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Can we seriously think of turning the mockery called summer training / internship for professional students into a value adding activity instead of the current level of a mockery by all stake holders?
We need to discuss this as a brainstorming. Interested? Can some one in the group sponsor place for the same? One of the Saturdays / Sundays / holidays may be convenient for those who are truly interested in the topic.

What is in it for the student - learning? A certificate which they can otherwise get even without stepping in the office?
Unless we have something tangible for the student to gain out of it, you can't expect him to take it seriously.
Internships are usually non-serious, wouldn't say "mockery" though. Companies are generally non serious about internships, don't want to spend time and resources and non-seriousness is what they get. Way to break it would be for the companies to have meaning tasks, mentors and rewards for the interns.

Dear Mr Bodhisutra
My question is how to make the summer training meaningful to all concerned. I strongly feel that we from the industry can make it if the universities and institutes are not serious about it. It is ultimately the industry that is going to employ the students mostly.

Dear Devarajan,

Bodhisutra is right. Industries have to take responsibility for the situation. As long as the industries do not pay for the interns there is no commitment on their part to make good use of them. I had experienced the same 50+ years ago, while doing summer internships as part of the Engineering Degree. We were mainly allowed to watch workers operating the machines, etc. When an operator allowed me to use a bench drill, the supervisor asked the worker why has he allowed me to operate the machine affecting production. To which the worker responded "I do not like the boy to be watching me all day long and waste his time; let him gain some experience of drilling moulds; if my bonus suffers, so be it." In other departments, like foundry, safety aspects came in the way of gaining hands on experience. Institutions knew how difficult it was and, also, the internship did not contribute any marks towards the degree.

That said, in the field of management students can be asked to reflect on their experience and observations and write about the problems faced, etc., and that can be graded and made a part of the degree qualification.

I would tend to totally disagree with you that the Educational Institutes could afford to be non serious about these internships whilst industry has to take the lead because it has to employ them. Let's understand that it's high time that education in our country has to be more meaningful. We cannot examine only internships or summer training in isolation. The synergy between industry and the Educational Institutions will come about when there is mutual appreciation for each other. The Educational Institutes have to take the first step and work their way out from the queasy grips of apathy expressed by those run by the Govt. and total disinterest in 'conversion' of students into making them employable, by those run in the private. Short term gains are sought by conducting personality development programmes, which are an eye wash because they are always done at the fag end of the programmes. I have been suggesting Faculty Development Programmes with certain rigours, where the faculty have to forget their 9-5 stand and work their way up into becoming effective teachers by imbibing more from the corporate and spend extra time in understanding and comprehending the expectations of the corporate, so that whatever subject of academic interest they teach, they should be able to draw out examples from their observations and not address academics in a naive theoretical manner where the student does not have any grooming. They should be made accountable for their summer training instead and strictly monitored by a faculty member who should coordinate with the corporate and the guide nominated there. I shall be glad if views could be expressed freely so that I could add value to my process of thinking.
My thanks to those who have commented on the topic. Mr Nashbramhall has thrown some light that the situation was no better more than 50 years back.

With the mushrooming of 'professional' courses and colleges to make money out of the unprecedented number of students getting admission into them, and the mandatory nature of the summer / industrial training, where are we going? What is the percentage of the student population who benefit from the summer training? As a HR managers (with a good heart), most of us dont refuse certificates to the students approaching us so that they are able to complete the courses. Some of us helped with some ready made reports which the students photocopied / printed without even going through them. This is very much in the knowledge of the colleges / universities and they dont care. The parents and the students would like the course to be completed by crook or by fluke. I tried taking this up in many academic / management forums (in UP and Uttarkhand) but without any outcome. Now I am taking this through this forum so that something useful to the students can be designed.

Can we start talking something and later involve the other stake holders of this activity, viz. students, parents, academicians to refine and implement the identified process?


I did not read the comments of Mr Dhruva Trivedy prior to posting my comments. I agree that the educationists cannot be disinterested but they are. I am making a sweeping generalized statement, fully knowing there are exceptions like the IITs, IIMs and a small number of equally reputed and responsible colleges.
I am getting convinced from the comments of the expert friends that the need for a review of the summer training activity is an absolute necessity. May be a set up like HRD Network can plan one of their National events to discuss the subject.

I agree with the views of Mr.Simhan. The situation has not changed much and there may be very few exceptions.The summary internships are merely treated as academic rituals. Neither institution is interested nor the industry is interested in developing the students nor the student himself is interested.These are the three stake holders who are to be involved in any effort to make summer internships meaningful.It is first the institution that shall initiate discussion with industry and prepare a frame work on the issue as to how to go about it. Probably teh the Apex bodies of commerce and industry can play an effective role in it.

Saikumar has correctly identified the 3 key stakeholders. I had attached my presentation on Internship at last year. There is a slight difference between Internship and Work Placement.
I would very much welcome feedback on my presentation. The presentation was given to students and some academics attended. I have not tried to give the same presentation to people from any industry. If any of you want to make use of the presentation, please feel free to do so. If you use it, a feedback on where you use and how it was received would be appreciated.

Attached Files
File Type: ppt Internship.ppt (932.0 KB, 266 views)

Another pointer - companies which provide pre-placement offers to interns who fulfill certain performance criteria gain a lot from internships and students are dead serious about them.
If the company cannot give them a pre-placement offer, probably there can be some recognition/cash award etc at the end of the internship.
But then, the question is what can the company gain out of 2 months of a college student with some theoretical knowledge at best. Or rather, what should a smart company expect to gain out of interns and what should it do to create conditions to make it happen.

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