There is an article on Forbes.com by Sramana Mitra where she debates about the lack of innovation & entrepreneurship in Indian IT industry and also lack of any enthusiasm from the upcoming engineers to venture into innovation.
She has made few very good points on the topic and I agree on most of the points with her. In her post she mentions of the incubator programs that are run within the IITs that promote entrepreneurship within the aspiring engineers and guides them whilst they are still pursuing their studies.
One point that made me think further as a reason on lack of entrepreneurship was the fact that the increasing width between Tier 1 engineering colleges (IITs) and Tier 2 (NITs) and Tier 3 (regional universities and others) colleges. To really find out further information, I actually visited the websites of each of the IITs in the country and have a look at their incubators and obviously left me impressed with the level of work that is being carried out in there. Myself, being an Alumni of a NIT, (National Institute of Technology), considered only next to IITs in India, I could not stop myself compare the work done in IITs as against some of the top notch NITs in India and I actually found a significant difference in there !
Within none of NITs (of the ones I visited) I could find any similar program as IIT incubation programs and I really wondered what kind of innovative programs are being run in these institutes ! If this is the state of the Tier 2 engineering colleges in India then I really wonder how and where you would find entrepreneurs coming out !
In India, the IT service industry is still the most powerful in terms of job availability and obviously most of the curriculum of the Tier 2 & Tier 3 colleges is more of providing service oriented engineers rather than innovators. As correctly mentioned in one of her posts, generic requirement of an IT engineer is to earn a well-to-do job so he / she can buy a car, a house and so on .. !
On the point of innovation, I guess its more to do than just what culture you have in your degree college etc., Its more in the root of primary, high school & college education than those 4 years in the IITs or NITs or your engineering college.
Education in India, right from primary college is more of a culture of “learn-what-is-told”, rather than “learn-on-your-own-with-experiments”. Teachers teach you from pre-defined set of books all those years and you are expected to answer in the exact way as mentioned in the books, anything extra and you would lose your points in exam. The education culture does not encourage thinking, innovation, experimenting but eventually discourages the student to do so.
There is a great change required in the education system in India to make the education to promote experiments, innovation and unless this happens from ground level, I guess, there will always be a shortage of Indian scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs !
As Obama said, “The world has changed, we need to change too”. I hope India is listening.