Why India needs to flip current education models to create future innovators

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Yash Dhake, a mechanical engineering student and Samruddhi Dhake, a computer engineering student from Chinchwad College of Engineering in Nigadi, Pune with their model at the annual "SOLIDWORKS WORLD 2018" conference.

By Nishant Arora,

Los Angeles : For Yash Dhake, a mechanical engineering student, and Samruddhi Dhake, a computer engineering student, the dream finally came true when they came on stage here to receive accolades for their innovations in front of over 5,000 innovators and global industry stalwarts.

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Hailing from Chinchwad College of Engineering in Nigadi, Pune, the brother-sister duo showcased their project titled “Smart Product for Waste Management and Reuse” at the annual “SOLIDWORKS WORLD 2018” conference here last week.

They emerged winners after competing with over 850 teams from 196 colleges across 21 states in the design challenge “Aakruti 2017”, organised by the “3DEXPERIENCE” major Dassault Systemes India in November last year.

For Marie Planchard, Director of Education and Early Engagement, SOLIDWORKS at Dassault Systèmes, this is just the beginning and India, which took the lead in producing talent in computer science globally, now has the daunting task of preparing a workforce for industrial design and engineering.

“Engineering is a little bit more challenging than computer science. The thought of the design process in engineering begins at a very young age. Exposing kids to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM)-based learning so that they get inspired to learn more has to be planned at an early stage,” Planchard told IANS.

In order to achieve this, she said, India needs to shun the traditional educational system that was developed some 200 years ago.

“In order to teach STEM, India needs to flip the current learning models. You are not just teaching maths or science or engineering any more in the classroom. Now is the time to prepare the young demographic towards addressing real-life situations,” Planchard emphasised.

Currently, there are eight SOLIDWORKS incubators in the country — situated at IIT-Bombay, IIT-Madras and IIT-Kanpur, among others, helping nearly 10-15 start-ups each — in fields spanning from eradicating social problems to find solutions for high-end technology.

The waste management plan by Yash and Samruddhi provides a treatment of dry waste and generates electricity, slag, hot water as well as distilled water.

The treatment of wet wastes also generates biogas and manure which could provide great impetus to the agro-based economy.

“We are now looking for the government’s support to commercialise our project that deals with collection and segregation of municipal solid waste and its treatment at a local level,” Yash told IANS.

The waste management plan deals with collection and segregation of municipal solid waste, its treatment at a local level and generates tangible and sellable products that have good market demand.

“It gives us immense pleasure to provide an opportunity for domestic talent to showcase their innovation. The project is extremely relevant and when commercialised, can provide a new dimension to municipal bodies across the country,” said P.M. Ravikumar, Senior Director, Dassault Systèmes- SOLIDWORKS, India.

There are 30 SOLIDWORKS Authorised Training Centres (SATC) in India that are teaching the current workforce how to design and make New-Age products.

“Customers today are demanding a skilled workforce that thinks beyond just a plain design or product. For this, we have to fight the challenge at three levels: Teach the kids, reskill the current workforce and train the trainers — and students are helping us achieve that in the first place,” Planchard noted.

According to Dr S.S. Lakade, Dean R&D, Pimpri Chinchwad College of Engineering, they are designing projects that are scalable, address local challenges and provides economic and regional development.

“We thank SOLIDWORKS for their product offerings and the students have used advanced add-ins like Piping and Tubing, Simulation, Flow Simulation, Photo view 360 and ‘SOLIDWORKS Visualize’ for creating amazing photo-realistic renderings,” he explained.

The team used Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) technology to generate electricity from synthetic gas by gasification of dry waste.

“India has a golden opportunity in its young demographic. It should invest early in creating an engineering workforce that will make the country proud once again. I hope it doesn’t take India another 20 years to do so,” said Planchard, who is responsible for global development of content and social outreach for SOLIDWORKS products across all levels of learning.

(Nishant Arora can be contacted at nishant.a@ians.in)

—IANS

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