IIT Bombay (IIT-B) has announced the launch of its Liberal Arts, Sciences, and Engineering (LASE) programme that allows the students to design their own courses based on their own future requirements. The custom-made Bachelor of Science (BSc) programme is being seen as an unprecedented move by the institution.
The students enrolling in this program will graduate with a BSc degree in engineering sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, art, and design. If a student still thinks that any of these four options are not the tailor-fit for them and their career track, they can design their own specialization for the degree.
Director of IIT-B, Dr. Subhasis Chaudhuri says that the B Tech programme batch that will join this year, will get to opt for this programme at the end of the first year in 2022. LASE students will have to finalize their subject combinations with the help of their academic advisers by the end of their second year, that is the end of the year 2023 for the first batch.
“They will have the freedom to specialize in cutting-edge interdisciplinary fields in this program: artificial intelligence (AI) and EdTech or healthcare engineering (within engineering sciences) or biology (within natural sciences) are possible examples. All students will also complete a final-year project,” the director said.
Prof. Anurag Mehra, the co-convener of the committee, which conceptualised the LASE programme, said that the students will be guided and advised by their respective faculties before deciding on the subjects for their custom-made program.
“There may be a basic condition on the cumulative performance index or an aptitude test, but a process will be devised soon,” he added.
Speaking to Frontier India, Amit Chatterjee, an alumnus from IIT Madras where he finished his Bachelors and Masters in Engineering in Metallurgy, said “I say that it’s a good development. For sure the liberal arts will give more versatility to the students with their career paths. But the thing is, we do not know entirely about what the placement policy will be for the students who design their custom courses. I hope that for Liberal arts subjects, the engineering subjects don’t get compromised. Students who will be coming out of the institute with an entrepreneur mindset, students who’ll go for their own start-ups, the development specifically will be a boon to them. This step will create an entrepreneurial environment among engineering students and will further lead to everyone’s development. But for the students who are looking for a job, will the industry differentiate between students with the existing, more straightforward engineering courses and students with custom design courses? I guess we can only wait and see how the first batch of this program turns out to be. How things unfold for them. But I’m sure that the IIT-B will be prepared with everything.”
Among current engineering students, the step is being perceived to create a sense of planning, strategizing, and deciding on the important things in life.
“As a young student forced to choose and stick to a rigid choice of career, I am glad for this refreshing initiative taken to ensure young minds can take better charge of their future and pursue their passion at any point of time in life,” said Priya Rani, (name changed upon request), a student studying in IIT-B.
“The LASE programme is the need of the hour. As we advance into a complex world, a multidisciplinary approach to every problem that we face is vital. This course will not only create engineers, but also comprehensive individuals who come up with multifaceted solutions. It is extremely delightful to see IIT-B taking the lead in introducing such an incredible course,” said Aisha Kulkarni, (name changed upon request), a student studying in the final year of Mechanical engineering at K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering, Vidyavihar.
“Freedom of subject selection under advisor’s guidance will increase the interest of students in learning and planning for the future ahead. Learning won’t be tedious and cumbersome as a lot of unnecessary subjects will be eliminated. Also, they’ll be able to set clear goals, since the student had already planned on the career and field of interest,” said Arya Pandhari, a mechanical engineer who has graduated this year from K.J. Somaiya College of Engineering.