This refers to the article by Vinod Mathew titled “Re – engineering Engineering Degree” published in “The New Indian Express” Chennai Edition 8/5/2014. The article says that around 1.5 Lakh students graduate from 3300 engineering colleges of India every year and most of them are unemployable or not employable. The seats available in Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra/ Uttar Pradesh are 3.4, 2.3 and 1.4 lakhs respectively. Vinod’s is that some of these colleges with poor facilities and commercial interests be closed.
True many of these private engineering colleges were started by those with black money to earn more black money! These private colleges provided opportunity to all to fulfill the dream of studying/ becoming engineers. The dropout rate is also high. This has resulted into lack of students for B. Sc degree in science and many seats of M. Sc go unfilled. I understand that there are less nuclear scientists to day and jobs are vacant! Once upon a time getting a seat in M. Sc in nuclear physics of Andhra University was an uphill task and now it is not. On the one hand we have excess graduate engineers and on the other hand few to pursue fundamental sciences.
Thanks to Information Technology (IT) which is absorbing many graduate engineers irrespective of the branch of engineering as IT needs graduates in engineering or science. Also many engineers from high profile Indian Institute of Technologies go for management courses or for Indian Administrative Services there by taking up non engineering professions. How many IIT engineering graduates are successful as shop floor engineers? On the other hand engineers from low profile private engineering colleges are doing well both in India and abroad!
The point is that nobody can become an Engineer by merely getting a degree in engineering. A graduate engineer becomes an engineer only by practicing the branch in which he graduated! Or otherwise a degree in engineering is as good as a degree in science, nothing more nothing less.
One immediate solution is allowing unemployable/ graduate engineers, is to take up Post Graduate (PG) courses in Science. In UK PG courses both in engineering and sciences are designed for one year only where as in India they are two year courses. One year PG courses save the time/money of the students and money for the Institutions/ Government.
Instead of closing low profile engineering colleges they must be given a chance to upgrade and offer seats to foreign students. Engineering Education in some foreign countries is un-affordably costly. After all it takes lot of money to establish an engineering college even if with black money!
University – Industry Coordination
Mineral processing industries absorb graduate engineers to run their plants. Mineral processing is an interdisciplinary course involving chemical/metallurgical engineering and geology. Many mineral processing industries are suffering due to lack of engineers adequately qualified mineral process engineers. We do have institutes that offer Mineral Process Engineering at PG level for example Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad and Andhra University, Waltair. These institutes do admit industry sponsored graduate engineers to the PG courses. Unfortunately industries are not taking advantage of this opportunity. M. Tech course in mineral Processing involves one year course during first year and one year project in the second year. Industry sponsored candidates can take up projects related to their industry which ultimately might solve some of the industry problems. Similarly RR Labs, Bhuvaneshwar is offering one year PG Diploma in Mineral Processing which is more suitable for industry sponsored candidates.
Human Resources Development
We often see HRD people filtering out candidates who did not get first class consistently at various stages. Fortunately marks obtained have nothing to do with probable performance of a graduate/ post graduate engineer at the shop floor. The way out is recruiting fresh engineers as apprentices with minimum stipend and test them. Training fresh engineers must be considered by the industry and the Government as a part of Corporate Social Responsibility. Recruiting in house trained engineers is after all in the interest of the industry.
Engineering graduates are applying of the posts of bus conductors! A huge waste of Human Resource. On the other side we also here that the country is running short of nuclear scientists! As discussed opening PG courses in science for engineering graduates is the only solution.