What ails engineering education in India

India is facing a crisis in the engineering education sector. There is low employability of engineering graduates including those from prestigious institutes. There is a trend that most of the engineering graduates are being placed in the banking sector. Reasons are many: Lack of job opportunities in engineering sectors, family members pressure to get a job, fear of remaining unemployed, lack of proper guidance, inability to clear GATE for PSU jobs, colleges can’t provide adequate placement opportunity and sometimes personal interest .

An engineering graduate’s dream is to get a job which matched with his/her degree in a multinational company, PSU or in other organisation. But  the opportunities are declining. Many of them end up as drivers. This makes the current engineering aspirants to think that being an engineer is worthless and holding an engineering degree is a loss of credibility. So it is high time to address this issue.

Current scenario

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has cut down 1.64 lakh engineering seats nationwide in both undergraduate and post-graduate courses. The root cause of this problem is mushrooming low quality engineering colleges over the years. The major cause is the ease with which state governments grant permission to little-known barely-trained educational trusts and organisations to set up the same. Among this some colleges were not able to fulfil 30 per cent admissions in the last five years. Some colleges are not maintaining proper infrastructure and some colleges wanted to reduce seats or to shut down. There are 10,396 engineering  institutes in India approved by AICTE.  Out of this, only 5 per cent are imparting quality education. The rest are a factory producing unemployable engineers every year. As per data compiled by AICTE, 226 colleges want to shut down.

During 2008-2009, engineering courses were in high demand. There was an increase of 30 per cent in admissions to engineering courses compared to previous years. In order to accomplish the demand more than 700 new colleges were approved. In 2014-15 academic year, the total number of engineering seats was 19.01 lakh but later it came down from 15.87 lakh last year to 14.66 lakh this year, a total fall of 4.35 lakh. This happened because of the  less demand and more supply. But more than that the actual reason is declining quality.

There are 10,396 engineering  institutes in India approved by AICTE.  Out of this, only 5 per cent are imparting quality education. The rest are a factory producing unemployable engineers every year.

A recent study found that Russian and Chinese engineering students were better than students in India.  Indian students make substantial gains in mathematics and critical thinking skills in the first two years of their education compared to the students in Russia and China. But their overall high order thinking skills are substantially lower than the Russians and Chinese. It is apparent from the study that Indian students are not unable to think high. It’s the lack of quality education that stunts their academic growth.

What will happen when such a populous youth do not get jobs? Experts say that this may cause severe unsteadiness in the economic and social conditions in the country, along with disappointment and dissatisfaction. The Government needs to take adequate measures for the improvisation of engineering education. Otherwise India would miss the opportunity to make best use of its demographic advantage.


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