Education to be in Sync with Industry Needs
Prof. Dr.P.S.N.Rao, Director, School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi feels the professional education in real estate needs to scale up to the sector’s manpower demands.
An architect, civil engineer and town planner with over 30 years of professional experience, Prof. Dr Rao is the Chairman, Delhi Urban Art Commission, Government of India. Besides being an educationist, he has carried out several research and professional assignments for various national and international agencies.
Talking about the education lacunae for professionals like architects, engineers and project managers he feels while there are number of existing and new colleges mushrooming across India, the quality of education has not improved. “Ideally students should be imparted both theoretical and practical knowledge so that when enter the industry, they are already semi trained and well versed with the job requirements. But very few colleges either have the resources or capability to do so. The quality of teachers too needs to be relooked at. They should have certain years of professional experience before taking the position of a teacher so as to share their knowledge of the profession through teaching.”
Professional bodies like Council of Architecture, Indian Institute of Interior Designers and others can play a key role in bringing uniformity in the education, so that every student walking out of the institutes is ready to be employed in the market.
Prof. Dr Rao also mentioned about the polytechnics and ITI (Industrial Training Institutes) that the government had initiated across the country in 1950-60s to provide vocational training in engineering and non-engineering fields. “Despite efforts, several problems prevented these institutes and courses from reaching common masses and getting popular among youth. They need to upgrade the syllabus according to the industry requirements and employ trained faculty to train students.
The government is now taking appropriate measures and has waking up to the fact and all these institutes are getting transferred from the department of higher education to the Ministry of Skill Development and entrepreneurship (MSDE). It is also great to see that product companies are setting up training institutes to educate and train people in their specific domain. All these steps are expected to reduce skill gaps in the building industry.”
SPA-Making a Difference
“At SPA we have 10 post graduate courses and 2 under graduate courses, in post graduate we give more weight age to people those have some amount of work experience, also we invite industry faculty, right from leading designers, architects, product manufacturers and other professionals of the industry to keep our students updated with the practical knowledge.
The college organizes field visits to the project sites for students to getfirst-hand experience of site work, design challenges and technology application. Internships also play a great role in this. Through all such practical trainings and activities SPA is holistically making its students job ready. We truly believe giving skill knowledge to students is to make them employable.
Moreover, SPA has MOUs with some of the developers who regularly visit the campus, share their feedback on student’s work and provide suggestions that can be incorporated in the syllabus. The whole idea behind this is to bring to the students during their studies the ground realities and teach them how to combine the commercial aspect with creativity.
What we teach our students is to not come up with pseudo creative utopian projects but rather stay in sync with market realities and create products and services those are both feasible and viable to the current market scenario. Ten years back this was not the scenario, but today we are taking full co-operation from realty professionals in our endeavour to train the next wave of professionals in the best way possible.
The New Experiments
Having said that, Prof. Dr Rao explains that in metro cities it is easier for institutes to provide best in class professional exposure to students but for colleges located in smaller cities, this becomes a challenge.” In such situations, the public-private partnership in the domain of skill up gradation of students can play a major role. While, Ministry of Skill Development can come forth with some measures to create such partnerships, technology to can be utilized in the form of conducting webinars, video conferencing so that students across cities can be imparted similar exposure and a level playing field for all the young professionals,” he concluded.