JIS University’s Chancellor Taranjit Singh spoke on whether online education is a temporary solution, how virtual labs can thrive, the brighter points of the new WBJEE e-counselling process and the NEP 2020.
The year 2020 is not quite dispensable when it comes to academics. First, classes went the online way as the Novel Coronavirus contained people to their homes, board and entrance exams were either cancelled or postponed, admissions to the new academic session have been delayed and a new National Education Policy (NEP), approved by the Union Cabinet on July 29, altered the academic fabric of the Indian education system. In this weather of paradigm shifts, ABP Education spoke to Mr Taranjit Singh, Chancellor of JIS University and Managing Director, JIS Group Educational Initiatives, to get a slice of the Engineering course’s future.
Mr Singh spoke on whether online education is a temporary solution, how virtual labs can thrive, the benefits of the WBJEE e-counselling and the NEP 2020.
Q: Computer Science and Electronics have been top choices for students getting into Engineering colleges over the years. Do you think the COVID-19 pandemic will see a new branch of Engineering becoming a favourite among students this time around?
A: This is tough to predict and it would require a survey. Every subject and stream has its own importance. What's in the pipeline cannot be predicted as of now, and a proper research has to be done to understand this trend. But it is true that in the context of the given situation, streams like IT, CSE and specialisation in the field of CSE like AI, Cyber security, Data Analytics/Data Science etc will be more demanded by the students along with ECE.
Q: How are engineering colleges and courses adapting to the new normal of online teaching-learning. Do you see this as a temporary solution only?
A: The students are being forced now to opt for online teaching but this can never be a permanent solution. It has become obvious to train the students online finding no other way to pursue courses. According to me, 30% of dependency will remain on the digital sector. The confluence of technology and education is obviously here to stay together with the advancement of cyber technology. But the environment and attitude of any school or college is also a factor to success. If you see, everybody has chosen a digital platform now despite many people saying this might not work at all. I think we might soon see more digital platforms and new technology coming up in the future with respect to digital trends. All in all, digital is here to stay.
Q: Can virtual labs realistically replace physical laboratory experiments in engineering?
A: If 3D models can be made in virtual labs, then it is possible. In 2D it looks difficult. Keeping in view virtual labs, the results will obviously be better in 3D as a 360 degree view is more likely possible in this.
Q: The West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination Board has made sweeping changes to the counselling process this year. How do you see this e-counselling process impact admissions to Engineering colleges?
A: It is not a sweeping change. It's a change in the e-counselling process to make it easier and better than before. The objective is to make the process faster. Even the upgradation process has been revised and students are being allowed to choose a college freshly in each round before locking his or her choice. So it will act better. And with time, the process is also expected to get better.
Q: The Union Cabinet recently gave its approval to the new National Education Policy. How do you see the NEP impacting the outlook for Engineering education in the future?
A: Certainly this new National Education Policy has increased the options for students. For those in four-year courses, research will become a key element in the fourth year of their curriculum. So it certainly is a better approach. This will be good as students will gain expertise in their subjects.