The Confederation of India Industry (CII) has urged the West Bengal technical education department to take a fresh look at courses in its polytechnic colleges and Industrial Training Institutes (ITI). To help the government incorporate the necessary changes, the apex chamber has also come forward to fashion the changes.
“At the CII forum on IT, we have discussed extensively the specific skill sets required for a booming IT-enabled services (ITES) sector. Be it in degree courses or diploma programmes, the present curriculum doesn’t address the needs of this sector. So we are submitting a formal proposal to the state government to put in place a more need-based syllabus,” said S.K. Mitra, chairman, IT sub-committee, CII eastern region.
The proposal to introduce bridge courses in over 50 such institutes in the state will be submitted within a week.
The chamber is also planning to suggest some changes for the various engineering programmes conducted in both government and private engineering colleges.
“Recently, we had a meeting with representatives from both industry and academia to discuss changes in the curriculum to suit specific needs of the industry. We have asked the CII to give us a proposal and we will work on it to effect the necessary changes,” said state technical education minister Mohammed Salim.
According to Mitra, who is managing director of the state government’s nodal IT agency, Webel, the proposal is based on recommendations put down by IT professionals from city-based software majors like Tata Consultancy Services, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Skytech Solutions and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“Industry captains have pointed out that though the pass-outs from these institutes are analytically strong, their skill set doesn’t always match the industry requirements. So, there is an urgent need to link up industry with academia,” added Mitra.
Besides specifying the need to develop competence in “application-oriented programmes”, the proposal will also include suggestions to introduce bridge courses for development of soft skills in communication, financial accounting and exposure to the basics of transcription, project management and quality management.
The move by the industry association is aimed at bolstering the government bid to sell Calcutta as a hotspot for IT-enabled services.
“We are trying to lure investments in ITES. But we must have a readily-employable workforce here, which can act as an incentive for companies to set up shop in the city,” said Mitra.