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Posted at: Jul 11, 2018, 12:11 AM; last updated: Jul 11, 2018, 12:11 AM (IST)

Curating curriculum for employability

Geetu vaid

Low employability quotient of graduates, especially those from the engineering field, has been a matter of grave concern over the past few years. Industry giants are getting proactive to deal with this situation and as a result industry-academia collaborations and tie-ups are becoming more popular. IT industry giant IBM has taken concrete steps on this front by getting actively involved in curating and assisting courses that cater to the industry demand by equipping professionals with  IT skills that are relevant as well as futuristic. “There is a dire need for industry-academia collaboration as the set curriculum of different courses churns out degree holders having skills that are no longer relevant in the industry. There is a need to prepare students for the next 5 to 8 years rather than making them study things that are currently in demand in the industry as by the time they would pass out the skills learnt by them would have been overtaken by new technology”, says Chaitanya N Sreenivas, Vice President & HR Head, IBM India & South Asia. Sreenivas was in Chandigarh earlier this week to attend the passing out of the first batch of IBM collaborative BE in computer science course being offered at Chandigarh University, Gharaun.   

“It was in 2014, that we sat and decided to develop a curriculum and course exclusively for CU in accordance with the trends in the IT industry. Keeping an eye on the core engineering topics, this course introduces students to the emerging technologies  being used in the industry increasingly. These include big data, data security, cloud computing etc”, adds Sreenivas. 

There is constant upgradation of the curriculum to keep pace with the rapid changes in the technology arena. “The curriculum is, in fact, updated every six months so that the students have training in the latest technologies being used by companies in this domain”, he says. 

Besides curating the content, IBM has also been training the faculty for this course. The course is being offered in engineering, MBA and PGDM programmes at CU.

The placement has been very heartening with the industry lapping up the graduates. Out of the 38 students who registered for placements in the first batch, 37 got placements in companies like IBM, Cognizant, Microsoft, Jarvis Technology etc. 

This collaboration has generated a good response as the number of students opting for IBM collaborative courses has been increasing steadily over the past three years. While the first batch was of 58 students, this year the university is expecting to get over 200 students in the BE course.

The IBM-CU collaborative programmes offer multiple advantages to the students in the form of experiential learning, industry exposure and learning of emerging technologies that enhance their career scope, Satnam Singh Sandhu, Chancellor of CU added. “It’s a win-win situation for the students, industry and the university. The students gain in the form of enhanced learning of new technologies and good placements, while the industry gains by getting trained human resources”, he added.

IBM has academic collaborations with as many as 16 universities in this format and over all in India the company is currently partnering with over 80 universities

Talking about the future plans of IBM regarding academic collaborations Sreenivas informed that IBM will be expanding the academic collaborations. “We are also looking at starting modular part classes in newer technologies like cognitive/ AI and blockchain as these are the future of IT industry the world over”. 

IBM is also in the process of setting up laboratories in more colleges to provide practical training to students to have a set up wherein they can actually try their hands on the new technologies and get a firsthand experience of the industry eco system. 

Working towards training   a new collar work force, IBM is woking on courses wherein students from streams other than the Science stream can also join. “The traditional four year degree is no longer required and those from other streams can also get into the tech and IT scene. The students need to have the mindset to work with technology. For example a student of psychology may fit into the cognitive or AI field,” adds Sreenivas.

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