The varsity held its first ‘internship mela’ on Saturday and follow it up with more to help students overcome lack of practical knowledge.
When a student of mechanical engineering went for an interview recently, he was asked to work on a lathe. The student was perplexed and became nervous. When the interviewer asked the reason, the student replied that he had never seen a lathe.
This anecdote was narrated by none other than the vice-chancellor of Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) Dr H Maheshappa who lamented that ‘many students do not know the basics even after completing the prestigious course’. VTU will take the first step in course correction this Saturday. The biggest setback is that most master the theory but have minimal practical knowledge. This is because even though students have to submit a project report in the final year, VTU has found that many are not actually done by students. Instead, these are ‘bought’ from ‘project making companies’ and submitted to the university. To curb this practice, VTU is planning to introduce internship for students, a process which allows youngsters get first-hand experience of the corporate sector even while they are studying.
This practice is prevalent in the Indian Institute of Management and other prestigious institutions where companies from various parts of the world visit the campus to offer students a chance to intern with them. The internship is open to students from the first semester to the last, including those pursuing MBA courses. Students have been asked to send their resume and the sector in which they would like to intern. VTU has got 15,000 applications.
The university is describing the event as an ‘internship mela’, which is billed as the first such in the country. The event is conducted by Blue Tiger Learning Services. The firm’s operations manager Varun Gupta said, “We expect more than 150 companies from the banking, real estate, retail, IT and ITeS sectors. The internship can last from one day to six months. While a few companies are ready to pay a stipend to the students, others insist that learning is better than earning. Right now, we are working on matching the area of interest with companies. For example, one of the companies wants to hire web designers. We are looking for students who are good at content development or have knowledge of html and Photoshop.”
Meanwhile, the university is considering making internship compulsory for engineering students, like in the case of medical students. In that case, the challenge would be to provide placements to over 40,000 students each year.