The brightest of minds are now looking towards humanities and the youth are ready to chase their dreams by following their heart.
The crème de la crème across the country are now opting for the three-year degree course. If the rush at the colleges that offer humanitiesand sciences is any indication. It is well known how bright students queue up for admissions in leading degree colleges in New Delhi like St. Stephen’s College, Lady Shri Ram College, Miranda House, Hindu College, Shri Ram College of Commerce etc. and at times even students with over 90 percentage of marks at plus two level fail to make it to the cut-off list. Now this sort of rush is being seen even for reputed degree colleges in various states.
Except for the top technological institutes like IITs, NITs, IIITs and best engineering colleges in states, admissions are dipping.
As per figures from AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education), the regulatory authority for technical institutes in the country, 151 engineering colleges have sought complete closure this year while 130 engineering colleges have not applied for approval due to no admissions in 2017-18 academic year.
With young aspirants looking for alternative study options, the intake in undergraduate engineering is witnessing a gradual fall year after year. The intake in 2017-18 was 14.9 lakh seats all over the country as against 16.62 lakh seats in the previous academic year.
While the engineering education is fast losing its sheen, the scenario in conventional degree is entirely the opposite. With revised and fresh courses and updated syllabuses, degree colleges are witnessing a heavy rush of students.
Dr Karunakaran, principal and secretary of Shri Ramakrishna College of Arts and Sciences, Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) has seen best of both worlds having worked in both engineering and degree colleges in his distinguished teaching career spanning nearly three decades.
He said there are couple of main reasons for dip in engineering admissions across the country.
“The first reason is mushrooming of engineering colleges across the country in the last 15 to 20 years meant lakhs of seats are on offer each year. With students’ preferences for mode of under-graduate study changing, it is no surprise seats are left vacant in colleges that are in second-rung and below categories. The other reason is slump in IT sector that impacted recruitments big time. Companies that used to recruit 200 to 400 students from a particular engineering college are now only selecting 20 to 40 students. The slowdown in IT sector has created a sense of fear in young aspirants and parents, which is why they are weighing all options before joining under-graduation in engineering,” Dr Karunakaran said.
Compare with this three-year degree study that offers multiple options for students after completion of their course-like pursuing post-graduation or to prepare for competitive exams or to get into any private job offering decent salary.
Dr Karunkaran said that degree students in Shri Ramakrishna College of Arts and Sciences, are taught value added or job oriented courses along with their curriculum and hence they are getting better employment opportunities. The average salary package for final year students in his college is Rs 2.5 lakh to 2.8 lakh per annum, he added.
Gone are the days when engineering promised you a great career and reputation. Today there are unemployed engineering graduates battling to find a decent job soon after completion of study. Besides, engineering is a fancy course that requires a big pocket if you are pursuing it from a private institute. And, the fee goes up to few lakhs for students enrolled under management quota in private engineering colleges, with big demand and higher fee for branches like Computer Science Engineering (CSE) and Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) while fee is comparatively lesser for branches like Mechanical and Civil Engineering.
As per McKinsey report, only one-fourth of the engineers in India are employable. An Aspiring Mind survey on employability says that 95 per cent of the engineers can’t code. Except for the premier engineering institutes, like IITs, NITs and IIITs, finding brighter talent and supply-demand model and hence the sorry state of affairs concerning engineering education in present times.
She attributed presence of big number of unemployed engineering graduates to limited avenues for them after completion of study. When it comes to students completing three-year degree, they have several options to choose for their future and also don’t get stuck waiting for the next opportunity as is the case with engineering graduates, she felt.
in big numbers is a rarity. Thousands of other colleges are producing millions of engineers, who are found wanting in core and communication skills and hence are becoming unemployable. To sum up, India trains nearly 1.2 million engineering students every year out of which only a very small fraction are getting jobs and making their families happy.
According to Dr R.W Alexander Jesudasan, Principal of Madras Christian College (MCC) Tamil Nadu, commercialisation of engineering education led to establishment of thousands of private colleges with lack of quality teaching staff and proper infrastructure, labs etc. and understandably graduates passing out of engineering colleges are found wanting on core subjects and communication skills. And, companies are not showing interest to recruit such candidates.
He said at MCC, which is considered as one of the best and oldest Arts and Sciences College in the country, they get 40,000 applications every year for the available 2200 seats in under-graduate courses in various streams. To put it simple, twenty students, from across the country, vie for one single seat in this prestigious college which goes to show how intense is the competition these days for admissions in conventional degree courses. Supremacy of engineering is falling as a number of new unconventional courses too are getting a boost.
The All India Council for Technological Education is concerned about the employability of the engineers and is making efforts to improve the quality of education in engineering colleges. India has thousands of engineering colleges but the quality of education and the infrastructure in these colleges is dismal.
AICTE has made stricter rules now. Engineering colleges that lack proper infrastructure and have less than 30 per cent admissions for five years in a row have to be closed mandatorily. This rule has led to the closure of around 150 engineering colleges every year voluntarily. The regulator had approved closure of over 410 colleges across India over the period of 2014–15 to 2017–18.
UGC member Sushma Yadav felt that authorities did not make proper assessment of the situation in the future
Former director of NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) V.S.Prasad said that professional education underwent a mammoth expansion, especially in South India during which time engineering colleges mushroomed like anything and all this was due to hype created about jobs requirement in the future.
“As a result quality of engineering education took a beating and it is being reflected in less job opportunities to students passing out of second-rung or third-rung engineering colleges, that are besotted with faculty, infrastructure problems mainly,” he opined.
Changed geo-political situation in countries like US has resulted in new hardships for students aspiring to do Masters study in the future. This factor is also at the back of mind of students and parents while choosing the fancied engineering degree or the conventional three-year degree, he felt.
Experts are also pointing out to government’s thrust on science education and research, in the last few years, by pumping in more funds for central universities and research institutions.
The conventional degree colleges act as feeders for Central universities in the sense that students graduating out of degree take up post-graduation in Physics, Maths, Chemistry etc. and Humanities and Social Sciences courses.
Increased opportunities at PG (post-graduation) level in various Central and State universities is also acting as an encouragement for young aspirants to choose a three-year degree course.
Nallamilli Sesha Reddy, former legislator and Chairman of Aditya Group that has several Colleges and Teacher Training Institutions in Andhra Pradesh with combined students strength of over 50,000 in 50 plus institutions.
“There are more number of engineering seats than students in most of the States and as a result getting an engineering admission has become a lot more easier than compared to two decades ago. However, a majority of students joining engineering are found to have poor IQ levels and less understanding of concepts. This shortcoming is exposed in main examinations with around sixty percentage of students failing to clear all subjects in first semester itself. Even if they are able to pass all subjects in four years with utmost difficulty, they have very few takers as far as jobs are concerned. The meritorious students are getting plenty of job offers but the situation is not the same for average students. Hence, campus placements in some of the engineering colleges are as low as 12 per cent in a year.
Tuition fees in engineering colleges are two to three times higher than fees charged in conventional degree colleges. This is also one of the factors playing in minds of parents. With three-year degree education offering plenty of options, parents are not hesitating to put their wards in degree colleges. In fact a lot of scoring students have got jobs in these campus placement drives.”
Chukka Ramaiah, former legislator and noted academician, who is well known for imparting the best IIT coaching to meritorious students selected after tough screening test “Engineering potential has come down now and there are many reasons. In 1990s and early 2000 there was big boom in IT industry and getting jobs was a lot easier. Now jobs have dried up. Even the good engineering graduates are finding it difficult to get a job after passing out of college. Also, the standard of teaching faculty has come down. Gone are the days when we had the best of teachers to impart lessons. It’s difficult to find good teachers for Mathematics subject these days.
The way out for this problem is to decrease the pressure on engineering education. Students should be tested about prior knowledge of engineering (like manufacturing sector, how companies and labs function and work etc), their reading habits and social outlook in the engineering test. Nearly 50 marks could be allotted for such questions that are out of their general exam syllabus. This would ensure students, who have a understanding of the course, would join engineering ensuring smooth transition and good academic performance.
In countries like US and across the world, the craze has increased for humanities and courses like Economics, Psychology, and Languages etc. without just confining to engineering study at the under-graduate level.”