The state of Engineering Education in India

Originally posted by me on Medium:

India is a country with humongous youth population. The youth who hold immense potential eventually needs to contribute to the workforce of this huge economy. But, are they groomed to face the corporate world?

Let’s take the case of Engineering in India. More than 1.5 Million engineers churn out of the institutions spread across India. But, it’s a sad truth that almost 60% of our engineering graduates are not fit for employment. There are a lot of articles on “engineers-unemployment” which would give you the exact numbers to understand this pathetic situation. In this post, let me touch upon the various issues which I’ve personally faced (Yes, I’m an engineer too).

It all begins at school

Majority of the parents wants (or force) their children to either become an engineer or a doctor. Compared to medicine, a larger set of students choose Engineering. IIT’s, NIT’s are dream institutions for any 12th standard student. It requires a lot of preparation to get an engineering seat in these elite institutions. Apart from these, there are a lot of private engineering colleges in India.

Source: Pinterest

Throughout the process of passing the 12th examinations to getting an engineering seat, the student goes through high stress and serious confusions on what engineering major to choose.

I’m 23 and I still get confused whenever I need to choose between butterscotch ice cream and hot Gulab Jamuns! Poor kids.

The Engineering Education

Most of the Private engineering colleges are driven by strong revenue generating “business-models”. The students are taught and trained on a syllabus defined by an education board and the board ranks the students based on their CGPAs. The affiliated colleges are also ranked based on various metrics. The companies looking to hire students assess the colleges based on these rankings.

As my 12th exams score were low, I was enrolled in a decent private institution under the “Management Quota”. My parents had to pay a huge amount of money to get me a seat. Like most of the students at that time, I was not interested to pursue a major in engineering but the pressure imposed made me to.

College was literally high school without a uniform.

You need to feel like a painter to paint.
You need to feel like a singer to sing.
You need to feel like a designer to design.
And, you need to feel like an engineer to become one.

The 4 years

The free exchange of ideas, thought-provoking conversations, highly motivating talks, brainstorming were the need of the hour. On day 1, the first few words I heard were “You’re doomed forever if you don’t get a job 4 years from now”. And, I heard that more frequently in the upcoming months/years. It became completely a result oriented education. Cheap comparisons between the toppers and the failures easily brought down the morale of students. I was a failure and I went through those days too.

Most of us couldn’t bear the pressure imposed on us. I was a person who read a lot apart from studies, be it technology, business, arts, etc. And that gave me an overall view of the world, opened my eyes, and it was very clear that:

  1. We were studying an outdated syllabus.
  2. Engineering and technology can definitely be made fun and interesting.
  3. There were some amazing things to learn about apart from Engineering.
  4. Life was not about grades and ranks.

Learning an outdated syllabus meant that we were supposed to undertake a special technical training by the company to work on an actual job after spending Thousands of Dollars on a Technical Under Graduate course.

Halfway through the course, many of us lost the momentum. To get a mere pass mark was the target. Everything started looking pointless for few of us. The ambitious ones and bookworms thrived to become super successful engineers with fat paycheques.

The Placements

Most of the engineering institutes market themselves by using their industry jargon: “100% placements guaranteed.” Maybe, this would have worked in the past. But, as the technologies change and markets get competitive, the companies won’t prefer to waste 6–10 months on a training plan in order to deploy the freshers for a job. In the due course of time, there may come a situation where only the highly skilled are preferred.

If we take the company list of the colleges where 100% placements happen(ed), I bet that 75%-80% of them would have got one or more offers in an Information Technology or a BPO company. That includes the non-circuit branches such as the mechanical engineering, production engineering, civil engineering, etc. Why does this happen?

  1. There is no job offers to cater the volume of engineers getting churned out from each domain.
  2. The students are not qualified enough to clear the interviews (which again goes back to the standard and system of education).

The overflow of freshers in the IT service companies makes them stay on a wait list to get a project. The ones who poorly perform are chucked out within few months. The ones who cannot bear the stress leave their jobs.

And there are lakhs of graduates who are still searching for a job. Not “a” job but, “any” job.

Source: The Economic Times

Only very few of the B.E. or B.Tech graduates work in the domain they majored in. The society does not respect a jobless graduate. They get humiliated and depressed. Even an optimist who strives to get a job often feels down. They go through a trauma which is hard to explain in words. It’s true and I’m not exaggerating.

The Conclusion

Dents are present throughout the journey of an engineering student irrespective of whether he is passionate or not, whether he fails or passes. A highly skilled, hardcore engineer does not have a job because of very low opportunities. Problems may lay on both sides. But, when we see the numbers, it’s very clear that there’s a serious problem with the education system in India. The youth are really “used-less.”

Engineering Education and the system needs to be revolutionized to be on par with leading technologies and markets. The students should be trained to face the corporate world and not to secure a 9.5 CGPA.

And, Indian parents, aunties, uncles, grandmas, and grandpas must surely stop stuffing their children with the thought of “Only engineering is going to get you three-time meal a day.”

Oh, wait! engineers are also the ones who deliver the meals at your doorstep today (or) drop you at your ‘location’ in a cab.

That’s the state of our graduates today.

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