Being predominantly an agricultural country, India’s need, till some time back, was limited to the manufacture of agricultural implements only. Different sections of the society manufactured items of daily use.
This section of the society in course of time, were typed different castes on the basis of the nature of their work. In due course their technical profession turned into a family profession. The son inherited the trade from his father.
The shape and the maker of the implements generally remained the same and simple skill was needed in their manufacture. This simple knowledge was easily acquired during the practical work; but with the development of science the nature and technique of machines is daily becoming complex.
In the modem progressive society it is necessary for an efficient engineer, in order to ensure his advancement, to keep in touch with the latest developments, besides possessing good technical knowledge.
This is because the engineer has to use his technical skill for the benefit of society. Hence in the curriculum, the inclusion of other subjects, besides the technical ones, is necessary.
In the same way to understand the new technique, it is equally necessary for the efficient workman to have adequate knowledge of language, general science, mathematics, social science, etc.
Hence general knowledge has been made compulsory in the technical courses of study in the United States of America. In India, too, the All India Technical Education Council is particularly concentrating its attention on this aspect.
Shortage of Vocational and Technical Institutions:
Although during the various Five Year Plans, stress has been laid on the opening of technical institutions, but the number of such institutions is still very small. Due to lack of technical education labourers and workmen employed in various factories remain unaware of the latest technical knowledge. So they do not prove very helpful in the development of industry as per the latest technology.
Shortage of Teachers:
In our country there is a big shortage of technical teacher’s beet use of lack of technical education. It is also very difficult to remove this shortage by employing foreigners as teachers because of the lack of funds.
Because of the same reason, it is also a difficult problem to send a large number of students to foreign countries and get them trained. In this condition of helplessness, technical education has to be left in the charge of ordinary teachers.
The main reason for not getting the services of efficient and well qualified technical teachers is low pay scales. It is not possible to secure the services of efficient teachers by providing low -salaries. In these circumstances, it is the duty of the government to step in and take effective steps.
The All India Council of Technical Education, it is heartening to note, is taking some steps in this direction. The Council has provided a five year continuous course after secondary education for higher training in technical and engineering subjects.
Lack of Good Administrators:
The problem of shortage of good administrators is the result of various complex problems relating to technical education. The view that industrialisation is the main source of raising the standard of living in the present age, is now gaining ground.
This view has dominated in the preparation of our various Five Year Plans. But when the administrators responsible for industrialisation themselves lack the knowledge of technical and engineering subjects, how far industrialisation will progress may well be imagined.
It will not do much good if administrators specialise only in their subject, because society is also their field of activity and they have to give the benefit of their knowledge to it in a practical manner.
They should, therefore, have to be fully in known of the social, economic and political developments in the society. This problem of the shortage of good administrators may be solved by establishing institutions of higher technical and engineering studies and by enlarging the scope of the curriculum. The All India Council of Technical Education is particularly alive to this situation and is making efforts in this direction.
Problem of Practical Field Work and Laboratories:
The fields of practical activity of technical education are the industrial institutions and workshops outside the centres of training. In the present state of acute financial position, it is not possible to provide large workshops in the educational institutions.
Therefore, it is necessary to make arrangements for practical training in State or private factories. In this way, besides acquiring practical knowledge, the students will also set an opportunity to understand the various aspects of industrial sector side by side.
As a result of such a practical training, the students will become efficient teachers, skilled workers and good administrators. This problem may further be simplified by providing part-time jobs to students in some factories.
In this way, the students, besides learning, will also earn something and also acquire some experience of the industrial sector. This scheme of practical training will also help industrialisation. In addition, the problem of seeking employment, after finishing education, will also be solved to some extent.
So far as the provision of laboratories is concerned, it is necessary that each institution imparting technical education has a laboratory. But here, too, the shortage of funds creates problems.
Although many research institutions have so far been established and research work is proceeding at a rapid pace, yet the progress in the utility and quality of the products does not compare favourable with foreign products.
Even to-day, we prefer using foreign blades, pencils, pens, etc. Some articles are such that considerable expenditure involved in their production in our country and thus they become costlier than the foreign make. So, their demand is poor.
Those engaged in research work should bear in mind that the aim of researches should be to produce goods of higher order and less cost in order that the articles produced may easily be consumed in the market. They should also cater to the refined taste of customers and thus attract buyers by their beauty and utility.
Provision of Education and Development of Technician’s Personality:
In this modern age of scientific advancement, every day new inventions, discoveries and experiments are being made. The engineers, workers and technicians, etc., have to keep themselves fully informed with these latest developments in order to keep their knowledge up to-date. If they fail to do so their knowledge will become stale.
Although in India there are above 200 institutions that run diploma course, besides above 50 universities and 100 institutions providing degree courses; providing refresher course to technicians exist in the country.
It is necessary to provide technical facilities to factory workers to keep them in touch With the latest developments in their fields. The technician should be given an opportunity to learn the latest developments in his spare time. Libraries should be provided for artisans and labourers.
They should be afforded facilities for reading books and magazines and discuss subjects relating to their sphere of work. Arrangements should be made to impart them the desired education during their vacations or at evening centres. In this way, besides developing technical skill and knowledge, they would also develop their personality.
This in turn will result in increased production, which will immensely benefit the country. The lack of knowledge of English language is the biggest handicap facing the poorly educated workmen.
Unfortunately, very few standard books on technical and engineering subjects have been published in the various current languages of the country. English is still the medium of education of these subjects in our country, while countries like China and Japan have produced engineering and technical books in their national languages.
However, some efforts have been started in India also since the last two or three decades and it is hoped that soon many books on these subjects will appear in the languages generally spoken by the people.
Co-operation between Government, Industry and Educational Institutions:
For the development of technical and industrial education it is necessary that there exists always a balance between industries and technical man-power on the one hand, and its training and efficiency on the other. To-day we find many technicians facing unemployment.
This generally happens when technical schools prescribe a curriculum without keeping m view the requirements of the industries. As a matter of fact, the technical education should be organised, keeping in’ view the needs of the industries.
The industries should be made familiar with the latest technical developments and should be provided with efficient and well skilled hands.
Every trained man, besides getting opportunity for increasing his knowledge, should also get reasonable wages. If the government, technical institutions and industries co-operate with each other, there is no reason why the industrial development will not make rapid strides.