State Makes UG Internship A Must, Colleges Rush For Industry Tie-Ups

State Makes UG Internship A Must, Colleges Rush For Industry Tie-Ups

New state order makes internships mandatory for UG and PG students in Maharashtra. Colleges rush to form dedicated Internship Cells and seek industry tie-ups. Challenges arise in arranging internships for all students.

Megha ChowdhuryUpdated: Tuesday, January 16, 2024, 05:40 PM IST
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Mumbai: Several colleges have formed panels to coordinate with industries, even as others are rushing to restructure and refurbish their placement cells, after a recent order from the state has made internships mandatory for students pursuing undergraduate as well as postgraduate courses, under the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, from this academic year.

All colleges and universities in Maharashtra will now need to have a dedicated Internship Cell. The Higher and technical education department of the state for the first time has designed and released an Internship Policy for all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), in line with NEP 2020.

Collaboration with industries in works

The principal of KPB Hinduja College of Commerce, Dr. Minu Madlani, states, "We are looking into more industry partnerships, and fortunately the Hinduja group already has a lot of organizations in which internships can be provided." Starting this year, we have asked our management for more assistance in helping us put all new requirements into effect.  

In terms of internship cells, Madlani adds that the college chose to include its job-placement cell in order to partner with industry for internship placements. "We plan to replace the cell that is currently run by our teachers with a new placement officer beginning this year because our teachers are overloaded with full-time duties, assessment, and research work." 

College seeks more clarity 

With all non-autonomous colleges expected to implement these changes by the end of the year, Chhaya Panse, Vice Principal at M.D College in Mumbai, seeks more clarity on the internship procedure.

"The main challenge is many of our students come from low-income families. They are already living an ‘earn and learn’ life with being engaged in part-time work at Zomato, Swiggy, McDonald's, or in sales," Panse said, emphasizing that even if internships are offered to these students, it will be quite difficult for them to participate due to their existing work commitments.

When questioned about seeking reputable industries to offer internships to students, Panse stressed that our courses are not in high demand among top industries. Unlike engineering colleges, it is more challenging for us.

“We do have placement cells and cater to student placements, but with an student intake of 8,000 and 2,000 students graduating each year, it will be difficult to arrange internships for everyone,” added Panse. 

Apart from making the Internship Cell mandatory for all HEIs it also defines structure of the cell and different types of internships; along with its various responsibilities and proforma for evaluation of students including sheets for attendance, performance review, feedback and other data management. 

Maintaining record to be a big challenge

The principal of St. Xavier College, Dr. Rajendra Shinde, claims that he personally finds it extremely challenging to put these rules into practice. "If you take a look at the committee they have asked us to form, which consists of nodal officers, student coordinators, and hods, while also monitoring them, recording student applications regarding their performance, examining them, and keeping track of their actions and locations. Shinde asks, "How are we going to handle the monitoring part?" 

Manpower is another challenge that arises with this, as teachers are busy with a plethora of duties, according to Shinde. “Even while I agree with NEP 2020, it appears that the government is overloading it with new proposals. This calls for extensive preparation at a time when we are fighting to continue providing high-quality education at all levels,” adds Shinde.

"I don't think they are realizing what they are doing in the pretext of giving clarity or adding more things," responds Shinde, when asked if Xavier's requires more clarification from higher authorities.

Xavier's, which has been offering internships since 2010, is seeking assistance from alumni associations who are already well-established in businesses and industries in order to cater internships for all students. 

Lack of manpower and resources 

Kishan Pawar, Principal of KJ Somaiya College of Arts and Commerce, believes the draft framework is quite confusing. 

In agreement with Shinde's remark, Pawar claims that "very careful planning is required to implement these rules. Finding internships for all 8000+ students is no easy task."

Pawar continues, "They want all of it with zero extra cost," asserting that the government is flooding institutions with a plethora of duties all at once in an attempt to ingrain the western educational system into our curriculum.

"These implementations require money, manpower, and resources—all of which are lacking. However, we're making every effort to give our students internships by collaborating with organizations like BMC, SEBI, RBI, American Consulate, Parimal Foundation, and more," added Pawar.

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