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ACM & Computing Education in India A Summary & A Proposal Mathai Joseph & Madhavan Mukund ACM Education Council Meeting Denver, Co, 16 September 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "ACM & Computing Education in India A Summary & A Proposal Mathai Joseph & Madhavan Mukund ACM Education Council Meeting Denver, Co, 16 September 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 ACM & Computing Education in India A Summary & A Proposal Mathai Joseph & Madhavan Mukund ACM Education Council Meeting Denver, Co, 16 September 2011

2 Indian Technical Higher Education Few engineering colleges 20 years ago –6 IITs –~10-15 Regional Engineering Colleges –~100 engineering colleges Growth started in the 1990’s –Government-sponsored institutions unable to meet demand –Freedom given to start private colleges Growth followed liberalisation of the economy Growing demand from the IT industry –1000’s of engineers needed each year

3 Current Position Universities : 400+ degree granting institutions Indian Institutes of Technology 8 existing, 8 more under way Institutes of Information Technology 11 existing, 20 more under way National Institutes of Technology Leading regional engineering colleges Engineering Colleges ~6500 with ~0.5M new entrants a year Many privately run but with government concessions & grants Note: age group population is ~50M

4 Standards and Quality Widely varying selection standards: IIT’s had 455,571 taking entrance test in 2010, selected 1:50 Good institutions take 1:5 after an entrance examination Smaller engineering colleges take the rest Widely varying quality: IIT’s offer world class education: Highly talented students, good teachers, high peer pressure Typical small engineering college: Under-provisioned, under-resourced, poor teaching Used as stepping-stone to a job or higher degree elsewhere

5 Deficiencies Narrow entry criteria : –Based on single exam result, dependence on coaching courses –No second chance: applicants trickle through the available slots to find a place somewhere Major recruiters (IT companies) have restricted focus: –Campus recruitment at 200+ ‘accredited’ institutions –Occasional open entry test for all others Large recruitment targets: –Upto 30,000-60,000 fresh graduates a year per company

6 Growth IT industry is main employer for engineering graduates: Over 2.2M engineers of all kinds employed, ~150K added each year Hence rapid increase in engineering colleges: Demand driven, usually privately financed But no similar rise in training of teaching staff ! IT industry skims off good potential teachers: Much higher salaries Better working conditions Not the route to sustainable good education!

7 Approaches NPTEL National Programme for Technology Enhanced Learning Web & Video courses “The contents will hopefully help evolve criteria for focused learning and a common set of standards for professional education in India through participation by everyone concerned under this platform”

8 Approaches NPTEL National Programme for Technology Enhanced Learning Web & Video courses Limitations: low comms. bandwidth available to institutions Courses at IIT-level -- but students not IIT students ! No common framework for syllabus, content, notation, etc. No exercises, assessment or feedback to students No support for teachers and faculty

9 ACM India Strong interest in educational initiatives –Create channel for faculty networking –Grow on-line student community –Provide objective opinion to policy makers Create deeper understanding of computation (not just IT) –Change perception of fundamentals from ‘trade’ to science –Show linkage between science, technology, application –Move from ‘training’ to education … and learn from ACM initiatives elsewhere

10 What ACM India Cannot Do Change syllabii quickly –Strong proprietary control from government, institutions –3-5 years to make syllabus changes –But new ACM Curriculum can have persuasive influence Compete with other institutions –Must look for a complementary role Delay participation in CS education any more! –Must start work to offer alternative learning routes

11 What ACM India Can Do Offer supplementary material –Encourage learning, questioning –Solve interesting & challenging problems –Provide on-line testing Unsupervised during class Supervised, graded at the end of the course Provide teacher support material Persuade recruiters to use ACM course grades –Will need calibration against existing metrics Use courses to grow interest in higher education

12 Courses Proposed 1.Introduction to programming –problem solving, basic algorithms, data structures 2.Functional programming –problem solving emphasis, not 'correct code from specs' 3.Modern automata theory –connections to logic, verification 4.Machine learning and data mining –more rigorous than lightweight treatment in average textbook. 5.Foundations of systems –communication, concurrency, resource management.

13 Course Delivery Content independent of any syllabus –Provide supplementary material –Aim at broad student background Visuals through images, screen-shots, graphics Voice-over in English –could later use other languages In-class questions, testing –Pauses to solve questions, immediate correction Full course on-line testing by specialist company –Small charge per student

14 Proposal for ACM Workshop in India in September 2012 –Meet CS teachers from engineering colleges –Meet CS students Create public awareness –Show how CS is a scientific discipline, not a trade –Public lectures, press coverage Meet education policy makers –Senior government functionaries –Heads of institutions Message: CS is a scientific discipline, not a trade !


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