Advanced College of Engineering and Management

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Webinar Series 1 - Cost COVID Prospects in Engineering

June 17, 2020

Webinar Series 1 - Cost COVID Prospects in EngineeringPost Covid Prospects in Engineering: Academic and Professional

Background:
Advanced College of Engineering and Management (acem) hosted a webinar on “Post Covid Prospects in Engineering: Academic and Professional” on June 15, 2020. The webinar was graced by Prof. Dr. Sushil Bajracharya, Acting Dean, IOE, Pulchowk, Mr. Himal Karmacharya, President, Leapfrog, Ms. Abhigya Pokharel, Sr. Project Manager, Ncell, Axiata and Mr. Ashish Garg, Head, Infrastructure Committee, CNI as panelists.  The webinar was moderated by Ms. Sadichha Shrestha, former Miss Nepal.

Objective:
One of the main objectives of this webinar was to guide prospective students who dream to be the engineers of the future and all existing students of engineering about the prospects in the area during and after this pandemic. 

Discussions:

Mr. Ramesh Silwal, Chairman, acem and President of HISSAN, talked about the current situation of COVID 19, and its impact on students of Engineering in the opening remarks. He also highlighted on following points:

- Current scenario of world: 1.72 billion students affected worldwide.
- Impact of COVID on students.
- Students enrollment might decrease.
- Paying capacity of parents will also decrease.
- Take this challenge as a door to new opportunities.
- The importance of ‘Doing more with less’ in this current situation.
- Positive aspects: digitalization, local supply increase, survival mode on.
- Negative aspects: stress, anxiety, suicide, unemployment, deprivation from      quality education.
- Recognize future areas for growth like health sector, virology, robotics, chemical engineering. 
- Youngsters need to be more proactive.

Prof. Dr. Sushil Bajracharya shared his insights on impact of COVID 19 on engineering students, strategic plan for recovery along with action plan and way forward in days to come. He shared his optimism about how the loss of classes has been compensated by online classes. He spoke on following points:
- Impact of COVID on engineering education.
- Current academic situation.
- Strategic plan for recovery.
- Action plan and way forward: need new policies and guidelines.
- Dean office is ready to start the classes as soon as lockdown is lifted.
- Dean office working on publishing academic calendar.
- Add class hours and decrease holidays to compensate.
- Focusing on new learning modality: online classes.
- Challenges of online classes as 20% students are not reachable.
- Time to shift paradigm in engineering education.
- Need to update the curriculum.
- Student friendly and more practical approach in teaching-learning.


Mr. Himal Karmacharya spoke about how technology sector is the least affected during this pandemic. He said we should never let crisis go to waste and how we are in shortage of software engineers. He also added that the future in software technology is really bright and promising and so far we are only scratching the surface in terms of software technology. He also talked about the following points:
  • Software developers have very less unemployment rate (about 1.8%)
  • Shortage of software engineers even in USA.
  • IT sector has become more important after this pandemic.
  • Information and Communications Technology is one of the fastest growing sectors in Nepal too. 
  • Amidst of all the changes in various sectors, technology sector remains unaffected. Work hasn’t stopped at all.
  • The need to bridge the gap between what is taught in the college and what is demanded in job market.
  • There are about 5000 IT graduates every year in Nepal and that is not enough.
  • Leapfrog has 12 weeks internship program which focuses on orientation, action learning, stretch project and apprenticeship.
  • His dream of a software company with 10,000 employees that would be the first Nepali unicorn.


Mr. Ashish Garg shared about the impacts of COVID 19 on engineering industry. He talked about the changes we should expect post COVID 19 and also its brighter side. An important question raised by Mr. Garg was if we have linkage between the actual work requirement and existing skill in our market. Here are the points he spoke on:
  • Nepalese Industry prospects for engineers.
  • 30,000 engineers, half of them employed by private sector industries across manufacturing, construction etc.
  • Low pay scale and slow career growth.
  • Nepal gets 50% of work force from abroad, almost ban on imported manpower including work permit for Indians.
  • Cost minimization with use of local resources which are always cost effective.
  • High time to create jobs for local engineers.
  • Recession due to pandemic.
  • Post COVID issues on engineering sector.
  • 95% of foreign engineers are hired to design major projects. Time to trust our local engineers.
  • Better prospect for Nepalese engineers to be absorbed in self-reliant economy for Nepal’s development.
  • Engineers should work harder to accommodate themselves in the job market.


Ms. Abhigya Pokharel, talked about VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) situation that we are experiencing for the past couple of months since the pandemic. She also spoke about the changing consumer behavior and how it is affecting the business model. She highlighted on the impact on IT sector and the need for data privacy and cyber security therein and these following points:
  • The impact of COVID- customer behavior is changing, business model is changing, world is changing.
  • Impact on IT sector: financial and economic impact due to less cash flow.
  • The importance of focusing on data privacy as hacking incidents reported all over the world.
  • Growing concept of working from home.
  • Engineering services more focused on automation and robotics with the pandemic.
  • Moving towards digitalization.
  • With online payment increasing, cyber security is a must.
  • We must embrace the new normal.
  • Questions for thought like how do we make our people more secured, how to embrace learning opportunities for students in rural areas, how to leverage automation and robotics, how is our engineering services enhancing innovation and more.

 Mr. Kapil Dev Regmi, Director, acem, thanked the panelists and the participants of the webinar. He said this pandemic has opened the Pandora’s Box and we need to adapt to the changes quickly. He also added that he hopes this program will help students to get into engineering. He also talked about:
  • Taking industry to classroom and classroom to industry.
  • Need to collaborate with industries.
  • Adapt to the change as change is inevitable. 
  • Plan for more webinars in global context.