The employability of fresh engineering graduates (and non-engineering graduates, for that matter) was already a point of debate among various stake holders of engineering education system. Most of the surveys and researches conducted by industry conglomerates and government and non-government agencies have put the employability ratio of engineering graduates to abysmally low figures. Some of the problems highlighted by these agencies include, lack of problem solving abilities lack of exposure to specialized skills in high growth areas , inability to apply basic engineering principles to real world problems, lack of command over English language and cognitive skills.These reports also suggest that the prospective employers expect the graduates to be able to formulate, analyze, and solve real life problems using standard engineering techniques.
The above stated general understanding of employability problem and their reasons were consolidated by frequent feedbacks from some of the companies visiting our campus regularly for recruitment. Most of these companies highlighted the fact that engineering students in general lack practical orientation. In other words these students may be able to solve completely structured theoretical problems but they flunk when it comes to application of the classroom theories to real world problems.
It became clear that the present engineering education system (the curriculum and its delivery mechanism) has failed to produce graduates who can actually engineer something.Being governed by the regulations prescribed by the affiliating university we did not have much flexibility to modify curriculum or its delivery mechanisms, but we had sufficient flexibility to design and execute supplementary programs to bridge these glaring gaps. After few brainstorming sessions Spark was conceived and beta launched.
- Aspiring Mind (2013). Employability Report on Indian Graduates by Aspiring Mind, 2013. Retrieved from www.aspiringminds.com
- Aspiring Mind (2014). National Employability Report by Aspiring Minds, 2014. Retrieved from
- Economic Times, April 7, 2011. Only 25 percent IT Graduates are readily employable: NASSCOM. Retrieved from
- Business Standard, November 13 2014. Employability of graduates big concern: FICCI-EY. Retrieved from
- The Economist, January, 2014. High university enrolment, low graduate employment. Retrieved from
- FICCI – World Bank Survey, 2009. Only 36 percent graduates are employable. Retrieved from
Launch of Spark beta
In order to address the above mentioned shortcomings of curriculum and classroom based teaching Spark (beta) was launched during March, 2014. At the operational level Spark actively worked to promote research at the under graduate (UG) level. The concept of UG research is slightly different than the conventional definition of research whose objective is to create new technologies in order to solve real world problems. On the other hand the former is more concerned about finding out solutions by innovative use of existing technology. Spark program provided financial and technical support to innovative project ideas hoping that while working on their own projects students will learn various applied aspects of existing technologies.
Launch of Spark
Buoyed by the small but significant successes achieved during the first few months of its launch, it was decided to take Spark to the next level and on February 7, 2015 Spark was formally launched with noteworthy presence of industry and academia representatives.
Formation of CARE
Around July, 2015 few closely interrelated initiatives and programs (including Spark) were merged together to create one behemoth with the name of Center for Applied Research and Entrepreneurship (CARE) with a defined set of objectives.