programme will minimise IITs efforts in grooming these students as the overall academic environment of local colleges is expected to change over time," added Mishra.