In mid 90s, being an engineer was seen as one of the top ranked professional. Till a decade ago, engineering pass out would easily get high profile job and there was high demand of engineers in all fields like constructions, power, automobile, electronics, IT & manufacture. Engineers used to proudly prefix Er. To their names as doctors write Dr. But now being an engineer has lost its grace as there a millions of jobless engineering students all over the country. Latest official data released by government further reinforces this fact.
Engineering education in the country seems to have reached a saturation point with around 54% of undergraduate and postgraduate seats in private engineering colleges across the country, or 8.67 lakh seats of 16.07 lakh seats, not finding takers in 2016-17.
For the academic year of 2017-18, these institutions took back around 96,000 seats. The number of private engineering colleges were also fewer by 83. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) chairman D Sahasrabuddhe had, in April, said that 275 engineering colleges in the country had applied for closure.
In comparison, only 28% of seats (41,551) in government engineering colleges went vacant in 2016-17. In the current year, 6,151 seats were added in government colleges whose total went up from 411 to 429, the data said. The maximum percentage of vacant seats in private college reported as follows –
- Himachal Pradesh (83%),
- Uttarakhand (74.23%),
- Haryana (73.32%),
- Rajasthan (69.68 %) and
- Uttar Pradesh (67.33%).
In absolute terms, Tamil Nadu topped the list with 1.55 lakh seats going empty followed by Andhra Pradesh (99,286), Telangana (87,454) and Maharashtra (78,468).
Such steep drop in demand of engineering courses in colleges raise various concerns for people & industries associated with it. If the reasons behind unpopularity of engineering are deeply analysed, there would certainly be some points in the analyst’s mind –
- Has demand of engineers declined as compared to previous years?
- Is mushrooming of private engineering colleges key reason behind it?
- Has quality of engineering courses declined to such extent that engineering pass outs are unfit for jobs?
After deep analysis, it is true that due to global recession and worldwide economic slowdown, the job demand of engineers is steady but there is no decline at all. Reason behind why school pass outs are not interested in engineering is poor placement record of majority of the engineering colleges. In early 2000s, when engineering seats were rapidly filled within days of admissions were opened, private colleges and universities increased the seats and started some more engineering streams by clubbing two streams like B Tech Electronics & Electricals, B Tech Electronics & IT etc. Colleges filled all seats and students expected placement with reputed company which did not happen. Resulting, hundreds of students remained unplaced despite having engineering degrees with them. With colleges focusing on filling the seats of all engineering streams, the quality of education started degraded. The engineering seat in a college, which was earlier attainable after stiff & tough competition, was now easily available for those who even didn’t know ‘E’ of engineering.
The discouraged & jobless pass outs further discourage other engineering aspirants to not to opt for engineering. The figures too support their logic behind not to choose engineering as it costs eight to ten lakh to complete engineering including course fee, hostel, transport & other charges. After investing four years of life and nearly ten lakh rupees, being jobless is not at all accepted to any student.
This is an eye opener for those who aspire to become an engineer. Through this post I do not intend to discourage them but share the reality so that they could prepare themselves to choose best option if they persist to be an engineer. Only college studies & university syllabus would not be sufficient for them to become an engineer but focus on skills development, technical as well as soft skills, will further enhance the possibility of becoming a successful engineer, not that of just an engineering degree holder.