PANAJI: To provide exposure to its students beyond technical expertise, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Goa, has introduced a foundation programme in humanities and social sciences for its BTech students.
Students are introduced to diverse disciplines under the programme, spanning from aesthetics, cinema and literature, to politics, music and environment. The programme was introduced during the current academic year in the autumn semester 2019-20 for BTech first semester students.
Director of IIT-Goa B K Mishra said that this foundation programme is also being used to introduce the institute’s students to Goa’s people, language, environment, resources, history, culture, literature, food, as also its problems.
“We need engineers who are creative and socially aware. Therefore, through this programme we have taken the initiative to expose our students to different spheres of knowledge. IIT-Goa wants future engineers to develop an understanding about the world we inhabit, along with the environment, society, polity, arts, literature, politics, and culture. Since we are based in Goa, we need to understand what it is to be Goan to foster deeper ties with this land because of that Goa has a prominent place in this programme,” the IIT-Goa director said.
IIT-Goa officials said the foundation programme in humanities and social sciences is an attempt to place emphasis on holistic development of the students, where, besides being technically sound, they also become creative, original thinkers and problem solvers
Programme coordinator and assistant professor of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT-Goa, Sabiha Hashami said the programme strives to provide students with better understanding of national and international issues, environmental crisis, societies, cultures, and politics. “It makes them more equipped to find answers to the problems faced by the world today. The programme also has modules on communication skills and adolescence development, which will be helpful in making students aware of themselves and communicate better,” she said.
The programme started with a lecture by eminent Konkani author and Sahitya Akademi awardee Damodar Mauzo, who spoke about the importance of regional languages, literature and mother tongues. At the end of the lecture, students asked him various questions about the Konkani language movement and the history of Goa. In another session, architect and curator of the museum Houses of Goa, Gerard da Cunha, reflected on the relation between houses and our culture, history, economy, trade, social structure, environment and climatic conditions, and philosophy.
The response of students has been really encouraging and enthusiastic so far. It might change the pedagogy of engineering education for better,” said Hashami.