Indian IT education needs desperate improvement. Many people were shocked with the findings of Aspiring Minds in 2017 that 95% of engineers are not employable. Only 4.77% engineers can write the correct logic for a program. A Dataquest article that appeared in April 2017 was one of the first ones to report these findings and may be referred for further insights.
This situation is alarming for all the stakeholders of Indian IT education, and it has caught attention. An Economic Times article in December 2017 says that there were past reports on this. Further, it sums up the national concern well:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project of ‘Make in India’ is hobbled by lack of employable graduates. The project aspires to increase manufacturing capacity in India and generate 100 million jobs by 2022. That’s too difficult with the kind of graduates our engineering colleges churn out.
It’s April 2018 already and another batch of engineers is getting ready to hit the job market. Will we see any improvement this time?
The reasons of this problem are well-known in the industry. An article by Entrackr calls those out explicitly:
The employability gap can be attributed to rote learning based approaches rather than actually writing programmes on a computer for different problems. Also, there is a dearth of good teachers for programming, since most good programmers get jobs in industry at good salaries, the study said.
Fixing these two parameters is a Herculean job. However, the new Xsemble approach opens up another avenue that is immediately implementable. It is presented in this article.
Xsemble and The Experiment at a College
10Xofy’s Xsemble tool reduces the job of creating a software application into developing hundreds of smaller programs or modules.
During our research phase, one of the experiments that we conducted was to find out whether the individual modules –at least the simpler ones– may be developed by the average freshers. For easier logistics, we went to a college to request the time of their fourth year students. We reasoned that the 4th year students are at a stage even before they became freshers, so if they could handle it, freshers could and our hypothesis would be proven. But finally we ended up working with 3rd year students, which were one more step junior. We categorically refrained from helping them with programming or training, but stuck to giving them the modules and evaluating them after they worked on those. The college had one faculty mentor assigned to this activity, and he helped the students sincerely. After an initial low confidence phase, the students actually started churning out modules that could be accepted. That made the experiment successful.
It was highly interesting to note that in the small convocation organized at the college, every student who spoke highlighted the immense learning they got. They did not have the knowledge to deliver the modules to start with, but they acquired it on the fly. This gave us an idea that this approach could be used very well for learning — and not just developing based on prior learning. This finding forms the basis of this model.
For more about this experiment, check out the following short speech:
The Practical Learning Model
Xsemble offers mass internships or mass projects to the IT students in colleges / training institutes. The model imparts the much-needed practical experience on small programs, and induces a self-paced learning in students. The students work largely from their own college labs, or laptops.