The Government of India has decided on making a four-month internship at Under Graduate level mandatory in all institutions across the nation.
Before the new mandate shall be put in place, internships were part of the three or four-year bachelor programs only in case of vocational and technical courses. An internship spanning at least four months will soon be the norm in institutes of higher education across all subject streams, mandatory for UG students as proposed by the HRD Ministry. This has been put in place on the basis of on a five-year vision plan – Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP) prepared by ten experts groups under the purview of the Union Human Resources Development Ministry.
The recommendation under EQUIP, which the government is set to implement, on the other hand, says that the internships can be with state governments or local administration to study government schemes, with local industry as well as research internships with faculty or researchers at student’s own or other institutions. This move, in general, is hailed to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and industry experience and exposure for the students
“All institutes of higher education will also create opportunities for community engagement by students, especially in services that make use of mechanisms for social engagement of students at the undergraduate level,” the report has said. “These will be designed to give exposure to students to the pressing issues of the local community, State, and country. It is proposed to prepare guidelines for mandatory four months internships and community engagement and roll it out in all UG programs.”
Officials in the higher education department said that the implementation of the suggestion will be carried out in a phased manner in all central, state and private institutes over next five years and it could start as early as the upcoming academic session. “We are already asking universities to make internship part of their course structures,” said an official. The initiative, however, is not finding favor with some higher educators who feel that “one-size-fits-all” formulae do not work in case of education.
“There are many students who have a creative bent of mind for instance and they might not be interested in getting industry exposure,” said Rudrashish Chakrabarty who teaches English at Kirori Mal College in Delhi University. Meanwhile, as part of the initiative, the ministry is also asking universities to revise the curriculum of 100 courses to make students more employable from the next academic session.