Boosting NEP2020 Implementation: IIT Mandi progressing towards Holistic and Stress-free Learning

The Institute has restructured its B.Tech. curriculum in accordance with NEP2020 with an emphasis on Indian Knowledge Systems

 Indian Institute of Technology Mandi is working progressively towards incorporating the guidelines of National Education Policy 2020 in tis curriculum. Under the leadership of Prof. Laxmidhar Behera, Director, IIT Mandi, the Institute revised its undergraduate course curriculum progressive towards holistic development and stress-free learning.

Speaking during the Press Conference held today, 25th July 2023, Prof. Laxmidhar Behera, Director, IIT Mandi, said, We at IIT Mandi are making sure that our students have a flexible curriculum that allows them to change their branch based on their interests after 1st year. We are working on creating a structure where researchers from engineering and medical backgrounds will do interdisciplinary research and have the freedom to choose the specialization that they want to pursue. One key aspect of NEP2020 is the promotion of cultural heritage. The Indian Knowledge System and Mental Health Applications Centre at our Institute is making sure that students get introduced to the Indian Knowledge System. Our curriculum makes sure students are getting exposure to holistic development.”

Further, Prof. Behera mentioned, “Center for Quantum Science and Technologies at IIT Mandi will build a quantum computer dedicated to advancing the field of quantum computing and educating future generations.”

Key initiatives and features of NEP2020 incorporated by IIT Mandi in its curriculum include:

·         Holistic Development: Under the guidelines of NEP2020. IIT Mandi has been focusing on holistic development of its students and faculty members, including physical fitness, mental well-being, and soft skill development, to ensure the overall growth of the IIT Mandi community. Specifically, IIT Mandi has established multiple facilities such as Guidance and Counseling services, Sports facilities, and Career and Placement Centre for its students to make sure their personal, academic and professional life is stress-free.

·         Interdisciplinary Academic and Research Centres: In order to encourage the students to explore diverse areas of their interest beyond the core disciplines, the Institute has established interdisciplinary research centres such as, the Indian Knowledge System and Mental Health Applications Centre (IKSMHA), and the Centre for AI and Robotics (CAIR). This has resulted in new courses at the Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. levels that align with the NEP’s emphasis on multidisciplinary education. As a result, the Institute has three new Interdisciplinary programs in the last two years, namely,

–       MBA (AI & DS)

–       B. Tech in General Engineering

–       B. Tech in Mathematics and Computing

·         IKSMHA Centre: The IKSMHA Centre’s focus is on research on topics concerning Indian Knowledge Systems, which has several benefits for the human body, mental health, and wellbeing. IKS has deep roots grounded in Indian history, philosophy, society, arts, languages, science and technology, and life sciences. It incorporates the study of mind, brain, and consciousness and includes applications from several areas like consciousness studies, yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, traditional Indian medicine research, and other Indian performing arts. ‘Introduction to Consciousness and holistic well-being’ course offered by IKSMHA centre is made compulsory to all B. Tech. students.

·         So far IIT Mandi has trained more than 1000 himachali youth including school, college students, dropouts, faculty members from himachal govt. polytechnic and engineering colleges. Out of these, more than 60% participants are placed or received job offers. Several of them did internships at IIT Mandi after the completion of the course.

·         Flexibility in Curriculum: Aligned with the NEP2020, IIT Mandi’s flexible curriculum gives students the opportunity to design their own education paths based on their interests and career goals by choosing their courses from scratch. This option is available for students at undergraduate, postgraduate and Ph.D. levels.

·         Promoting Research and Innovation: The state-of-the-art research centres at IIT Mandi including Advanced Materials Research Centre (AMRC), Centre for Fabrication and Design of Electronic Devices (C4DFED), and the BioX Centre, promotes the research and innovation among its students and faculty members and provide them the opportunity to work in one of the best research centres in the country.

·         Teacher Training and Development: In the spirit of NEP2020, IIT Mandi is continuously investing in the professional development of its faculty members with a focus on enhancing their teaching skills and adopting modern pedagogical techniques. Faculty Development program and Teacher Training program are some of the examples of this initiative.

·         Hands-on learning while working on Socially Relevant projects: Along with teacher training, the Institute also emphasizes hands-on learning and training for its students. Since the first year, students at IIT Mandi undergo courses on Foundations of Design Practicum where they learn by doing. In these foundation courses, students are trained on various aspects of product development through hands-on practice while addressing real-world challenges. Such interdisciplinary programs involving major streams of Engineering and Technology provide the students with practical learning experience. IIT Mandi’s Interactive Socio Technical Practicum (ISTP) allows the students to find the impact of technology on society. Some significant projects include:

–       Landslide monitoring and warning system

–       Drones technologies being used to deliver drugs and essentials to people located in remote areas

–       Ropeway design to make locations on mountain slopes accessible to people

·         Online Education and Technology Integration: To make sure quality education is delivered to all, IIT Mandi is leveraging technology to enhance the education experience of its students through online learning resources, digital classrooms, and e-learning platforms. In this regard, the Institute has made multiple online courses accessible on portals such as NPTE. Furthermore, the Institute has also partnered with Wiley and Sons to provide an executive program in AI and data science to society.

Along with this, a Continuing Education Centre (CCE) has also been established that offers several skill development courses for adults and school children.

·         Enabling Women of Kamand (EWOK): On the societal outreach front, IIT Mandi’s initiative called Enabling Women of Kamand (EWOK) is empowering the women community of Kamand region by training them to become self-reliant. EWOK also provides individual assistance, mentors and guidance for women seeking to set up their own businesses, complete their education, obtain training, or find employment. EWOK offers courses for local women wishing to improve their spoken English and the gain basic computer skills.

·         Emphasis on Creating a Healthy and Mentally strong student society: Creating efficient and skilled human resources is the need of the hour. Therefore, IIT Mandi started courses such as Yoga Sutra to make sure a healthy student society is built. Another initiative in this regard is the well-ness centre based on Indian Knowledge Systems at IIT Mandi. Given the current situations across Higher Education institutes about students harming themselves due to mental stress and other external factors, it is imperative to make sure the an out of the box approach is taken to face such challenges.

Speaking about IIT Mandi’s progressive steps towards implementing NEP 2020, Prof. Aniruddha Chakraborty, Dean Academics, IIT Mandi, said, IIT Mandi has already implemented several key features of NEP2020 into its curriculum and implementation of rest of the features are under process. We are hopeful that these progressive steps will support the Govt. of India’s vision of becoming a Vishva Guru.”

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