India Moves to Boost Engineering Prowess

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IEEE, an association of technical professionals, plans to launch a training and certification program in India in tandem with industry and educational institutions, to get around the problem of falling standards at the country's engineering colleges.

Only 26 percent of engineers that graduate in the country can be directly employed for technology services by India's outsourcing industry, according to a joint study by the National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) and management consulting firm, McKinsey & Co.

But for a few top engineering institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), most of the engineering colleges in the country provide students with mainly theoretical training, and very little exposure to real-life situations, Muriyankulangara V Ananthakrishnan, senior member and chairman of the Mumbai section of the IEEE Computer Society, said on Friday.

As a result, the IT industry has to invest in training engineers before they can start working on projects, he added.

The IEEE plans to introduce through educational institutions its Certified Software Development Associate (CSDA) and Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP) certificates.

These certifications were offered to individuals in India previously, but they were not supported by a formal faculty. IEEE now plans to set up virtual classrooms that will include faculty both from educational institutions and from industry, Ananthakrishnan said.

IEEE's aim is to make Indian engineering education more relevant to industry, he added.

The quality of engineering education in India could further deteriorate, as new engineering colleges are being set up to meet the demand for engineers from the IT industry. It is difficult, for example, to get good faculty, as the best teachers are typically moving to jobs in industry for higher pay, Ananthakrishnan said.

The CSDA is designed for graduating computer science and software engineering students, while the CSDP certification is targeted at mid-career software professionals, IEEE said.

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