DU launches its much awaited course in innovation

Promising a break from rote learning to reap talents in innovation, Delhi University on Thursday launched its much talked about course in innovation.

Updated: Oct 06, 2011, 21:27 PM IST

New Delhi: Promising a break from rote
learning to reap talents in innovation, Delhi University on Thursday
launched its much talked about course in innovation, described
as a one of its kind in India and aimed at taking education
"beyond blackboards".

Welcoming the first batch of students to B Tech/ BS
Innovation with Mathematics and IT course, Vice Chancellor
Dinesh Singh hoped the "very unique programme" would be
instrumental in reviving the original Indian tradition of
education to help students discover themselves and then
discover the world.
The four-year undergraduate programme is part of the
innovation cluster being planned by DU and will be an
interdisciplinary degree largely focusing on application and
hands-on training.

"We have made the programme in such a way that after four
years, according to your talent, you can go to microbiology,
study Mathematics, computer science or finance. Whatever you
chose to study this will benefit you," Singh said.

He said the course has been designed as an alternative to
the existing teaching mechanisms in the country and the
approach is to take education beyond the concept of
"blackboard teaching" while enabling students to think and
apply into the real world what they have learnt.

Under the programme, the students will spend a lot of
time in laboratories -- both real and artificial -- and will
be given a lot of freedom to pursue their innovative skills.

"As part of the programme these students will also adopt
slums or semi urban areas in the city to study the problems
faced by residents and offer them solutions through
innovation," said Prof HP Singh, University Proctor, who is
also associated with the programme as a Physics Professor.
Among the teachers who comprise the faculty of this
course are professors from multiple disciplines like
Informatics and Communication, Zoology, Mathematics, Physics,
Electronics and Finance.

Spread across eight semesters, the programme requires
students to undergo internships in the industry and undertake
projects in communities at regular intervals. Year-long, they
will also get to implement the new ideas they have in an
`engineering kitchen`.

"We are making new labs and the students will also use
the existing labs of the university. They will also be sent
for summer trainings to the industry," said Vice Chancellor
Singh.

A river rafting enthusiast himself, Singh said he would
make sure the students are taken for such adventure sports as
well to enable them develop team binding.

He also said that many leading people distinct fields
like industry and education have promised to be associated
with this programme.

In fact, Yale University which is starting a programme in
Singapore in collaboration with the national university there
is also keen to have an exchange programme with us, he said.
The students who were introduced to their faculty also
got a chance to interact at length with the Vice Chancellor.

"Our education system is such that at school we did not
practically understand what we were taught, and we never got
the time to grow beyond our books. I think this is the point
that was made in the movie `3 Idiots` and my expectations from
this course is that it will allow me to grow and learn the
applications of our subjects," said Punit Kumar, a student.

Citing the examples of visionaries like Isaac Newton,
Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates and Richard Branson among others,
the Vice Chancellor said the ability to do something new does
not have much to do with formal education.

"What we have planned in this course is for you to have
good knowledge coupled with real world interactability and a
combination of hands on training," he told the students.

Speaking about the education scene in the country, Singh
said the trend in modern India has been to put students under
pressure and finish off their thinking capacity, though this
was not the case in ancient times.

PTI