In areas such as higher education the role of our markets and labour laws, Indian politicians and voters alike have held some specific and stubborn beliefs. This has created a deadlock on arguably the most critical issues by affecting our ability to balance fairness and competition meritocracy and egalitarianism, and the included versus the excluded in our economy.
We are battling growing shortages in higher education as we face a crunch of skilled workers. Our battles for better ideas require to vanquish a monster with many heads-old ideology, deep-rooted caste groups and the many temptation of short term populism. As a member of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC), I am also concerned that there is resistance to new ideas, transparency and accountability due to rigid organizational structures. This is true of india education system in general and IT education is no exception. A focus on analytical problem solving, learning principles underlying the design, Idea communication and the like are missing. The situation is compounded by the unattractiveness of the academic profession.
Today, we are a vibrant economy hungry for human capital. The Indian workers has real bargaining power in this market. However, our higher education systems are creating thousands of graduates every years who cannot string a coherent paragraph together-‘educated illiterates’ whose online degrees are literally not worth the paper they were printed on.
GROWTH OF IT EDUCATION
Tracing the birth and growth of IT education, it is important to understand the way demand was seen and action taken by the government. Computers were originally invented for scientific computing, to address engineering and science problems that could not be solved analytically, and were born in university labs. The subject was referred to as computer science; it was more in science than engineering. The unbundling of hardware and software created the view that software is a distinct component that could be created by knowledgeable people with access to computers. There were no degree programmes for IT separately in the country even in the early 1980s it was all about learning a few things about computer programming and algorithms.
It was sometime in the late 1980s that university engineering college started programmes offering BE degree in CSE or IT Degree. It was also incorporated in the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) curriculum. All these degree programmes essentially focused on programming skills and some aspects of software engineering. How ever, the fact that an IT professional needs a lot more skills than just the knowledge of a few programming language and some database or tools has been messed out in the education roadmap. Concepts of software design, maintainability, and project management are not even part of the curriculum or instruction.