Engineers' Day is celebrated every year throughout the country on September 15th to commemorate the birthday of Bharat Ratna Sir M Visvesvaraya. Let us see where engineering education of our country stands after 60 years of independence.
A serious problem is staring India's higher education in the face. Its about the misalignment between education and employment.
We proudly claim to have the largest pool of engineers. This is the resource which forms the backbone of India's rapidly growing IT industry along with the other sectors. But, India's HUGE pool of young graduates actually have fewer number of suitable candidates employable by MNCs and their off shoring arms. Infact, only 25% of India's engineering graduates are considered employable material by MNCs. The quality of education in India varies widely and while IITs and NITs are world class,other engineering colleges are nowhere close. Many factors contribute to malaise : outdated curriculum, obsolete equipments, teachers who don't update their knowledge base, management that lacks commitment to academic excellence, rote learning, exam oriented teaching, lack of activity-based learning through team effort and lack of practical training.
The biggest failure of our University system is that students are not taught "soft skills"- the competence to discuss, analyse, innovate and communicate.The findings of the committee set up by University of Mumbai found 42 affiliated engineering colleges falling way below the standards set by AICTE, and it even included reasonably well known colleges such as Rizvi College and KJ Somaiya, Sion.
Below are the few measures from a student's perspective which can make him a better graduate:-
- Opportunities for students to do short term or certificate courses along with the degree courses. These courses should be linked to areas in which employment opportunities are opening.
- A common curriculum and syllabus throughout the country along the guidelines of the IITs.
- Emphasis on practical training rather than theoretical.
- A semester dedicated for Industrial training and honing technical skills under the guidance of the experts, which is absent in many major universities & colleges.
- Since the university system is not making the graduates compatible, many companies have to spend substantial resources to train fresh recruits. An "Industry based" syllabi is the need of the hour to produce "Industry ready Engineers".
The government currently spends only 0.1% of GDP on technical Education, which is a very miniscule number.
In India most of the top Engineering graduates emigrate.
This apart, only 4% of India's graduates are engineers whereas this figure is as high as 20% in Germany and 30% in China. Therefore, as recommended by Moily Oversight Committee, new IITs and NITs should be setup every year all over the country, in order to counter the shortage of quality engineers.
NASSCOM estimates shortfall of about 5 lakh employable graduates by 2010. Hence, it is important to ensure steady supply of young graduates so that India does not lose the advantage of having a large population.
India has a long way to go, both in terms of quality and quantity in higher education. An urgent reform in education has become a necessity. Since our Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh himself has once served as the chairman of UGC, we hope he will push for the reforms in the education system which will propel us in achieving the status of a developed nation.
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