Adherence to Ethics & Professional Values in Indian Technical Education

Prof Dr-Ing Anupam Kumar Singh*

Summary: Ethics and professional values are the most precious for professionals such as Engineers, Doctors, Lawyers, and Tax consultants. Since civilizations, India has been recognized for high ethical, professional and human values. However, after arrival of foreign rulers as well neo-rulers post-independence, there has been sharp decline and degradation in ethical and professional standards among Indian youths. The important reasons for degradation of ethical standards may be attributed to values in the university such as privatization of higher education system, delay in reinforcement of minimum technical education standards, easy access to large pool of information available through internet; values in the community such as excess exposure to social and digital media resources, declining human values among family and youths, limited mentoring support from family, and values in the world community such as over dependence on material wealth. The situation got further compounded as values in the world community got extremely high social recognition, and thus excessive increasing the market demand of professions such as engineers, doctors, managers, and lawyers. This article explores new possibilities and means for high professional values for technical education in India. The author suggests several possibilities to recover lost glory of Indian civilization, and establish once again modern Bharat based on high standards in human values and ethics, simplicity of living, and freedom of professional expression.

The Technical education landscape is changing rapidly due to establishment of large number of private universities and academic institutions in India during last 10-years. Indian higher education system needs massive expansion up to 1500 universities during next 5 years, in order to attain a gross enrolment ratio of 15% of the population, as desired by Government of India. In spite of last 6-decades of sustained efforts, India has just 160 central universities, 320 state universities, 210 private universities, and 12,800 technical institutions. The academic quality of these universities and institutions varies due to poor compliance of academic standards as laid down by regulatory agencies. Just one-third of universities and one-fifth of technical institutions in India have been accredited either by National Academic and Accreditation Council (NAAC) or National Board of Accreditation (NBA).

Although during last 6-years starting 2008, a compounded annual growth rate of 9.0% in student enrolments has been registered across India. However, some of the major challenges remain: access to education, inadequate availability of faculty, and limited employability of trained graduates. Internal quality assurance cell (IQAC) as envisaged by All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) has failed to stop malpractices and misrepresentation of facts in technical education. This has been partially due to on-and-off involvement of regulatory bodies and absence of self-regulation mechanism within Universities. These two factors may be recognized as a critical input for human resources development and social wellbeing of professionals. Thus, there is immediate need for rapid reforms and adherence to ethical and professional values in technical education systems.

Technical education has direct links with social wellbeing, as industrial production cannot be optimal in the absence of technical manpower. The success of the recent Make in India campaign as declared by Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, depends on the backbone of industrialization. Indian industries will be globally competitive, when and only when a close interaction and knowledge sharing between academia, social entrepreneurs, and market is ensured. Although this collaborative trend is being observed in a few industry-supported universities such as JK Lakshmipat University Jaipur, popularly known as JKLU. This top University in Engineering is supported by the corporate house JKO under whose banner industries such as JK Tyre & Industries, JK Lakshmi Cement, JK Paper, JK Fenner India, Umang Dairy, and DELOPT are working. However, for several hundreds of academic institutions spread across India, innovation and industry connect has not been brought to proper attention. These academic institutions should recognize the achievements of their students and facilitate industry-institute interaction through various programs. Since practical skills and knowledge are engines of social development, there is need to groom technical professionals with flexibility, adaptability, analytical capability, and multi-skill talents. If the technical graduates are offered value-based education and skills, they will be able to shape better society for tomorrow.

The national curriculum framework survey has listed erosion in 4-aspects such as Ethical standards, Social life, Personal well-being, and Universal values among professional graduates. There are few additional challenges among technical graduates such as violation of moral values and ethical values, and violation of human rights. The above listed challenges are to be addressed by inculcating professional integrity and ethical behavior among youths. The professional value parameters such as happiness, honesty, humility, simplicity, cooperation, tolerance, unity and human rights are essentials to turn the youth into the right direction. Thus, ethical and professional values hold the key to meaningful education that engages students in addressing real world challenges. A holistic and universal approach towards professional value by involving students in technical seminars and through new ethical-based courses in the existing curriculum may adhere to professional value in present education system. If the value-based professional education is imparted to youths, this may help professionals establish harmony between person and purpose, inclusiveness between person and society, and coherency between person and ethics.

About the Author:

Prof Dr-Ing Anupam Kumar Singh*Prof Dr-Ing Anupam Kumar Singh has obtained MS and PhD degree in Civil Engineering both from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany). He is currently working as Director, Institute of Engineering and Technology, JK Lakshmipat University Jaipur since November 2013. Earlier, he has worked at PDPU Gandhinagar as Head Department of Civil Engineering; Nirma University Ahmedabad as Professor in Civil Engineering; Karlsruhe Institute of Technology as Research Engineer; and Town & Country Planning Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh. Professor Singh has almost two and half decades of professional experience in academic, research and industry; and he may be contacted per email or personal email or on Telephone 0141-7107504 for further queries.

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