Enter, om-shanti managers
New Delhi: Budding engineers may have to bone up on human values and meditation while aspiring managers may have to leaf through the Vedas and the Upanishads.
The features are part of the model curriculum rolled out by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) on Wednesday for students pursuing courses in BTech, MTech, Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Post Graduate Diploma in Management.
Over 3,000 engineering colleges and 500 management schools approved by the AICTE are expected to follow the curriculum after it is adopted by the affiliating universities. On Wednesday, nearly 100 vice-chancellors of varsities offering technical courses, who attended a conference where the model curriculum was unveiled, agreed to adopt it with suitable modifications.
The model curriculum for management courses provides for the study of Indian ethos and business ethics.
"Indian culture is largely focusing on collectivism where family and work group goals dominate over individualistic needs and desires. The ethical values of family system and man as a 'community individual' are not reflected in the management literature," the model curriculum says.
AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe said the idea was to encourage the application of the principles depicted in traditional Indian literature in modern-day business. "Indian literature has much to offer to business studies. So there is the chapter on Indian ethos," he told The Telegraph.
The document says India has a rich knowledge pool of the Vedas, the Itihasa (the Ramayan and the Mahabharat), the Upanishads and literature like the Panchatantra and Chanakya's epic Arthashastra, which have a significant relevance for the modern economy.
The curriculum advocates the inclusion of the Indian ethos by citing the financial crisis faced by corporate houses around the globe because of "weak foundations of business ethics".
It cites the accounting scandal at Satyam, the Sahara fiasco and the increasing trend of wilful default of bank loans, saying these expose the weak foundations of ethics and values in business.
The document says S.K. Chakraborty of IIM Calcutta has already developed the ethical component of the Bharatiya management. The course content is largely based on ancient Indian wisdom and knowledge from sources like the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita.
The model curriculum for BTech courses will include a compulsory regimen packing the Indian Constitution, human values, Indian traditional knowledge and environmental science.
The students should be trained to practise different models of meditation so as to elicit a state of deep physical and behavioural relaxation, the curriculum says.
It wants BTech students to familiarise themselves with the beliefs and philosophies of different religions on environment, gender equality, unity and financial equality. It prescribes reading books on different faiths by renowned authors.
The curriculum has proposed a three-week induction programme for undergraduate students entering an institution, only after which normal classes will start.
The induction programme involves a daily routine of physical activity like a light workout or yoga at 6am. Value education can be imparted by making students explore and think as well as engaging them in dialogue and discussions on universal human values.
The documents were released by human resource development minister Prakash Javadekar and minister of state Satya Pal Singh. The AICTE had last revised its syllabus in 2012. The new curriculum has reduced the requirement of theoretical content. It has prescribed an upper limit of 160 credits (the value attached to each course undertaken as part of a degree) for BTech, 68 credits for MTech and 102 credits for MBA courses. It has included several courses citing the credit points. The affiliating universities would decide which courses to be prescribed subject to the ceiling.
The curriculum makes internships for students and training of newly inducted teachers mandatory. Every student will have to be an intern for two months every year for the first three years of BTech. Junior minister Singh said: "Spirituality and materialism should go together. The traditional wisdom is relevant."