Need for a technical university

The present world scenario also shows that world leadership is dominated by technology based nations. Technology can grow through integrated technical education that creates technologist – the nation builders.

Technical education is a branch of study that prepares human resources for field requiring well-informed and disciplined insight and skill of a high order. It is the process by which men and women get prepared for exacting, responsible service in a professional discipline. In the days of British rule, India started imparting technical education; but not in a proper format. In 1822, Native Medical Institute, the first technical educational institution was established at Calcutta. In, 1847, the first engineering college was established for training in civil engineering at Roorkee, which has been covered later on to Roorkee Engineering College and presently the Roorkee IIT. All the Indian Education Commissions recommended that technical and vocational courses should be introduced to prepare skilled man power for institutional and commercial careers. In 1945, the government of India established the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) with a view to stimulate the technical education in the country putting responsibilities on it to evaluate the need for provision of facilities available in technical education in the country. Initially the council was assigned the function of surveying the field of technical education, consider the establishment of higher technical educational institution and ascertain the views of authorities in control of the existing facilities about cooperation on all India level. The function of the council have been renewed and revised from time to time and presently its main functions are to coordinate development of technical education through proper planning and to maintain the standard of technical education throughout the country.

It is worth mentioning that any plan aiming at development through education will have to look for technology based solutions so as to address the needs and mechanism for technology transfer and diffusion which will enable classroom and technology knowledge to reach the end user. Economic development of a society depends on use of local natural resources coupled with human resources. For optimum use of natural resources, we must develop technology relevant to our local needs so as to get finished product from our local natural resources through industry. To develop such technology, we are to produce technologist and skilled man power to use technologies which calls for organised technical education.

Asom has three engineering Colleges – Assam Engineering College, Jorhat Engineering college and National Institute of Technology, the erstwhile Regional Engineering College, Silchar. These three institutions are producing about 600 engineering graduates every year taking intakes from all NE States. Moreover twelve poly techniques are also producing diploma holders in technical field. IIT Guwahati is producing about 200 graduates; but about 95 per cent of these students are from outside the region. Besides four universities are also contributing limited technical man power through their various in-campus programmes, mostly at post-graduate level.

But still the total intake in technical education per million of population of the state is very poor and estimated at about 29 per million population. The relevant figure in some other States are 423 per million in Karnataka, 345 per million in Tamil Nadu, 313 in Maharashtra. The production of our engineering institutions are not sufficient to meet the need of the State as well as NE States though frequent talk is that we have hundreds of unemployed engineers. Similar is the case in the medical education also. One of the most important points to mention here is that the intake capacity of our technical and medical institutions has not been increased proportionately compared to the growth of student population in the relevant level. For example three engineering colleges in Asom have intake capacity of 660 since last one decades without any change. No steps have been taken to increase this strength on the plea that we have a large pool of unemployed engineers. Similar is the case for medical and engineering diploma courses. But argument drawn against increase in take is not of good taste. We have unemployed engineers and doctors because of unplanned production of man power. We are offering engineering courses in subjects which were relevant to the requirement of the society long back and re-orientation of these courses is a must today. In some subjects we have enough graduates while in some others, we have not yet introduced any course and aspiring students are migrating to the other part of the country to pursue courses those have high demands in the job market. In medical sciences also, many branches of studies is still left unattended in the state. Further, infrastructure is another point that leads aspiring students to go out of the state for technical and medical education.

In our State, all technical institutions are administrated by the Director of Technical Education (DTE) and that of medical education is looked after by the Director of Medical Education (DME) while academic programmes of these faculties at degree level are controlled by the university concerned. Offices of DTE and DME have limitation of their jurisdiction of action as these are completely under the control of State government. As a result, no innovative steps are noticed in the line of improvement of the academic standard of technical and medical education of the State.

For better planning and introduction of required technical and medical education, a technical university is necessary to establish in the State. Now most of the State in the country other than NE ones have established technical university paving the away for freedom in proper planning and maintenance of standard of technical and medical education. Introduction of innovative programmers in thrust areas of technology becomes easier under a technical university and Asom can get rid of its dependency upon other States for required man power. Even professional courses required for the State can be put under this university.

-Biren Das
(The Assam Tribune,13.09.2006)