NITs to Include Courses on Swachh Bharat and Digital India

Government flagship programmes will be offered at India’s premier engineering and technology institutes

Main Building, NIT Jamshedpur Wikimedia Commons

Swachh Bharat, Digital India and Make In India are certain government programmes that have been in the limelight ever since they were introduced by the BJP government. The have been doing rounds not only in all kinds of print media but social media as well. And now what we’ve heard is that government flagship programmes such as Swachh Bharat and Digital India will be offered as courses in some of India’s top universities which include India’s premier engineering and technology institutes.

The Council of National Institutes of Technology, Science Education and Research formed a committee which made this recommendation regarding the inclusion of such policies in education. Sources claim that the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) is going to adopt this recommendation. The council happens to be the highest decision making body for NITs and Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research. There are 32 NITs in the country, which are funded by the HRD ministry and are head-to-head with the premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

On May 26, when a decision was being taken to adopt the recommendations as model guidelines by the Council, the meeting of the council was being chaired by Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar.

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The panel recommended this move saying, “Courses related to national flagship programme can be introduced. The objective of this course should be to make students ready to contribute to the nation building programmes by unearthing engineering aspects involved in national flagship programme.” They also added that these courses are beneficial for the betterment of human resources. For developing a course other disciplines that can be used include smart cities, Jan Dhan, Skill India and Make in India.

Potentially, this move could intensify criticism over alleged attempts to push the ruling party, BJP’s agenda in the education area. The BJP government has been accused by opposition parties on the grounds of trying to saffronise education by including Hindutva icons and ideology in textbooks. The BJP denies this charge.

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This marks the first time that these courses will have government programmes included.

This should be a major concern for the HRD ministry as only 40 percent of those who pass out get jobs. Revision of curriculum is being seen as an attempt to address that problem. The panel has suggested taking industry inputs for curricula revision.

It’s not just engineering students who have to study the ruling government’s schemes. School textbooks meant for classes 9 to 12 that are part of the Samajopayogi Yojanayein or socially-relevant schemes consist of four chapters each that elaborate on central government schemes such as Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana. State government schemes such as Mukhyamantri Jal Swavalamban Yojana and Bhamashah Yojana are also explained in detail.

The Rajasthan government said that only 30 percent is focused on local content with 70 percent based on the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) curriculum.