The concept of technology permeating every little aspect of human life is no longer even a debatable topic. Almost every human activity has been, or can be automated, and organizations and establishments are falling over themselves trying to identify such activities and find ways to make them easier for people to perform. Towards this end, the spotlight is on those who can and will make things work. Succinctly – Engineers. To paraphrase a scientist from ‘Space Force’, ‘Quite soon, everyone except engineers will be out of a job’.
While science is taught at school more with the intent of providing every child with the foundation of scientific thinking, at graduation level, this teaching must take on a more passionate undertone. Only those with a deep driving desire to create, manipulate and improve the lives of those on this planet, can seek to become engineers. From this perspective, it is reasonable to conclude that the demand for engineers in every field, ranging from medicine to art to sports, will skyrocket. Aerospace Engineers, Computer Engineers, Nuclear Engineers, Robotics Engineers, Chemical Engineers…. They are all going to fill the rank and file of the brave new army which will form and manipulate our every function in the coming years. Understandably, institutions providing such technological education will also be in focus.
At present, there is a growing trend of interdisciplinary learning in the Indian academic arena, because it is becoming increasingly clear that specialists in different fields cannot work in isolation. The world is becoming one big village and the fishmonger and blacksmith must of needs understand each other’s business so that they can cooperate and progress. The field of engineering must also therefore follow the compass needle and incorporate a multidisciplinary and modern approach to education. The need of the hour, is educational establishments which provide technical knowledge to students and also keep them conscious of the effect and impact of their chosen paths.
The importance of technology in education has already been established, as evinced in the growing number of Technology Universities sprouting up all over the country. However, the idea is not merely to acquire a degree in technology and mark time after that, but to gain the mindset of creative engineering through a deep-rooted process of evolution in an environment rich in expert trainers, mentors and facilities. The students who are forged in such exclusive environs will be the ones who rise like cream above the milk and go on to become a part of the shapers of the future. This is where Technology Universities come into the game.
Plaksha University provides this very environment, in the form of a Technology University which has literally worked its way up through the ranks and emerged as one of the country’s leading destinations for children who intend to make the world a better place to live in. The idea is to provide impeccable technological education, which runs in tandem with exposure to, and an understanding of, how life is lived in the real world. Plaksha has understood this need and offers tailormade courses which will arm and equip selected students for the future.
The University offers BTech degrees in the following
- BTech in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence
- BTech in Robotics and Cyber-Physical Systems
- BTech in Biological Systems Engineering, and
- BTech in Data Science, Economics and Business.
Technology Leaders Program
The post graduate Technology Leaders Program (TLP) is a ground breaking new venture which develops young leaders in technology through coursework in –
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
- Design Thinking and Applications of Data Science
- Understanding of self and leadership.
This is a one year, in person, experiential program which adds that polish to Engineering graduates, which will give them a winning edge over other graduates with only theoretical degrees. The faculty of this course alone exceed 30, and come from prestigious establishments from around the globe, such as UC Berkely, Purdue, IIT and domain experts from IBM and HRS. The scholars who undergo this training become futuristic Tech leaders by undergoing a 360-degree transformation in acquiring tech leadership skills. They gain an entrepreneurial mindset and acquire an ability to apply design thinking towards designing solutions for products and services. They develop deep skills in the technology of Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning, which are the saw and hammer of a future in Engineering. Our alumni move on to land cutting edge tech roles at corporates, venture into technology entrepreneurship, undertake higher studies and create a social impact using technology.
A Broader Horizon
Aside from technical subjects, there must be a focus on society, communication, the world stage and the human experience. It is no longer an option to train the leaders of our future in archaic and exclusive establishments where technical knowledge may be exemplar but the practical vision of their graduates is foggy and limited. Plaksha University enters the stage here, to fill this lacuna. Here, learning technology runs side by side with problem solving, design thinking and systems thinking. Towards this end, the University has a Centre for Thinking, Language and Communication (CTLC) which strives to enhance thinking, linguistic and communicative capacities of engineers. The CTLC develops and delivers courses on these subjects for students of technology, mentors students on writing projects towards popular publishing and public speaking, develops EdTech products for STEM education and enables cutting edge research on the interface of communicating capacities and STEM education.
The work of engineers can no longer be restricted to any place or zone. The innovations and developments in one part of the world impact the functioning and future of every other part and we are all inextricably woven together in a wonderful web of information. It logically follows that this interconnectedness should be inculcated in the Tech leaders of tomorrow right from the grass roots. A good Technology University, in keeping with the needs of such foundations of modern education, must have good ties with similar establishments all around the world. Plaksha University has such tie-ups with UC Berkely, Purdue, UCSD, Cornell, SRI International as well as reputed Technology Universities in our own country, such as IIT, IISc and PGIMER. This ensures that the flame which is lit at our campus continues to be fueled in our graduates even after they move out of our home. They merely move out from our circle of care to be embraced by a global community of unique, diversified and talented peers, faculty, alumni and founders. Such systems ensure the safety of our children as well as of the bright sparks ignited in them by us.
Communication is Key
By definition, technology is the application of scientific knowledge to the practical aims of human life. Clearly, a Technology University must provide not only the knowledge of science, but also train its students in the practicality of the aims of human life and how to apply themselves to it. They should have an understanding of the world to gain insight into the problems faced by people and societies. Aside from finding a solution to these problems, they should be able to communicate with others to lay out their proposals and to tweak them as per the requirement of the beneficiary. They should be able to lay out their thought processes lucidly and comprehensively for the benefit of others who follow in their wake, so that the thread of continuity is not lost and the fruits of their labor do not spoil for want of understanding. All these needs have been acknowledged and made arrangements for by Plaksha University in the form of fora, systems and centres for training which amalgamate the education students acquire at the university with real life skill sets.
Innovate and Create
The fire ignited by the Technology University in its students needs a vent in order for it to forge future solutions. Such an institution must make arrangements for channelling the skills of the student and moulding his/her brain child into viable, marketable products. Plaksha University does this through a Centre for Innovation in Education (CIE) which helps students become more entrepreneurial by developing problem solving skills through deep research and active collaboration and communication with stakeholders. The students are encouraged to gain an execution mindset by building and iterating on their functional prototypes and learning time management skills via prioritization and resource management.
The program is an exercise in teamwork with the students being divided into groups which are urged to address challenges in areas of water, energy, agriculture, health and more, using innovative technological solutions. They are provided with mentorship and funding, and a sense of competition is infused into the mindset of participants, to boost motivation. The result is usually an enthusiastic display of innovativeness and ingenuity which gives one great hopes for the future.
In an endeavour to empower graduates with a deep understanding of science and technology and also nurture them to become critical thinkers, effective communicators and empathetic and creative leaders, Plaksha has handpicked outstanding faculty from establishments all over the world. In order to instil a hunger for learning, and bringing about change, it is vital that the mentors and guides of the students be well qualified, and more importantly, highly motivated themselves. Plaksha takes pride in precisely such a charged and talented pool of educators who know their onions and are genuinely excited at having the opportunity to teach, guide and enable the bright young people who come here for direction. While this may be a claim echoed by many other establishments, something which sets Plaksha apart is the focus on development of our teaching faculty as well. Just as the secret to a productive and enlightened home is a happy and healthy mother, so also, we believe, is an empowered and progressive faculty the foundation of a good Technology University which contributes bright engineers as future leaders of society. This is the reason why the University has a dedicated zone for the faculty to continue to work on themselves and to continue to improve their standards. This facility is called the “Teaching Studio’.
The Teaching Studio is a creative space for the faculty of the University to tinker with their own teaching styles and to create a high-quality learning experience for students. The Teaching Studio provides or is in the process of arranging, virtual backdrops, smart boards, variable light and sound conditions, an e-learning repository, practice recordings, website uploading platforms, teaching style analysis and a Teaching Studio Operator. The priority of the establishment is evidently not merely to make a business out of Technical Education, but to evolve with an entire, vital section of a productive society and in the process, contribute to progress in a wholesome way. Every participant of the vision, whether it is a trainer or trainee, is taken into consideration and care is given to their welfare, nurturing and development. Taking care of the development of the faculty is a relatively new concept in the Indian Education framework and Universities which recognize the significance of this step and take this initiative, are bound to flourish.
Recruitment and Placement
Aside from providing a sound base in tech knowledge, inculcating life skills and creating an infrastructure from which the graduates of our University can operate, it is crucial to the success of a Technology University that it offers a stepping stone from which the new engineers can launch themselves into the arena of innovation and development. This need is fulfilled by the Career Advancement Centre. The CAC provides training in Resume Building, Interview Preparation, Soft Skills and Tech Skill building. The aim is to prepare the students for the best internships, capstones and full-time placements. They also organise Placement Fairs in which scores of internationally recognised organisations participate and provide placements to the students. To their credit, some students receive pre-placement offers from the very organisations that they work with for their capstones.
Home away from home
A Technology University works best when it houses its proteges right at the centre of education. There should ideally be a hostel with ample facilities for the all-round development and recreation of the children so that they are able to focus on their technological education with vigour and focus. Sports facilities, gymnasiums, libraries and gardens should form the framework within which a bright young thinker rests and recuperates. A student council should exist to ensure active participation by the students in the management of the University. A Buddy and/or Mentor System is also desirable, which will ensure a senior ‘Buddy’ or Mentor for every new student entering the portals of the Institution. This will ease the transition of the new student from the safe environment of home to the often challenging world of University and provide a focal point at which s(he) can draw information, guidance and comfort. Plaksha University has all of these facilities in place and prides itself on being a Technology University which plays an active role in Modern Education and contributes crucially to the future of students of technology.