A number of top-rated Universities have introduced innovation centres for their students. ‘Creativity’ is the buzz word at such centres. Students are encouraged to think ‘out of the box’ and create something new. They are aided by professors and experts from industry.
Creative minds are encouraged to ‘rip’ apart a working computer, for example, and put it back again with value-additions to the old product. It is not unusual to find students spending long hours, tinkering with gadgets, bolts and nuts strewn all over the place waiting for ‘magic’ hands to ‘screw’ onto something new.
The results are new projects which vary from a lawnmower operated by solar energy to conveyor belts which can identify and lift different products. Students have been known to develop an app that is a saviour for a working lady who wants to put off her oven exactly at the time her cake is ready from her place of work. It’s a world that is magical – where the magic is created not with the wave of a wand but by creative minds.
Numerous patents have been filed from such innovation centres and they are in total sync with the Prime Minister’s Skill India campaign.
The Innovation and incubation centres at universities are usually mentored by the Doctorates at the Universities who are teachers and experts in their own fields. Conferences and workshops on emerging and popular ‘happening’ subjects are often discussed by students and industry experts. These conferences are attended by CEOs and heads of well-known establishments to bridge the gap between industry and academia. A prime example of this is the mentoring done by former Faridabad Small Industries Association President Rajeev Chawla at the Manav Rachna Incubation and Innovative centre. Well-known as the ‘Tor Phor Jor Centre’ (literally translated the ‘Break and Make Centre’) is a hands-on-learning centre which acts as an interface between industry and students and gives them the essential experience in innovation. The projects are often out-of-the-box creations.
Alumni who are presently working with industry often spend their valuable time guiding the students at these Innovative centres. Not only do they share their experiences but also guide students to participate in national and international competitions like the ones held at IITs or at an international level like the Microsoft Challenge Cup, which is a yearly competition and has participants from across the globe.
Top of the line
Other than the government-funded universities, students from abroad could look at world-class centres of excellence in the higher education sphere in India. Comparitively new, there are a few privately-run establishments that are creating a stir in the field of education.
Among these is Ashoka University near Delhi. Run by the collective philanthropy of donors from a number of industries, the university offers a wide range of liberal courses and has academic collaborations with some of the top universities from US and UK. The University is focused on creating future Nobel Laureates and does not offer professional degrees in engineering, management or law.
Another university that offers similar quality of education is the Shiv Nadar University at Noida, also near Delhi. Established by the Shiv Nadar Foundation, the institution’s curriculum is based on three pillars of education: Core Common Curriculum (CCC), University Wide Electives (UWE) and Major-Minor combination. These offer unique courses in engineering, social sciences, etc. The idea is to ensure the all-round development of a student. In the Major-Minor combination, for instance, students can specialize in two diverse fields of study like Computer Science with Finance.