A Bill to Enlist: Provision of Six Months Internship
No doubt that an academic regulation represents the official position of an institute and stipulates the faculty's requirements for a degree and provides students with guidelines for achieving their personal academic goals, but some rules tend to bound one from the opportunities they could seek. A six-months internship program is one such provision that can give huge impetus to career opportunities and hence it is aligning with mainstream academics has been quite a long-drawn issue.
For starters, many reputed companies (mostly in the Semiconductor/VLSI sector) offer PPOs (Pre-placement offers) to students who undergo 6 months internship from mid-December to mid-June. These long term internships are an indication of one's commitment, aimed at providing a valuable in-depth experience. They allow undertaking more tasks to evaluate the potential of being more varied and more time to travel and get intimately involved with the culture.
Program outline: NIT Rourkela
Companies usually have the 6 months internship as optional, even though almost all of them prefer the model before hiring for FTE. Some reputed ones being, Western Digital Sandisk, Qualcomm, Intel, Mentor Graphics, Arm, CDAC, Nvidia, Nutanix, VMware, Sabre, Flipkart, Amazon, Udaan (Internship), PharmEasy (Internship), American Express, Accolite, Texas Instruments, and BNY Mellon.
NIT Rourkela recently passed the provision for 6- months internship for the M.Tech students. The resolution previously in effect demanded the discretion of the guides for pursuing such internships but with the new ruling, the scenario is expected to change.
Allowed only for the M.Tech and dual-degree students, the program requires the students to publish the M.Tech thesis based on the project done under the guide. In the final year autumn semester, they work full time under the guidance on the project. In the spring semester, they have to do both, the project under the guide, and the internship. If at the end of the spring semester the guide feels the project thesis submitted is not up to the mark then they might extend the project.
The collaboration is undertaken by signing an MoU with the company and the project therein is research-based and non-confidential information is allowed to be published in the thesis. It is up to the guide to permit the student to join the internship.
Implications of the provision
Summer internships are often not enough for the students to get industry exposure, therefore multinational companies offer internships with a minimum duration of 6 months. However, the absence of the provisions restricts students from approaching these companies and NIT Rourkela hence lost out on many recruiters including Nutanix, VMWare, Flipkart, Sabre, Standard Chartered, Texas Instruments, Accolite, Societe Generale, Cypress Semiconductors, etc.
Every company wants its employees to get a flavour of the tech-domain that they are working on before being assigned to a fully-fledged project. So, they would always want their hires to intern with them, learn the technologies that would be needed, and then assign them with the projects. Another dilemma is that when contemporary institutes allow the student to take up the six months internship, companies naturally will be willing to visit other lower-ranked institutes. Addressing this dilemma, Team Monday Morning approached the Training and Placement Cell of the institute for their insights.
For example - Let’s say a company hires two students X and Y. 6 months internship is allowed in X’s College and not at Y’s College. So X joins the company as an intern from January and learns the technology and assists in the project work of his team. So in July, X is completely versed with the company’s tech and business needs, whereas when Y joins, he is completely new to all these things, so he would require an additional 3-4 months to equip himself with the company’s demands and needs. So this would be a problem faced by companies to train and mentor the new joiners at this time.
-Debi Prasad Mohapatra, Secretary, Placement Committee (2020-21)
When asked about how the 6-month Internship Program would be implemented/streamlined once it comes into effect, Debi Prasad Mohapatra said-
The 6-month Internship program can be streamlined by the introduction of a fast pace program. The students will intern from January in the 8th semester and the evaluation can be done based on the work they are doing in the organization.
When asked about the current status of the six-month internship program in our institute for undergraduate and postgraduate students, Professor Umesh Chandra Pati, Head, Training & Placement Cell said-
The concept of 6-month internship for undergraduate and postgraduate students is a recent development. This matter is under active consideration by the Institute administration and the decision will be taken very soon. When implemented, this will definitely enhance the placement scenario of both undergraduate and post graduate students.
Team MM also contacted Professor Saroj Kumar Patel, Dean (Academics) to know about his views on the status of the 6-month internship program. He remarked to wait for the details of the decision by the Senate and eventually his comment on the issue after the detailed decision is formally taken up by the Senate.
Roadblocks On The Path Of Enforcement
Though this highly acclaimed program of six months internship has already been accepted by the senate for Dual Degree students a long time ago and was recently approved for M.Tech students, inefficient implementation has always posed troubles for students. A major impediment is- the institute’s curriculum doesn’t support it. The students have courses and projects to complete in the final semester, which don’t leave any space for them to pursue these long-yet- highly productive internships, which seek to provide the first-hand experience of work to the students.
Though approved for Dual Degree students, the guide is the ultimate person with the authority to allow the students for the same.
There are no rules for the guide to give permission. An MoU will be signed with the company to collaborate with our institution and the project will be research-based and non-confidential information will be allowed to be published in the thesis. It is up to the guide to permit the student to join the internship. There is also a provision to change the guide at the beginning of the final year if the current guide doesn’t allow for internships.
- Debi Prasad Mohapatra, Placement Committee Secretary.
Another problem that arises here is the incorporation of fast-paced programs. Debi Prasad Mohapatra gives an insight.
Firstly, the fast pace program is in its early stages. For implementing the 6 months internship model for B. Tech students, the courses of 8th semester needs to be shifted to the previous semesters and the administration is still figuring that out. Once, a fully fledged fast pace program is introduced, it can be introduced in the curriculum and the further process for six month internships can be approved for B. Tech students as well.
Placement Committee’s Role
Placement Committee has also a huge role to play for passing the resolution. When asked about the Placement committee’s efforts towards ensuring that more students of our institute avail the chance for the 6 months internship, Debi Prasad Mohapatra answered-
The 6 months internship model is something that the administration can take a call on. This proposal needs to be passed in Senate. So, the Placement Committee can only suggest changes to the administration.
We have contacted more than 1000 companies this year so that we expect that at least one-fifth of them would turn up and provide opportunities to our students. I am thankful to my team for constantly putting in the efforts and I feel we will certainly do well amidst this crisis as well.
- he continued.
What needs to be changed?
We should also notice that once this resolution passes, variations would be created automatically between students who have bagged the 6 months internship and students remaining on campus.
Regarding this issue Debi Prasad said-
This is something we are still thinking upon. We can have an evaluation in the 8th semester where the students those who would intern can present their work and those who would be getting FTE offer directly can be assigned with some minor project under a professor.
Contemporary Institutes And Their Provisions
Let us now focus on other Institutes of National Repute and how they have implemented the 6 months internship program so far.
For the first time in the history of Indian Institute Technologies, IIT Hyderabad has decided to allow its students to take up a 6-month internship beginning from the academic year 2020-21. According to Director of IIT Hyderabad, Prof. BS Murthy-
Time and again students have complained that summer internships are just not enough for them to get industry exposure. So, we have decided to allow them to take a 6 months long internship. The option to opt for an internship will be given during the sixth semester to interested students.
SOURCE- THE TIMES OF INDIA
National Institute of Technology Karnataka, Surathkal witnessed a 25% increase in PPOs as compared to the previous year with 150 students getting placed in reputed companies, which can be attributed to the revisions in its curriculum( from the academic session 2019-20 ) which now opens up the possibility to intern for 6-8 months. According to Vijay Desai, Chairman of Career Development Centre (CDC)-
To encourage Pre Placement Offers (PPOs), based on feedback received from both companies and alumni, NITK has taken a step forward and has revised its curriculum to provide new academic options to its students admitted from 2018 onwards. Students can explore the possibility of taking up internships in Industries or R&D labs for 6-8 months.
SOURCE- THE TIMES OF INDIA
International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore is a premier institute focussed on Post-Graduate Computer Science and Electronics education and research. Students belonging to M.Tech (CSE and ECE) are allowed to do internships for 6 months (mid-December to mid- June) in the 4th semester. Integrated M.Tech (CSE and ECE) students can also go for internships for 6 months (mid- December to mid-June) in their 10th Semester.
Students of IIIT Delhi (Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi) can opt for the following kind of internships-
(i) Summer Internships (May to July, the maximum duration of 6 to 8 weeks)
(ii) Semester Internships (maximum duration of 4 to 6 months)
However, the students opting for the summer internships are governed by the following clause-
“B.Tech students opting for a long duration internship will undergo an extended semester and the student will graduate in December (Internship duration is deemed as Semester leave).”
The IIIT Bangalore curriculum has yet another structure in place that allows students to complete their 20 credits in the final semester (mid-December - mid-June) in one of the following modes:
(i) As a full-time intern, working on a challenging project in their area of interest, with an organisation/company.
(ii) Carrying out a Thesis on a research topic under the supervision of a faculty member at IIIT Bangalore.
(iii) A research project/thesis/internship at a partner university under one of the exchange programs.
(iv) Create a startup under the mentorship of the IIIT Bangalore Innovation Centre.
NIT Bhopal's norms for the PG internship clearly states that the project work done during 6 months/one-year internship program is equivalent to their M.Tech. one semester/two-semester thesis work which has to be carried out under the supervision of two guides, one from the department and another from the industry/ educational institute, having at least equivalent qualification of M.Tech. Degree. The provisions in place since 2018 allow students to opt for the internship and pursue online courses from the Swayam portal, through which students can collect marks which will be converted into credit and get the degree.
From this session onwards (2020-21), the administration of NIT Jamshedpur has allowed the B.Tech students to be part of 6 Months Internships. NIT Trichy, NIT Patna, and NIT Warangal, IIT Ropar have such provisions in place from much earlier academic sessions.
TO WIND UP
Recently, the Senate of NIT Rourkela passed the proposal for the 6 months Internship Program for the M.Tech students. If the proposal is implemented, it would potentially prove to be a huge boon for M.Tech students. However, the demand for undergraduate students remains unfulfilled. When asked how much more time is needed for this program to be implemented, Debi Prasad Mohapatra had to say,
For this academic year, it is not possible to implement this model. However, I feel from the next academic session it can be implemented subject to approval in the Senate. All I can say is that the sooner it will get implemented, the better it is for our students and institute.
Students of every branch support this initiative because it would provide them with a plethora of options to choose from during the placement season and it will give them a headstart in their professional life.
The students of NIT Rourkela hope that the proposal of the 6 Months Internship Program is implemented as soon as possible so that they don’t miss the valuable chance to sit for many reputed companies during the placement season.