Aiming to make higher education more industry-centric, several universities across the state and country have begun offering flexible dual degree and integrated courses in management and human resources to go with engineering programmes. Some of the country's premier institutions have taken the lead in introducing integrated programmes, thus setting a trend for others to follow.
The Indian Institutes of Technologies (IITs) offer a five-year MTech dual degree course in several engineering branches. The Indian Institute of Science Education and Research also offers a dual BS-MS programme where students study mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, and humanities initially and then specialise in a combination of subjects.
An integrated study programme has a curriculum that includes the content, which is jointly designed by two or more higher education disciplines, and regulated by a specific set of guidelines. "Students like us who choose the programme, take on defined periods of study in each discipline, in terms of duration and content. At the end of the course, after relevant examinations, we are awarded both qualifications by the institution.
Management education integrated with engineering, architecture and pharmacy, offers immense opportunities for students. Interestingly, integrated dual degree programmes are not new to Indian education system, with some of these programmes being in vogue for the last decade. However, it is only recently that universities have begun scaling-up programmes on offer, adding a modern edge to them.
An integrated study programme comprises of a curriculum that is jointly designed by two or more higher education institutions - sometimes from different countries or disciplines - and is regulated by a specific set of guidelines. Students who choose the programme undertake defined periods of study in each institution or discipline in terms of duration and content. At the end of the courses and after relevant examinations, students are awarded a single qualification jointly signed by the academic authorities of both institutions and/or disciplines.
The purpose for moving towards an integrated course design stems from the relationship between the classroom and the increasingly complex world of today. Trends towards global interconnectedness, the increase in pace and complexity, and the rapid expansion of knowledge has brought with it mounting concerns over classroom relevancy and the lack of connections between education and real-world issues.
Integrated course design provides a solid response to these challenges by
- Facilitating the application of knowledge,
- Encouraging multiple disciplinary perspectives,
- Enhancing relationships between in-class content and out-of-class realities, encouraging depth and breadth in understanding complex issues, and
- Enhancing student engagement through experiential and active learning and learning supports an integrated course's capacity to address these challenges by stating "...the brain is designed to learn from the complexities of real life, an ability unchallenged by the simplicity of textbooks and seat work, as well as the artificial division of knowledge into subject areas.