NEW DELHI: India’s top engineering institutes are redesigning their core B Tech programmes to add credits on arts and humanities, including creative arts. Authorities in the Indian Institutes of Technology said while components of arts in engineering programmes have always been included in the course content, now a conscious effort is being made to raise them by 25-30 per cent.
“With IITs updating their course, we will see subjects related to humanities, arts and social sciences going up in undergraduate programmes,” a senior member of IIT Council, the governing body of all 23 functional IITs in the country, told The New Indian Express.
“The inclusion of more arts content is aimed at promoting all round holistic development of our engineers and to boost innovation and research in classical music, art forms, and architecture,” he added.
In B Tech, students choose minor subjects apart from the major, which can be from a department different from her/his parent department or from across multiple departments and inter-disciplinary subjects. A minor is a sequence of three-four courses accounting for 24-36 credits, sources said.
IIT-Delhi Director V Ramgopal Rao said the basic learning premise for engineers is to find solutions for problems. “But engineers can be more creative if they are given exposure to subjects other than the core ones,” he said.
Dheeraj Sanghi, a senior professor of Computer at IIT-Kanpur said the institute has been leading in encouraging students to study art components. “About 12-15 per cent of our course content is already related to humanities and social sciences apart from courses in economics, psychology, philosophy, English, sociology, and art,” he added.
A senior office-bearer at IIT-Mandi said a proposal to include components on creative art and design is now on the table. They had not been offered before. A report by IIT-Kanpur prepared a few years ago on deficiencies in course structures at IITs had listed several weaknesses such as less emphasis on working with hands and tinkering, too much content and lack of flexibility for students to select courses depending on their maturity, aptitude and interest.
Former students pointed out that many of them did not understand the importance of content — other than core subjects — that afterward play a crucial role in shaping careers and lives.