Bhopal, : Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal (IISER Bhopal) takes several initiatives to achieve the key features of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 through various programs implemented at the Institute.
The NEP 2020 is a comprehensive policy that aims to transform the education system in India and make it more inclusive, flexible, and interdisciplinary. By aligning with NEP 2020, IISER Bhopal is majorly focusing on syllabus; student nurturing, well-being and performance; faculty support in research and teaching; and entrepreneurship.
Speaking about the implementation of NEP2020, Prof. Siva Umapathy, Director, IISER Bhopal said, "Policy framed out under NEP is timely and futuristic and the implementation requires participation of various stakeholders, including faculty, administrators, students, and the Ministry of Education. If we all have common goals many of the policy’s objectives can be achieved. There are always challenges for any new changes that we bring in but if we have proper transparent methodologies, feedback mechanisms, and periodic revisions policy's goals can be achieved.”
Further, Prof. Siva Umapathy, said, “Implementation of NEP 2020 is possible at IISER Bhopal because of the faculty’s active support and acceptance of the new paradigms and willingness to deliver and participate in the designing courses and supporting them.”
In this regard, IISER Bhopal has implemented few features of NEP 2020 emphasizing the importance of interdisciplinary studies and research, encouraging students to explore diverse fields of knowledge, and promoting collaboration between different disciplines.
Academic courses with interdisciplinary approach:
IISER Bhopal offers the following courses with interdisciplinary approach across the 10 academic departments:
· Bachelor of Science (BS), the four-year degree course is offered in Chemical Engineering, Data Science and Engineering, Economic Sciences, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Provisions exist to obtain the BS-MS degree by spending an additional year in the programme.
· Bachelor of Science – Master of Science (BS-MS) dual degree five year is offered to students in Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Earth and Environment Sciences, Mathematics and Physics. The students have provision to opt for BS exit on completion of the fourth year of the programme to pursue PhD, MBA or can travel abroad for further studies in their interest area.
· Integrated Ph.D. is offered to students in the department of Mathematics and Physics. The students have the option to exit with M.S. degree on completion of three years of the programme.
In the first year of BS and BS-MS course, all the students study the common foundational subjects’ courses, in the second year orients them towards various disciplines and in the third-year students opt for specialization in academic departments. Further elective courses are offered from other academic departments to the students in addition to the majors in the specialization. This flexibility of the courses at IISER Bhopal is in-line with the NEP 2020 and makes it suitable for implementation.
Courses in Data science and engineering
IISER Bhopal is one of the first among the Institutes of National Importance in India to offer undergraduate programs in Data Science and Engineering. The undergraduate BS program in DSE is a blend of Engineering and Natural Science where 50% of the students are from science background and other 50% are from Engineering background. The fusion of domain knowledge (in natural, economics, and engineering sciences) with the scientific rigor to provide real-world solutions drives the DSE students to be highly attractive to industry and academia. The BS program curriculum of DSE is designed so that the final semester is completely free for carrying out research internships in industry/academia. Industry 4.0 requires a new set of graduates possessing the capacity to adapt to new technologies, new AI paradigms and so IISER Bhopal prepares its students to meet the challenges.
Focus on Physical fitness and Mental Health
The Institute takes care of students' academic wellbeing based on their merit. By providing physical fitness courses in the first year, the Institute is promoting a healthy lifestyle and helping students maintain their physical health, which is essential for overall well-being and academic success. IISER Bhopal has an excellent infrastructure for different sports activities and gym facilities with dedicated coaches and instructors. The students participate in inter-institutional sports events and showcase their skills and potential.
Moreover, the Institute also has peer counselors to look after students' mental welfare. The counselling cell of the institute conducts various events and workshops like “Unlocking Intuition with Breath- a guided meditation session”, “Expressive Arts Therapy Workshop” and awareness programmes on National Youth Day, World No Tobacco Day, World Mental Health Day, World Suicide Prevention Day for the students and community members.
Undergraduate Clubs for Research Enthusiasts in Science and Technology
IISER Bhopal has a novel educational program called ‘Undergraduate Clubs for Research Enthusiasts in Science and Technology’ (UG-CREST). It is a unique attempt to cultivate scientific attitudes in the early days of a young graduate student. The clubs aim to nurture the research capabilities of undergraduates’ students at the institute from early years and actively engage students intellectually in addition to regular course work.
Enhancing skills of students
The Institute has a dedicated “Institute Career Development and Placement Council” which conducts soft skills workshops by expert speakers to provide students with the opportunity to learn from experienced professionals and gain insights into effective communication skills, interpersonal skills, stress management, conflict handling, teamwork, Networking etc.
The students are provided with research and industry internships opportunities in National and International level to gain practical knowledge and skills of real scenarios in workplace environment.
Centres of Excellence
To encourage the faculty to work on multidisciplinary research, the Institute has established few Centers of excellence. To name a few,
· Medical Science and Engineering Research Centre (MEDSER) to bolster multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary research to promote medical and healthcare innovations and translational research at the Institute. The institute has signed an MoU with AIIMS Bhopal to join projects with doctors for translational research.
· Centre for Science and Society (CS2) though which conducts various outreach programs for science education and research for the students, teachers, and faculty members from various schools, colleges, and educational institutes. CS2 leverages and extends the benefits of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) teaching and learning at IISER Bhopal to society at large.
Humanities and Social Sciences
IISER Bhopal has the Department of Humanities and social sciences, in which the faculty members contribute to teaching and knowledge sharing in areas like critical thinking, logic, creativity, philosophy, history, literature and others. So that the science and engineering graduates become socially relevant in their work culture.
The Institute supports entrepreneurship through its Innovation and Incubation Center (IICE) funded from the Department of Science and Technology to foster innovation and encourage faculty and students to explore their entrepreneurial potential. Three faculties from different departments, namely Biology, Chemistry, and Electrical Engineering and computer science, have chosen to embark on their startup journeys incubated and supported by the Institute.
The Institute is also encouraging faculty members to file patents for their research work which can lead to valuable innovations and advancements in various fields.
In addition to this, IISER Bhopal is also Inviting entrepreneurs from different areas to give lectures to aspiring students to expose the students to real-world experiences and insights which significantly enhances the entrepreneurial ecosystem and create a well-rounded learning experience for the students.
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