The National Institute of Technical Teachers’ Training & Research (NITTTR), Kolkata, was established in 1965. The institute is presently working in curriculum development in the field of technical education along with development of learning resources. BE’s Saptarshi Deb spoke to Professor Phalguni Gupta, Director, NITTTR, Kolkata.
Q) A persistent criticism against the Indian technical education system is its inadequate curriculum. How is your institute placed in curriculum development?
A) The curriculum in technical education is handled by the designated committee of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). We have been guiding various states and trying to match their curriculum with industry requirements. Further, the curriculum can be resuscitated if the state government(s) and other technical institutes use the expertise of the system in the field of curriculum development which is one of the focal activities of our institute. We have always taken a proactive role in design, development, revision and rewriting of curricula of various states. We have also been proposing certain need based models for curriculum implementation. Of late, the outcome based curriculum, which is being widely accepted as the need of the hour, has also been developed by many technical institutes in some of the states and NITTTRs have been a mentor for several such institutes.
Q) In many Indian technical education institutes, research is not given its due importance. Is the situation changing? How are you trying to promote research in Indian technical education institutes?
A) The situation is changing. NITTTRs have been playing very active role in the recent past in promoting research in the technical education system. For instance, NITTTR Kolkata has been conducting a series of regional workshops for promoting research in technical education. Few polytechnics institutes of the north-eastern region have undertaken snap studies to promote research in the areas of pedagogy and teaching learning. Faculty from NITTTRs are also conducting research studies in improving technical education, mainly in the form of action research and systemic research.
Q) In this era of disruptive technologies, how are Indian technical institutes placed in skilling their graduates? How is your institute equipping the teachers to enable them to bridge this skill gap?
A) This is a very important aspect of technical education. We ensure this through training teachers in content updation and other emerging areas.
Q) A vibrant technology driven start-up environment has evolved in India. How do you see this development? Can technical institutes be encouraged to promote entrepreneurship among its students?
A) This is definitely a positive development. It will improve our manufacturing ability substantially. Technical institutes need to be encouraged to promote entrepreneurship among its students.
Q) Please take us through your role in the ‘Community Development through Polytechnics’ programme. How has been your experience?
A) It has been a fulfilling experience. The collaborating polytechnic institutes benefited through the training provided by our institute to their faculties participating in this programme. This has given a lot of opportunities to the community to earn their livelihood through low cost technology.
Q) The Indian economy has slowed down considerably. Do you think this will impact the job market in this sector? How can private technical education institutes respond to this situation?
A) Under the current situation, it is likely that the slowing down economy will have some impact on the job market. Indian industries may be a little conservative in creating job opportunities till the situation improves. In this situation, it is expected that technical institutes understand the pulse of the Indian economy and the industry’s view point. They should motivate their students to create self-sustainable job opportunities with the help of their training cells.