Academic Curriculum

 The Indian Naval officer is a leader. Quintessentially, this leadership concerns itself with management of men and material, conflict and violence. Such a leader, therefore, faces an increasingly complex environment in which he must process, evaluate, and communicate a plethora of information. In today's technologically-dense environment, technological competence enables an officer to make decisions, based not only upon experience and judgment but also on scientific methods of analysis and information processing, for the planning and execution of naval operations. Significant evolutionary changes have emerged as a result of the introduction of new weapon-sensor systems. Sophisticated weapons, with automated capabilities such as precision-guided munitions and advanced command, control, and communication systems, require a new generation of naval officers capable of tapping the full potential of the emerging computerised force structure that is principally designed for network-centric operations. The requirement to operate technologically-complex weapon-systems implies the need for personnel with superior technical capabilities, as also the perceived need  for technical acumen amongst the officer cadre at large, training all officers in the  basic disciplines of Mechanical and Electrical & Electronics engineering formed the raison d’être of  the Indian Naval Academy (INA).
The training curriculum at the Academy is, at its most fundamental level, designed to equip cadets with a strong foundation of fundamental theoretical knowledge in respect of academic subjects and Navy-specific. The academic (BTech & MSc) curriculum of the INA is essentially designed to equip cadets with a strong foundation of theoretical knowledge in a number of technical subjects that find application in the Navy.  Despite the fact that this design is a substantially bespoke (i.e., ‘custom-made’) one, it does not provide quite the exposure to real-time situations that the cadets will need, in order to be eminently ‘employable’ by the Indian Navy.  In recognition of this, the INA has imparted a large top-down thrust to ‘practicalisation’ and ‘marinisation’ of the BTech/MSc syllabus. Practical knowledge has always been the bedrock of any good education system and the Indian Naval Academy is no exception.
The BTech curriculum is run over a 4-year or, 8-term period, under the aegis of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi, and fully supported and supervised by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). The academic curriculum in the first three terms is focussed solely on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects to lay a strong educational foundation and bring all cadets from different educational backgrounds, to the same take off level. The content in respect of professional military education for all cadets in the I-III terms is largely focussed on pan-Navy subjects relevant to all branches. Cadets are allocated the Executive, Engineering and Electrical branches at the end of third term and, for the IV – VIII terms, grouped into separate classes. Branch specific curriculum is implemented, from the IV – VIII terms, viz., BTech (Mechanical Engg) for Engineering branch cadets, BTech (Electronics & Communication Engg) for Electrical branch cadets and BTech (Applied Electronics & Communication Engg) for the Executive branch cadets. For the Engineering and Electrical branches there is a proportional increase in their technical subjects in the IVth to VIIIth terms with short refresher capsules on-pan Navy subjects in the VIIIth term before they pass out. Only the Executive branch cadets undergo extensive service subject training in the IVth to VIIIth terms.
It is generally recognised that a positive relationship exists between language ability and mental ability as measured by any standard intelligence test.  Since the understanding and use of words play so large a role in the day-to-day functioning of the Navy, cadets are provided with ample opportunities to harness the power of language to craft compelling, memorable and emotionally engaging communication through dedicated English sessions as part of curriculum, debating and declamation competitions, state-of-the-art language labs, etc.
The cadets also undergo attachments with naval dockyards and sea attachments with afloat units etc., to augment understanding of the practical applications of the theory learnt at the INA. Cadets are also tasked to undertake various Navy specific projects during their final year of training to ensure they ‘connect’ with the operational Navy. The academic curriculum and philosophy must necessarily remain composite functions of the dynamics of demand and perceptions, stemming from technological changes and doctrinal orientation and associated changes.  It is, therefore, obvious that the revision of curriculum is a continuous process and must cater for the incremental demands that may emerge — singly or severally — as offshoots of practical experiences that the Navy undergo. At the INA, review of academic curriculum is a continuous process involving the INA faculty and some very senior professors from IITs/IISc and thereby keeping it relevant and up-to-date. There is no gainsaying the fact that the Academy equips cadets with core fundamentals that would essentially be at par with ‘industry-standard best-practices’, so that cadets are eminently and immediately ‘employable’.