T-Schools

Keeping pace with Industry 4.0 and technological change: Dataquest Top T-School 2020 Survey

In its 15th year now, the DQ Top T-School Survey is a highly respected and pioneering barometer on the state of technical education in India. The T-School rankings, based on DQ’s PACE Framework, are much sought-after by the industry, for the deep insights it offers at a national level, as well as regional level, on the talent pool, and where to hunt for the best talent.

The world around us has been transforming at a very dramatic pace. The way we communicate, travel, play and work has changed irreversibly, and with the speed of change anticipated to be even swifter in the times ahead.

The incredible speed of technological change, as evinced from the breakthroughs in Industry 4.0 (comprising of Internet of Things(IoT) and smart sensors, big data, automation, robotics, and additive manufacturing, and permeated by Artificial Intelligence across all these domains), among others, puts engineers and engineering expertise right in the centre of action, than ever before.

As new technological cycles emerge and bring forth new innovations in the coming decades of the 21st Century, the global circular economy will be forever transformed the way we know it. Making these scientific discoveries and technological transformations will be possible only by engineering skills, and driven by the students graduating from T-Schools in India.

In the years to come, today’s students at Indian T-schools will be called upon to develop a creative mindset, adopt new problem-solving approaches and inculcate cross-cutting capabilities, that enable them to move from the existing conventional thinking on how to solve problems. Tomorrow’s engineers will be increasingly called upon to adopt comprehensive approaches to problem solving, leading large teams to define and solve problems, and in the process, build a proactive innovation culture.

For us to prepare for this inevitable and exciting future, today’s T-school education will have to foster a thriving culture that encourages ‘out of box’ thinking, emphasizes on creativity and innovation skills, and essentially a learning environment where divergent ideations are encouraged.

Fostering innovation
As a foundation layer of fostering innovation, the T-School education must emphasize on engineering education alongside technical research. In the decades to come, the engineering challenges will be multi-dimensional and complex enough, and would require new skills and mindsets, going beyond the conventional pedagogy of today.

In essence, the engineers of tomorrow will have well-grounded capabilities in streams going beyond their technical core domain. They will possess, not just a deep knowledge of engineering sciences and systems thinking, but also have capabilities including creative agility, deep cross-cultural skills, and a mindset attuned to continuous learning. All these attributes exist in the T-school pedagogy of today, but their broad relevance and relative importance has clearly shifted, and will continue to shift in the time to come.

The engineering education of today is poised for a major shift to better prepare students for the world of tomorrow. The engineering students would be called upon not just to acquire the skills learnt by their predecessors, but would be called upon to be more versatile in their approaches towards understanding challenges, and communicating succinctly.

Today’s T-Schools are at the forefront of enabling the engineers of tomorrow. It is in this context that the 15th DQ T-School Survey is mapping how well today’s T-Schools are preparing the engineers for the world of tomorrow.

The DQ-CMR T-School Study mapped and, in particular, identified the key attributes and best practices of T-Schools that led the T-School leaderboard, and the key areas of concern for those that fared lower on the leaderboard. Some key themes that the T-School 2020 study looked at in detail, include the following:

1. How prepared and successful T-Schools are in providing industry responsive education?
2. When it comes to preparing market-ready talent, how best prepared are T-Schools?
3. In terms of preparing a future-ready technology view, how well are industries and T-Schools are connected?

— Prabhu Ram, Head-Industry Research Group at CMR

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