Is engineering on the verge of decline ?
Science is about knowing, Engineering is about doing
Right from the first cry of an infant, parents used to dream of having an engineering degree in the hands of their kids. But from past 2-3 years and the foremost, this current year has witnessed a gradual decline in demand for engineers. Engineers build a nation, but what caused the companies to step back from hiring Indian engineers.
Though the number of universities, colleges and programs are continuously increasing in the country, the lack of quality education persists. Profit hungry managements, lack of skill education, resplendent corruption, focus on rote learning methods and the shortage of faculty are the major issues plaguing higher education.
As the government keeps on granting permissions to newer colleges, the rates of vacant seats in newly opened private colleges brings out a different picture altogether. In the year 2016-17, Approx. 54% seats remained vacant, numerically speaking in a total of 16007000 seats, 8,67000 seats remained vacant. Because of this, the government was forced to cancel 96,000 seats. Approx. 275 engineering colleges have applied to AICTE in a request for the closure of their courses.
Now the question is, what is the reason for these shocking figures? Is every college including IITs and NITs are on the same page. In the recent years, the number of government colleges have increased from 411 to 429 out of which only 28% seats remained vacant in these colleges. It shows that lack of trust in the teachings of private colleges is increasing day by day. Students rather feel risky to give their money and careers in the hand of the colleges who are busy in calculating and achieving their desired profits.
Now, after graduating the process leads to the battleground of campus placement.
The figures are shocking here too, as many as 97% of graduating engineers want the job either in software engineering or core engineering. However, only 3% have suitable skills to be employed in software or product market and only 7% can handle core engineering tasks.
According to HRD ministry, India has 6214 engineering and technology institutions which are enrolling 2.9 million students.
let’s enlist some of the causes which contribute to the recent high unemployment in this sector.
Major problems with engineering education in India:
1. Syllabus not updated regularly
The course contents do not focus on areas which will actually help in the job industry after employment. There is a big gap between what the market needs and what Indian education equips its future employees with. Despite exponential changes in science and technology around the world, the syllabus is hardly ever updated.
2. Lack of quality teachers
There are more than 33,023 colleges in India granting degrees.
There are not enough quality teachers for all of these educational institutes. Most educated engineers join teaching as a profession not because of passion, but because they have to earn a livelihood. The few good professors prefer administrative positions because of lower intellectual demands coupled with higher pay packages.
3. Lack of innovation and research
Students need to be motivated enough to be innovative or think for themselves. As the new HRD minister Prakash Javadekar recently said,
"Why do we lack innovation in India? Because we don't allow questioning."
“We don’t promote inquisitiveness. If a child asks questions in school, he is asked to sit down. This should not go on. We need to promote inquisitiveness, children should ask questions.”
4. Faulty education system
Semester systems and system of evaluation have not yet reached to the level they are expected to be at as the students are not interested in continuous learning, they only want good grades. Unless the specific purpose of such initiatives is properly understood by faculty and students, the methods would not work.
In result of above factors and lack of skill-based education a student holds a degree in engineering after passing out, but never really becomes an engineer. In turn, they fail miserably in interviews who prefer individuals only for the skills they possess. Hence they are forced to go in the fields and prepare all over again which has no connection with what they studied during their college years.
We believe engineers are builders of the nation, however, this phrase needs to be made true in reality through solving problems in the core. This mess of colleges and numbers can only be cleared with the collective efforts of government and universities in building the trust of both companies to attract employment and students to encourage enrollment.
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- Ankit Keshan