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In September 2017, All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) ordered to shut down 800 engineering colleges. The basis for the selection was the low enrolment of students, i.e., less than 35% for the last 5 years and infrastructure not up to the standard. Basically, it’s a part of their plan to reduce the total engineering seats in the country by 40% in the next 4 years.

The total seats in engineering colleges throughout the country, on the basis of acceptance of JEE Mains score, is 14,73,871. AICTE approved colleges are 10,396. The total number of candidates appeared in 2017 JEE Mains paper was 9.56 lakhs. So, we can see, the total number of seats are more than enough to accommodate every engineering aspirant in the country, irrespective of their scores.

Employability Percentage of sub-categories of Design Engineer Roles. Source: National Employability Report 2016, Aspiring Minds

According to the article written by Dr. Anil K. Rajvanshi in Navhind-times, the total employable engineers in the country are only 7-8%. National Employability Report 2016 by Aspiring Minds state the pathetic condition of engineers in India. The survey was conducted in 650+ colleges and 150,000 students took part in the survey throughout the country. The key findings were that the employability had remained stagnant for last 4 years. Only 3.84% were found to be employable for startup software engineering jobs. For chemical design engineering jobs, only 1.64% were found to be employable. National Programming Skills Report by Aspiring Minds concludes that only 36% engineers were able to write compilable codes. As low as 2.21% engineers possess the skill to write a fully functional code with best efficiency and writing practices.

Due to un-employability, a large gap between ‘engineers’ and ‘degree holders’ has been created.  Most of the engineering graduates go for non-technical jobs like Banking, Management, Sales, Administration, etc. Only few are able to get into the engineering industry. As the curriculum seems that of stone-age, the companies have to invest in engineers training which increases their products’ cost. Most of the companies don’t even take the risk and do not hire the freshers.

The prima-facie reason of this dismal condition is the questionable interest of the student. Students are aspirants but not interested for engineering. Most of them are forced by their parents to take up this profession. Those who get into the colleges, are loaded with ‘copy-paste’ assignments. Most of the colleges do not have an updated lab. And many don’t even have one! The curriculum is outdated. The teachers, in many engineering colleges, are not up to date with the technology. Even if they are, the curriculum hypnotises them to teach the technology which was prominent 40-50 years ago. This make the student lack the pragmatism edge as they are in a cloister with hardly any connection with the society.

The solution. The root of the problem is deep. The first step is to make people aware that engineering is not the only job in the world. Students should be encouraged and trained to pursuit their interests (Both actions should be simultaneous). There should be an aptitude test which would decide the branch, instead of ranking based system. Curriculum should be dynamic and should be prepared with the help of people who are in industry currently. Fellowships and Scholarships should be increased in order to encourage best and interested talents to take up R&D as a career. Good research would lead to better teaching as research and teaching goes hand in hand. At last, we as nation should focus on quality not quantity as the talent in wrong field is nothing but talent wastage.

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