Engineering education is one of the key enablers for sustainable growth of a nation’s economy. The exponential growth of engineering education in India has affected the quality of engineering graduates in terms of their employability. The National Board of Accreditation (NBA) accredits engineering programs using the Outcome-Based Education (OBE) framework. This framework has twelve graduate attributes of the ‘Washington Accord’ aligned with program outcomes. This paper proposes a systems approach which consists of input, transformation and output towards achieving employable skills in engineers. The program outcomes consisting of technical and professional skills are derived from the competencies required for the target roles in the industry and the graduates’ attributes. Keeping this in mind, a structured outcome-based curriculum was established for a mechanical engineering program in association with the industry. The courses needed towards achieving the program outcomes were identified and course outcomes have been established. While the course outcomes were assessed using formative and summative assessments, the engineering institutions had no proven mechanism to assess the program outcomes explicitly. In an attempt to resolve this issue, a thematic approach called the Product and System Based Learning (PSBL) was adopted in the lines of Product Oriented Learning (POL) and Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate (CDIO) approach in three stages. The three stages include Implement-Operate (Skills), Design-Implement-Operate (Design), and eventually Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate (Innovation). Program learning outcomes were established for each stage as competencies and performance indicators were developed for assessment in the form of a rubric. On completion of the first stage, the performance of the students using the course assessment was compared with the performance assessment using the indicators aligned to competencies. The results showed a very high level of academic performance at the course level assessment, but this result was not reflected at the performance level assessment. This indicates that a direct assessment of program outcomes is important to develop employable engineering graduates for the industry. This paper demonstrates the need for a direct assessment of program outcomes which will ensure the readiness of hands on, industry ready engineering graduates from the academic system and proposes to resolve the gap through an integrated framework.
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