city anchor: UG students at IIT being groomed to be industry-ready

Grooming undergraduate (UG) students in soft skills and research are part of the initiatives being taken by the student body of IIT Bombay. The focus is on developing skill sets, which are not outlined in the curriculum, but are meant to give UG students an edge and making them industry-ready.

"Being technically sound may not be enough in today's competitive world; communication and other skills are equally important. We have decided to introduce a student development programme this month that will focus on developing the all-round personality of a student. It could include English classes, communication and interpersonal skills. The project details are currently being firmed up. It will also involve strengthening the counselling service at the institute," said Ishan Shrivastava, general secretary, academic affairs, UG programmes. The student development programme will also look at specific projects to help students take up leadership roles and learn teamwork.

During its last campus placement, the institute had made it compulsory for all students, who wanted to be a part of placements, to attend a session on communication skills. The measure was taken based on feedback from recruiters, who had underlined the need for developing a range of soft skills among students.

Further, to expose students to the big and small projects being undertaken by IIT Bombay, a Society for Promotion of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) has been launched. "Post-graduate and doctoral students are involved in research and development work at the institute. However, a need was felt to expose UG students to research projects. Hence, we created SPUR this year to encourage research among them by giving them opportunities and showcasing their work," he said.

While professors were asked to float research projects, 120 students from 10 departments were selected, of which 90 completed their projects. Some of the students are still working on their projects. A project portal will also be launched in a week, which will have information on faculty projects. "Interested students can approach the professors. Some professors have also opened positions for UG students to work with them. We are trying to get industry projects as well as part of this initiative," said Shrivastava. A winter science and technology school will also be organised in December that will include short courses and workshops.

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