Private Institutions in India
There has been significant growth in private engineering institutions in India and across the globe, in the last two to three decades. Though many wellknown universities like Columbia University, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New York University and many more were established in the United States long back, it was only in the last 25 years or so that we saw an upsurge in private higher education institutions in India.
Research in India
If we investigate the quality of research and publications by Indian scholars, we find that most are from universities in advanced nations like the USA, UK and Europe. Very few institutes like IITs, ISI, IIMs and IISc can match the quality and quantum of publications done by Indians located abroad.
This, indeed, forces us to find out the reason for limitations on research scholarship in India. If we look into the scope of research in an average Indian university or autonomous institution, we find the lack of fund, trained faculty and exposure to world research, as major limiting factors. Only a handful of institutions like the IITs, NITs, ISI, IIMs, IISc, and the UGC-funded universities get grant to fund their research. Moreover, given their identity, these institutes attract faculty with PhD degrees. They also absorb the research scholars engaged in doctoral studies.
In such a scenario, the question that challenges us is how will the private universities generate research papers, carry on research and get faculty member s wi th PhD degrees to match global quality.
Importance of Projects
Most of the engineering curriculum in India includes a project work in the final year of the course. There is dearth of qualified engineering faculty in many institutions in India, with a very low percentage holding doctoral degrees. Often, students do not get proper guidance from their in-house faculty for their project work and look for a guide in the industry. As such, taking up summer project in industry is common for postgraduate students in management education. In spite of these disadvantages, every faculty member should focus on research-based final year project. Students should be encouraged to write research papers for presentation in international conferences and to send technical papers to journals for publications.
There are various research funding authorities in India. Quite a few industries also support funded projects. Every institute should explore opportunities for tie-ups with industries to carry out funded research. Other than the final year project, introducing a separate course will facilitate interested students in taking extra research work under the guidance of qualified faculty members. This is a common practice at masters level in North American universities. Introducing a curriculum in undergraduate level in Indian engineering institutions is also sure to produce better results in due course.