AICTE selects 49 colleges from across India to establish AICTE IDEA Labs

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New Delhi : The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) announced the names of its institutions selected for establishing AICTE IDEA (Idea Development, Evaluation & Application) Labon June 14, in an online event live-streamed from its Headquarters in Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. The proposals for the Scheme were invited in the month of January 2021 and subjected to evaluation by the National Steering Committee (NSC) for the IDEA Lab Scheme. 49 institutions selected to set up IDEA Labs co-funded by AICTE and industry/institution under the Scheme, are located in non-metro/ mega cities and expected to immensely benefit not only the students and faculty in them but also those in the vicinity.

AICTE-IDEA (Idea Development, Evaluation & Application) Lab scheme was launched by AICTE on January 1, 2021 to establish infrastructure supporting new age learning, in its institutions. This is aimed at encouraging students for application of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fundamentals on ideas- towards enhanced hands-on experience, learning by doing and even product visualization. As a common facility embedded in the institution, the IDEA Lab will make engineering graduates more imaginative and creative, besides getting basic training in the 21st century skills like- critical thinking, problem-solving, research, collaboration, communication, lifelong learning etc. IDEA Lab would also serve as an empowering infrastructure for faculty to delve into multidisciplinary education and research, emphasized in the National Education Policy 2020. It is envisaged that faculty would come forward proactively to utilize these Labs and strive for identifying problems/ projects/ internships in their own subjects/ disciplines and mentor the students.

IDEA Lab provides all facilities under one roof, for conversion of an idea into a prototype. The idea need not be always be new (which will always be encouraged) but the emphasis would be on graduating engineers working with their hands using equipment, tools and consumables. With these facilities available 24x7 in the campus, more students and faculty will be encouraged to take up creative work and in the process, get training on creative thinking, problem solving, collaboration etc. which conventional labs are not focussing on. The focus will be on training students so that they become imaginative and creative and stay so at the workplaces they join. The ultimate objective is to transform engineering education with such a Lab in all colleges and for this they must proactively expose all students to the IDEA Lab, organize training sessions for interested students as well as support projects and by providing online learning materials.

Prof.PrabhatRanjan, Chairman of the NSC appreciated the unique initiative from AICTE and remarked that it should not be limited to a few hundred institutions. He remarked that this initiative should emerge as a national movement as it has potential to transform the technical education, asit lays much-needed emphasis on working with hands.He recommended that AICTE should consider institutions outside its ambit, willing to fund IDEA Lab on their own,also to be part of IDEA Lab network that it is creating and create critical mass for the movement.

Lauding the hard work of National Steering Committee and Institutional Development Cell (IDC) in conceptualizing and operationalizing the Scheme, Prof.Rajive Kumar, Member-Secretary, AICTE said “There should be no lock put on IDEA Lab which should work on trust, allowing free access to facilities 24x7. The IDEA Labs in smaller cities will strengthen the innovation ecosystem of the country.”

Describing the array of initiatives taken by AICTE to improve the quality initiativeswhich have led to increased acceptance of engineering graduates in the industry and how these initiatives align with the National Education Policy 2020, Prof. M.P. Poonia, Vice-Chairman, AICTE remarkedthat IDEA Labs must connect with schools in their vicinity, giving opportunity to the students there to work on their ideas projects. Connecting schools with higher education institutions can bring in transformational changes in education. 

AICTE Chairman Professor Anil Sahasrabudhecomplimented and appreciated the passion with which NSC and IDC are working on an idea like IDEA Lab that he has been wanting to see crystalized. Drawing parallel with medical education where students spend time in hospitals attached to the medical colleges, he pointed out that hands-on training component in engineering education has been deficient. To some extent, internships in industry fill the gap, but an IDEA Lab in an institution at the disposal of a student 24x7 can go a long way in ensuring experiential learning within the campus.