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A MICA study reveals 92% students in 58 tech institutes across the country did not have entrepreneurship in curriculum, most of the rest were taught outdated courses

While Gujarat has been adjudged the best place to start a new business keeping in mind its polit ical stability and governance, a large majority of students studying in technology institutes here are either not offered entrepreneurship courses or are being taught outdated courses.

A MICA study conducted in 58 technological institutes across 28 states ­ these include 14 institutes from the western part of India ­ reveals that 92 per cent of students did not have entrepreneurship in their curriculum. Of the remaining 8 per cent students, 84 per cent were taught outdated courses. This, when the central government has flagged off Start-Up India, Stand Up India campaign to encourage young entrepreneurs to become job creators.

The study `Assessment of Technology led Entrepreneurship in Technology Institutes in India' was conducted by faculty member U T Rao and Yash Saxena, a visiting faculty. The study analysed three aspects ­ pedagogical inputs, extra-curricular inputs and cultural and community inputs.

The study also stated that 75 per cent of the students with intention to launch a start-up were not taught entrepreneurship learning courses, 90 per cent did not attend any start-up workshops or boot camps. Besides, only 47 per cent of the colleges surveyed had entrepreneurship cells and for centrally aided institutes it is only marginally better at 52 per cent. Only16 per cent students who were offered entrepreneurship courses, they were only taught important basics of starting up.

Project-based entrepreneurship teaching needed, say businessmen

Franky Upadyay, 25, of Original Dimensions startup said, “I pursued entrepreneurship course along with my engineering course at Nirma University. But it was more of theory which I did not find relevant when I started my own firm.“

Sohil Patel, 25, of Oizom said, “The course I did was not relevant as there was no practical exposure. It needed an upgrade with some task-based assessment to instill confidence in students keen on their own start-up.“ Rao stated that in India, every year, around 15 lakh engineers graduate but only 150 start-ups are funded. This is against nearly 50,000 start-ups being funded every year in the US, according to an estimate.

Quoting a study by Stanford University, Rao said that as compared to 50 per cent Chinese and 65 per cent US students, only 57 per cent Indian students were keen on starting their own venture. “Indian students do not tend to be lacking in intention although their intention does not convert to an actual start-up.Most students perhaps decide to choose non-entrepreneurial career paths due to inadequate support ecosystem for entrepreneurs,“ said Rao.

Interestingly, the study found that in India, having friends aspiring to launch a start-up makes the most difference and ups the intention to launch a venture by over 60 per cent.

“The pedagogy inputs on entrepreneurship reach less than one-tenth of the students. However, these do not deliver vital information to them. The extracurricular learning envelope provided to most technology students is very primitive. Moreover, the very basic unit of grassroot entrepreneurship development, the Entrepreneurship Cell (E-Cell), fails to motivate students to launch start-ups,“ he stated.

Mitesh Shethwala, 28, of alagrand.com said, “At the B-School, I took an elective on entrepreneurship but it focused more on production, industries and other such technicalities. The course hardly addresses the practical problems we have while setting up a startup.“

Commenting on how to make the courses more appealing, GTU VC Akshai Aggarwal said, “We have a specialisation course for MBA and BE students. We also organise bootcamps and evening programmes for those interested. Though not a systematic way of learning, it is quite popular.“

However, GU's VC M N Patel is of the opinion that introducing non-engineering subjects in curriculum limits students' focus on learning core subjects. “One can introduce a lecture series or interaction or any supplementary learning programme,“ he said.

Paresh Vora, director of Venture Studio, said, “We need project-based entrepreneurship teaching and learning in colleges, which is currently missing. Teachers should be empowered through industry interface to make the courses more effective and interesting.“

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