By Prarthana Mitra
In a bid to diversify their pedagogical approach, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) will offer engineering courses through the School of Engineering starting next month. The admission process already underway.
Fifty students will be selected for a five-year dual degree programme of Bachelors in Technology (B.Tech) plus Masters in Technology (M.Tech) or Masters in Science (MS) degree, with specialisation in Social Science/Humanities/Science/Technology, Rector II Satish Garkoti said in a statement on May 21.
Here’s what happened
The idea to set up an engineering school was conceived last year by vice-chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, whose previous stint was as a professor at IIT-Delhi.
JNU is presently gearing up to welcome its inaugural batch of aspiring engineers, comprising 50 students who will be admitted based on their ranking in the Joint Entrance Examination JEE (Main), through Joint Seat Allocation Authority 2018 (JoSAA-2018).
The School of Engineering could eventually emerge as one of the best engineering colleges in India, believes newly appointed dean Ramesh Kumar Agrawal, an alumnus of IIT-Delhi. “JNU was always ready for this course. Unlike many engineering colleges that have only a handful of permanent faculty members, JNU has a huge pool of specialised teachers on its campus already,” he said.
Most of the engineering faculty is from the Special Centre for Nanoscience and School of Computer and Systems Sciences. With the existing infrastructure, expert faculty from various schools in the university, and highly qualified guest and visiting faculty, JNU is now ready to launch two different programmes of engineering degrees: computer science engineering, and electronics and communications.
Here’s where “multi-disciplinary approach” comes in
Agarwal said that the curriculum has been designed based on consultation with leading engineering colleges across India, including several IITs, while retaining “the flavour of JNU“.
Garkoti declared in his statement, “The unique feature of the Engineering School at JNU will be its multi-disciplinary approach to imparting education.” Addressing the pressing concerns when it comes to scientific studies, and keeping time with the world standards, Garkoti added, “Technology today cuts across almost all disciplines, and an engineering graduate with specialisation in Humanities, Sciences and Technology etc. will be better able to perform in the modern world…”
According to Agarwal, students will be encouraged to choose from a wide range of electives such as Korean Studies, Environmental Science, Computational Finance, Computational Linguistics and even humanities courses. “This is something that probably no other university in India is offering,” he said. Most western universities have already adopted this form of pedagogy wherein essential disciplines of humanities are coupled with the curricula for science and technology students, for a more holistic education. “It’s a combination of technology and social science,” said Agarwal.
Renowned for its forward thinking and groundbreaking research in the liberal arts for decades, JNU’s School of Engineering is bound to be coloured by the same values and vision. As India’s premier liberal arts campus opens its doors to future computer and electronic engineers, it also hopes to bring about a much-needed overhaul in the modes of instruction prevalent in engineering colleges across the country.
Prarthana Mitra is a writer at Qrius.
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