Despite Being the Best, What is Holding IITs Back?
The phenomenal development in the Indian Education sector has led to an exceptional rising in career options for students from all walks of life. However, engineering seems to be the hottest choice for both parents and students even today. Shedding some light on the popularity of this trend, R.K. Shevgaonkar, director, IIT Delhi, said, “For some unexplained reasons, our society believes that an engineering degree promises a sustained well-being.”
The statement made by Shevgaonkar holds truth and is agreed by many other prominent personalities from IITs.
“An engineering qualification seems to have become a basic degree, post which, students aspire to pursue management and find ways to get better paying jobs,” said Ramgopal Rao, institute chair professor, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT-Bombay.
According to a study, there are over 3.5 million engineering aspirants who vie for engineering seats every year in various engineering institutions spread across the country. However, only a few of them crack the entrance examination.
Highlighting the disparity in the ratio, Shevgaonkar informed, “A couple of decades ago only a fraction of bright students took up the stream. This was probably the reason for ‘quality engineers’ that emerged from our institutions in the past. Later, as the popularity of the stream increased, and as the national governing body on technical education (AICTE) continued to give approval to more and more colleges, the number of institutes across the length and breadth of the country swelled. While students got an array of options to choose from, the quality of education plummeted.”
Although the quality of engineering education has gone downhill in the past few years, its glamor quotient is increasing with each passing day. “Engineering is a well-paying sector. Besides, most of our economies today are based on and bound by technology. Having a skilled technocrat is therefore the key,” Hari Vasudevan, principal, DJ Sanghvi School of Engineering, said.
Despite several studies suggesting concerns over the high rate of unemployment among Indian engineers, an engineering degree is interestingly the most sought-after.
“While a fresh engineer may command a salary of say Rs50 K per month, a fresher from any other field will earn half of that,” Shevgaonkar said.
So what is really the reason behind thousands of fresh engineers pilling up on each other to get their dream job? Can increased supply over Demand be the reason? Nope. They say the quality of our engineers is still the best. There is no dearth of intelligence and aptitude in them. However, they lack focus.
Many academicians believe that an engineering degree for a student is the passport to work and study abroad.“Many students come up with a set goal. They want a BE qualification mainly to earn a good foreign degree- MS or MBA- and then hopefully a good job with an MNC,” Vasudevan highlights.
On the contrary, academicians don’t deny the seriousness of vacant seats and unemployed engineering graduates in India.
“Apart from internal and external exams, students can be allocated a project not just for the overall course, but for each specific subject to gauge their passion towards the stream,” KN Balasubramanya Murthy, vice-chancellor, PES University, said.
Experts believe that the college environment can help a student acquire academic qualities, but to acquire skills any student must work hard. Colleges must make soft skills mandatory for students from first year.“Besides the regular four-year engineering programme, colleges should also offer certification courses like Catia, Ansys and Nastran, which will be a great value-add for an employer,” Varun Melanta, dean, MVJ College, Bangalore, notifies.
Considering this scenario and other discussions aforementioned, what should we expect a student to do? Should they stop dreaming big? Should they stop following their wild dreams and take no risk whatsoever? No. There is no way they should do that.
Experts believe that students in this situation must resort to entrepreneurship and start-ups as options. In fact, research based career options in India are fast developing now. Experts are advising young students to aim for becoming young wealth generators than becoming young wealth managers.
This post was published by Nishant Sinha, co-founder of askIITians.