I took over as founding Vice Chancellor of D Y Patil International University(DYPIU), Akurdi, Pune since May 2018. The University got approval from State Govt to go ahead in Middle of March 2018. Few programs were initiated in 2018 in Design, Journalism and Mass Communication, Commerce, Management, Computer Application and Biotechnology along with skills development programs in the 2018-19 academic session. University got good response from student community in the first year with all seats getting filled. As we are entering 2019, we plan to start engineering discipline from academic year 2019-20.
During 2013-2018, I was heading India’s Technology Think Tank, TIFAC, in Delhi. During this period we prepared “Technology Vision 2035” document for India. This document is vision for India in coming years focused on quality of life of Indians and role of Technology of today and tomorrow in achieving that. While preparing the document, we worked hard to visualize the technologies that are likely to come in coming two decades. While doing that, we realized two things : (1) Technology is happening at much faster rate than we expect (2) Technology Diffusion is taking place at a much faster pace too. This also implies that Technology obsolescence is also very high.
In the background of this, it is important for India to bring appropriate mechanism to continuously make changes in education system to prepare students for this ever changing technology landscape. Learning to learn is going to be the most important learning. We cannot expect students to continue using the knowledge they gained during their college days for rest of their life. In some sectors this is more important than others.
I decided to focus first on Computer Science and Engineering as the branch to start with since this is the sector that is changing very fast and no sector is left untouched by this technology. Most of the educational institutes in India have not been able to cope up with the fast changing scenario in this sector. Each new institution that starts, has an opportunity make major changes since there is no baggage to deal with.
In 2001, Reliance group started Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology(DA-IICT), in Gandhinagar(Gujarat). I was involved with this institute from almost beginning and we carried out major curriculum changes. I had written a detailed blog on this and those who have not had a chance to read that should go through that blog at :
Thus while starting engineering program at DYPIU, I used DA-IICT curriculum as the starting point. We had internal discussion with a group of faculty in the campus and created a first template of our program. This was shared on Social Media (Facebook, LinkedIn) and it generated lot of interest and lot of feedback was received. Based on all the feedbacks, we created the following program.
It would be a 4 year B Tech Degree in Computer Science and Engineering with 10 track options in :
1. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
2. Data Science
3. Robotics and AI
4. Intelligent Transport System and Logistics with integrated MBA in Transport/Logistics Management
6. Cyber Security
7. FinTech (Financial Technology) – Includes Blockchain – with integrated MBA (Financial Management)
9. Cloud and Systems Administration (including Data Center Management)
10. Web and Mobile Application(Covering Web 3.0, 5G applications along with Cloud Computing) – Integrated option of MDes (AR/VR/Holography/Games Design)
First two years would be common revamped curriculum and from 3rd year they would start taking courses related to tracks. Computational thinking(a set of problem-solving methods that involve expressing problems and their solutions in ways that a computer could execute) would be introduced right in the first semester along with introduction to programming. Design Thinking would be part of 1st year offerings along with Fab Lab(Use of 3D printers, Laser Cutters, CNC machine etc to be able to make good quality working prototypes). Right after the first year students would start internships/project from 1st year summer. Focus would be to work on Rural and other social issues to develop empathy among students. I have found disability and old age sector to be very important for this purpose.
Students would learn electronics as well as communication related subjects in the first two years. AI and Embedded Systems would be part of 2nd year offering for all students.
A very interesting concept is being introduced in this program to make students learn hardware and embedded systems development – “Lab in the Bag” concept. In this, students can procure a device such as “NI MyDaq” that connects through USB to a computer and provides a large number of Lab instruments available to students through computer such as Oscilloscope, Function Generators etc. This would make sure that students would not only be able to work on software developments at their convenience but also projects and lab work involving hardware at their will.
Technology Commercialization and Entrepreneurship would be covered in 2nd year. A course in Environmental Science along with climate change issues and sustainable development would also be offered in 2nd year.
We would be following the International system (also being used in many research focused institutes in India) of team teaching with Teaching Assistants being an important part of system. In line with this, we would start M Tech(Cyber Physical Systems) along with PhD program. Majority of the students of MTech/PhD would be financially supported through assistantship/fellowship in these programs.
Post Edit – This program is receiving wide scale appreciations. Some examples:
(1) AICTE has communicated that ” Your proposal was placed before the 8th meeting of All India Board of under Graduate Studies in Engineering & Technology decided as under:
The Board finds the proposed approach of having two years of foundational subjects and tracks or minors letting the students pursue their area of interest, as innovative. With standardized name of the degree, there will be flexibility that tracks can be deleted or added depending on the needs of the industry/ job market. Also it will be useful to effectively bridge the gap due to fast changing technology. It is suggested that name of track chosen by students be specified in the degree, in bracket.”.
(2) This program was awarded by All India Council of Robotics and Automation for Best Academic Innovative Curriculum for Higher Education
(3) In the approved list of AICTE courses, many new courses have been started that were influenced by this program.