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Indian Education System

The Technology & Economic Forum is a venue to discuss issues pertaining to Technological and Economic developments in India. We request members to kindly stay within the mandate of this forum and keep their exchanges of views, on a civilised level, however vehemently any disagreement may be felt. All feedback regarding forum usage may be sent to the moderators using the Feedback Form or by clicking the Report Post Icon in any objectionable post for proper action. Please note that the views expressed by the Members and Moderators on these discussion boards are that of the individuals only and do not reflect the official policy or view of the Website. Copyright Violation is strictly prohibited and may result in revocation of your posting rights - please read the FAQ for full details. Users must also abide by the Forum Guidelines at all times.
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Re: Indian Education System

Postby Zynda » 10 Aug 2017 16:06

This is a very long article but I found it fascinating...this is what is required in desh...inculcating product development idea in to students right from high-school level and use professional courses like BE/BTech to enhance those concepts with sound engineering principles.

The Kids Are Alright—Solid Edge in Academics

As a CAD manager, one of my main responsibilities is hiring. I know firsthand how hard it is to find good experienced candidates as well as qualified entry-level applicants just coming out of school and entering the workforce for the first time. It’s important that entry-level candidates not only have a good understanding of the CAD software we use, but also that they understand how a business operates and how project workflows are handled. The future of business in all industries will be directly affected by the youth in today’s educational system. The more the educational system can do to prepare students to be able to “hit the ground running,” the more of a positive impact it will have on the business industry and, ultimately, the students’ careers as well. The first step in accomplishing this goal is to have talented and driven teachers who are willing to go the extra mile and do what it takes to ensure that their students are prepared for what’s ahead. For this article, I was lucky enough to interview one such teacher.

STEM in the classroom

Rachael Simons has been a teacher at Sparkman High School in Huntsville, Ala., for the past 11 years. She teaches approximately 2,000 students in grades 10-12. Among other things, Simons teaches her students competitive STEM using Solid Edge. Her students have been involved in projects such as BEST Robotics, MATE ROV and Greenpower.

Simons’ decision to teach came at an early age. Her grandmother and mother were both teachers. As a child, she played school with kids her mom watched during the summer, and she would frequently ask her mother and grandmother to help grade papers. She started her career at Sparkman High School, teaching Geometry A and B classes to at-risk students. The students she taught had difficulty seeing the relevance of what she was teaching them and why it was important.

A New Method Utilizing Solid Edge

Simons, not one to be afraid of a good challenge, chose to revise the way she was teaching by incorporating technology activities and hands-on learning, even though the technical support and funding were not necessarily available at the time. She purchased a Verizon MiFi, brought in her own laptop, and purchased any necessary supplies out of her own pocket. She then spent the summer taking college courses in computer science and finding as many workshops and conferences that she could attend to learn the new skills she would need to teach with her revised methods.

“If you are just giving them something to read and then problems to solve, even after you’ve shown them how to do similar problems, they don’t translate those similarities. They don’t understand ‘well this is like this, so maybe I can apply that here.’ There’s no relationship that they can bridge a gap to,” she said. “You have to figure out a different way to approach things. That’s why I like Solid Edge. It takes some of those concepts that they are reading about in the textbook and can talk about, and then they can actually utilize them and have a deeper understanding because they’re creating something with those concepts that brings them into a completely different world of learning.”

The results from Simons’ new teaching method were so positive that by her fourth year, she was asked to teach robotics. She was excited to move into this new role, and was even able to acquire some donated laptops to run software as well as some inherited Lego Mindstorms kits to round out the robotics resources. Simons summarized that first year by stating:

“I realized students wanted to be in robotics to play with Legos and not invest in higher-order thinking processes. After further thought, I concluded if robotics education were to continue, creativity needed to be incorporated. Over the summer, I brainstormed about creating a company for students to take ownership in. I choose to compete in the BEST robotics competition to manufacture a robot from raw material specified in a RFP. At the time, another teacher was teaching Solid Edge. One of our common students modeled our robot in SE for the competition. Each year, I strive to broaden my knowledge; therefore, the next summer I registered for a Solid Edge workshop.”

Simons’ continued drive and motivation, coupled with her continued positive results, prompted the school to move her from the Math Department to Career Tech Education where she could focus solely on teaching Engineering and Robotics. Currently, she teaches Foundations of Engineering (FOE), Introduction to Robotics, Robotics Applications, and Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM).

In the Foundations of Engineering class, students are required to model all of their unit projects in Solid Edge. Simons explained that there were many driving factors in choosing to utilize Solid Edge—proximity and support being first and foremost. She indicated that Siemens representatives have been critical in working with her when students were in need of support.

“In addition, many of my students travel onsite to Siemens when problems arise that we cannot troubleshoot,” she said. “Many students who take Foundations of Engineering are just exploring the class to see what skills are required for engineers. Most of the students I teach are not AP math students. Synchronous Technology in Solid Edge eliminates ordered limitations. Solid Edge allows students to explore spatial reasoning skills and advanced math geometry in a unique perspective while creating a model of a product they can build or machine in class.”

Simons teaches the basics in Solid Edge and encourages students to broaden their CAD skills through project-based learning. Having 3D printers, CNC routers and CNC machines provides her students with an opportunity to design in CAD and then machine their creations to help them take ownership of their learning. She also teaches her students how to reverse engineer by using calipers to measure parts and then modeling those given parts into Solid Edge.

“Students want the ‘end result’—something tangible,” she said. “They have to see the importance of the learning experience to appreciate learning objectives. In my experience, the ability of students to create custom designs in competitive projects drives them to learn new features and their application.”

Earlier I noted that one of Simons’ initial brainstorming ideas was to create a “company” for students to take ownership in. That company has become known as Spark Industry Robotics, or SIR, as the students like to refer to it. Simons went into more detail about how the company works.

“Students apply for positions in the SIR company we have established. Based on skills acquired in previous courses, prior knowledge or level of motivation to learn a new skill, students form teams in management, programming, design/CAD, electrical, and build and design. All students participate in the brainstorming process and produce sketch options for the design/CAD team to analyze and further develop. Management sets a schedule, the review time line and progress reporting documents. The students in management also follow up on progress, collaborate and report to industry support, and present for financial support,” Simons explained.

She went into detail on how SIR used Solid Edge to prepare for its Greenpower STEM Competition.

“The SIR Design team decided to do a custom body on the Greenpower Electric car kit frame. Despite limited machinery, knowledge of techniques, and finances, the team still chose to create a body in Solid Edge, test in a virtual wind tunnel, flatten the body in Solid Edge, and machine panels on a water jet to then be molded to the frame. Expanded PVC material was used due to the cost and weight of the material. Students used the CAD model to acquire the calculations for the body curvatures. Then, using plywood, measuring tools, foam insulation, HVAC tape, clamps, and heat guns, the students molded the machined body panels to the car frame and manufactured custom mounts to allow for temperature expansion and contraction,” Simons said. {This is amazing...even experienced engineers would struggle to have design conception to production overview}


In talking to Simons about any challenges she’s had implementing Solid Edge into her program, she said the biggest ones have been computers and software updates.

“I have a classroom of laptops that really struggle to adequately run Solid Edge—they are six years old,” she said.

Another obstacle that Simons faces is sharing all the students’ files on Google Drive.

“Sometimes students working on a specific component of a project forget to upload necessary files,” she said. “It would be extremely beneficial to have an assembly population database search feature for inclusive part files with Google team sharing.”

Near the beginning of this article, I stated that step one in helping to prepare tomorrow’s engineering workforce was having talented and driven teachers willing to go the extra mile and do what it takes to prepare students for what’s ahead. Step two is to get the educational administrators and business industry leaders on the same page and communicating with each other. I asked Simons what she thought those two groups could do better to help the cause.

“I think the biggest thing for the industry is to communicate with the administration and counselors who are scheduling classes and provide them with the reasoning as to why this is such a beneficial opportunity for students,” she said. “In turn, the counselors and administrators need to consider how they are scheduling classes and how they’re setting up different courses for the master schedule.”

Siemens has sponsored to write this article. All opinions are mine, except where quoted or stated otherwise. —Jeffrey Heimgartner

Sparkman High School’s 2017 MATE ROV named Sylvia, which was modeled in Solid Edge.

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Re: Indian Education System

Postby csaurabh » 10 Aug 2017 18:56

I really disagree, we don't need people with Solid Edge or other fancy 'CAD skills' . What we need is reverse engineering and technology business development (startups), and lots of it. These startups will need a mix of experienced people and younger, enthusiastic people.

We need companies like Fanuc, ABB, Siemens, Maxon, Lockheed Martin, and about 500 other such hi tech companies (in hardware) and a similar number in software space. I often feel NRIs don't have a clear idea how technologically backward India is..

I will just give a simple example: Soldering Irons.

Locally, I can buy a soldering iron for 250 Rs. It's a piece of crap. The first one broke ( electrically, something inside ) very quickly, and I had to get another one. The tip gets rusted really easily, there's no temperature control, no protection, nothing.

In our lab we have a soldering iron from Weller (made in Germany). It cost 16,000 Rs. but the quality is sky high. It has incredible temperature control, the tip is very rugged and the cables are made out of a material that doesn't melt away if the hot iron touches it.

I've looked around, but I haven't found anything that is between the price range and quality of these two. The explanation is simple- there are no companies like Weller in India. Thus, if you want high quality soldering iron, there's no option but import. This is hardly limited to soldering irons. The same story is repeated just about everywhere.

Now obviously from a business point of view there must be some case for R&D development for high quality soldering iron in India ( does it really cost 16000 Rs? come on ). If students are constantly distracted by 'sexy' things (robot, or whatever ), they have no motivation to go into such domains, such as soldering irons, which are a fundamental building block of a nations industrial base.

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Re: Indian Education System

Postby Amber G. » 12 Aug 2017 01:44

Some time ago I read Mehrotra's "Fourth IIT" story of IIT Kanpur. Liked it very much. Impressed by vision of Kelker.

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Re: Indian Education System

Postby Vayutuvan » 12 Aug 2017 06:17

csaurabh wrote:I really disagree, we don't need people with Solid Edge or other fancy 'CAD skills' . What we need is reverse engineering and technology business development (startups), and lots of it. These startups will need a mix of experienced people and younger, enthusiastic people....

You hit the nail on its head. "CAD skills" would be a six month vocational course, especially so now that SolidWorks gives the license dirt cheap to those who want to become CAD specialists. CAE is a whole another beast though. Multiphysics ups the complexity exponentially.

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Re: Indian Education System

Postby Theo_Fidel » 12 Aug 2017 08:09

There are plenty of start-up companies in India with quite high level/quality products but they are all focused on the export market. Products meant for export to USA/EU are engineered and designed by folks with very high level skills. I can walk into home depot and tons of products are designed and manufactured in India on every shelf. No where near China but still a surprising amount and good quality and cheap too. Most of these are not available in India itself however. I'n not entirely sure why this is so. Maybe they get better cash from exports or what ever. One day I hope these companies start focusing on quality products within India.

People can correct me but my experience with 'shoddy Indian products' division of the economy is these products are designed by folks who have no business designing these things and they are stamped out and put together by folks who are living hand to mouth with no idea what things like quality control is. If you go to Teynampet in Chennai there are hundreds of these 2 room factories on both banks of the Koovum that make/hand assemble these sorts of products. There is zero quality control and the aim is to stock the thousands of little shops that line the streets. We are not the customer, that shop owner is. And the shop owner only cares that it last for 2 days till the customer forgets which shop he got it from and loses the receipt. End of story.

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Re: Indian Education System

Postby csaurabh » 12 Aug 2017 09:00

Theo ji, a lot of time Made in India simply means assembled in India. Screw driver engineering.

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Re: Indian Education System

Postby Zynda » 12 Aug 2017 12:01

I realize the above article focusses on a particular CAD application (it was a sponsored article BTW), but my take away rather was about learning & inculcating the concept of product design...right from conception to manufacturing. CAD and CAE are just tools to accomplish the above. Also to practise the concept of applying theoretical knowledge in building real products. Most of the people I know in my batch & peers, had very little idea about implementing our theoretical knowledge till a few years in to our professional jobs.

CAD modelling can be picked up easily in a few months but not designing (In India modelling is referred to as design erroneously)...

Probably & hopefully some of the above is being taught to a certain extent in high-end private high schools...the above doesn't have to be in mechanical design...could be extended to electronics or software depending up on the faculty's & school administration's interest levels. At least on Android/mobile apps, it seems like there are some products being created by high-school students...but our industry always complains of education not producing industry ready graduates...stuff like the above goes in small ways of alleviating the issue.

The above article emphasizes a lot on SolidEdge CAD package because it was sponsored by Siemens. BTW, the article is written by a practising industry CAD manager.

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Re: Indian Education System

Postby Theo_Fidel » 12 Aug 2017 22:57


No need for the ji saar...

Some of it no doubt is screw driver. But not all. I took apart a electric track lighting product that had a made in India stamp. Very good quality for the price.

- The track extrusion undoubtedly from outside India.
- The light cowling, reflector and plastic trim all had these little made in India stamps. The wiring was all India, very high quality , the LED lamps came from Vietnam.
- The light electronic ballast came from China.
- The Metal stamp pieces undoubtedly India.
- The instruction manual, printed in India, all the spare parts steam shrink wrapped to manual, good quality. There were 6 wire nuts, small screw driver, insulation tape, etc. All made in India.

So the manufacturing exists somewhere but not directed to domestic market....

While things like Solidworks training may not be needed for domestic manufacture, I can assure you these pieces I saw need that level of tech for the quality. It is either being designed in India or elsewhere.... ..most likely designed in USA.

The way modern machinery works, everything has to be programmed into the supply chain machinery which then spits out 100,000 copies for 1 cent a piece.

What I'm trying to say is that there are two supply streams in India. One is the Global supply stream that folks abroad get to see. The other supply stream comes out of Teynampet, Agra, Dharavi, type factories.... ..not sure why this is so, though I have a guess... ..Way back in the day GOI would set up factories for export only. All the biggest Shrimp, best coconuts, juciest mango, best shoes, etc was meant for export only. Occasionally these export items would land in our laps and we would marvel at the high quality but there was never any place we could get them. This dichotomy seems to have carried over into manufacturing..

While solidworks training may not be required for domestic market. You definitely need it for the export market. Not sure if the global companies will hire India folks to do the design, there is inertia, but definitely an opportunity to feed these export factories. Hopefully these folks then trickle into the domestic market. Which has happened in the consumer products industry for instance... ..I continually marvel at the quality of India made soaps, creams and the packaging, esp. considering the old shoddy dettol soap days... :)

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