Engineering - a professional degree or time waste

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

From India’s Ministry of Human Resources Development now renamed as Education ministry, we have its annual Education Statistics at a Glance report for 2014,which says,3.12m students enrolled in Engineering (across 4 years). Annual intake (divided by 4, since Engineering is a 4-yr degree)= 0.78m.Clearly we need to exclude dropouts and failures etc. Now, this is not easy data to get. Hence let us look at ‘anecdata’ such as this report from The Times of India which says that just over half of enrolled students graduate on time, and about 10% never pass-out.

Thus we can say that about 0.7m or 7 lacs graduate out of Indian Engineering Colleges every year.

India has total 4282 Engineering and Technology Institutions in which around 3.12 million students are enrolled. Every year on an average 0.7 million students get their degree in engineering, but due to lack of skill required to perform technical jobs less than 20 percent get employment in their core domain.

To conclude, India does possibly produce the largest number of ‘engineers’ every year at ~700,000, but only about 10% or so (~10K from IITs, ~15K from NITs and a few of the other govt and private college grads) are comparable to the engineers who graduate from the west.

From above data we can easily, conclude, Engineering - a professional degree or time waste degree.

Lets try to understand the reason behind this,

In India most unemployed engineers are unemployed not because of lack of jobs in market .Engineers are in great demand than others, the reason is they are not employable due to the lack of practical knowledge. If we consider other professional courses like Medical Sciences, Law, Chartered Accountant; they complete duration of internship or apprenticeship before they are professionally enrolled. We have never tried to implement this kind of rigorous skill-based training to our engineering graduates. The one-month vocational training before the start of the final year is just to fulfill a part of the curriculum without fulfilling the skill development. So to ensure that the crisis of joblessness is solved steadily we need to take some hard decision.

An engineering student in college workshop

The B.Tech. Project which students do in their last six months (8th semester) needs to be scrapped. Instead, they should work in an industry as an apprentice and their final grading will be given by the industry following some fixed guidelines. To implement this kind of training, both the technical institutes and the industries need to work hand-in-hand. The college has to identify all the industries nearby and the specific training they can provide to the students. Based on that the students can choose their industry and training area. If effectively implemented, it will help all the three stakeholders: the academic institutes, the tie-up industries, and the graduating engineers. Now the institute need not to bother about student’s placement and focus more on education delivery process. On the other hand, the industry will able to use a technically sound student to do their project at a minimal cost. And the students earn a particular skill set along with their degree which will guarantee them a job in their core domain. A proper workout in this direction will definitely help us to solve the mystery of poor employability of Engineering graduates.

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