India Produces 1.5 Million Engineers A Year. Why Are Most Of Them Unemployed?

Posted by ALOK CHOUDHARY in Education, Society
September 1, 2017

In India, engineering as a career has attracted a lot of students in a big way and a large number of aspirants taking engineering exams are a testimony to this fact. The youth in India dream of themselves as engineers earning a decent package.

Every year, lakhs of students appear in the entrance examination for institutions like the IIT but only a few of them manage to clear the exam. Those students who are unable to fulfil their dream of becoming an IITian – either they start preparing for the second time or they knock on the doors of the private colleges. But after dedicating crucial time from their lives, do they really become skilled engineers or are their engineering skills limited to their certificates?

These questions arise today because of the shocking results of the survey carried out by Aspiring Minds which revealed that only 7% engineering graduates in India are employed. What’s wrong with India’s engineers? According to this same report, only 3% of engineers in India have the suitable skills required to get a job in core sectors of engineering. Around 1.5 million engineers in India are released every year from various colleges but most of them simply do not have the skills required to be employed.

But what can be the relevant reasons behind this? No doubt the report clearly indicates the lack of required skills which the market expects from these graduates. The tier -3 colleges are making the scenario worse. Let us understand the basis for categorising the colleges.

  • Tier 1: It includes the top central colleges like the IITs and NITs.
  • Tier 2: It includes the top ranked private institutions and all other state sponsored government colleges, such as BITS, SRM, etc.
  • Tier 3: It includes all those remaining colleges which are private institutions but are not categorised specifically.

Here, it is significantly important to focus this analysis on tier-2 and tier-3 colleges because their presence across the country is in large numbers as compared to Tier 1 colleges. India gets most engineering graduates from these colleges.

The equation of less demand and more supply can be one of the reasons behind poor employability but more than this, the actual reason is demand versus quality. Yes, in the past few years, the number of engineering colleges have sprung up like never before. This has resulted in more supply but despite this, the quality of education remains poor making it difficult for graduates to grab a suitable job.

In India, a student is often considered to make three mistakes in their life. First, they are very good at studies. Second, they are good in mathematics. Third, after making the first two mistakes, they choose engineering as the only option.

There are certain students who are really interested in engineering but there are others too who unwillingly make it their passion. This results in a lack of interest in learning new skills in this field. Some even choose this career to make them a credible player in the ‘shaadi market; of India, so that they can get a hefty amount of dowry during their weddings. Although we must not see all through the same lens because, in India, people are good at turning their profession into their passion.

But blaming only the students who don’t possess the required skills will not be fair because responsibility always works with accountability and along with responsibility, accountability also needs to be fixed. By this, I mean the accountability of colleges and the education system in India. If the market demands practical skills from a graduate, then why are engineering colleges still focusing more on theory rather than practicality?

The field of engineering is considered as job-oriented, meaning anyone who studies in this field is directly placed in various companies after course completion. But today, if somehow a graduate is placed in a company, the company needs to teach them skills in their training period because they did not acquire the necessary skills during college.

The current education is accountable for this outcome because of their flaw in designing the curriculum for this course. Today, students in engineering are compelled to study subjects which are of no use in the industry. There is a lack of an option for open electives which would allow students to pursue subjects that interest them.

Earlier, the quality of engineering students was good because there were only a few colleges offering this course and that too only if you were eligible. But with time, the number of engineering colleges increased rapidly, introducing the concept of tier 2 and tier 3 colleges. It also became a platform to earn money by assuring aspirants better jobs for them but slowly, such assurances stopped paying off. The graph below shows how the number engineering colleges have increased.

Perhaps the expansion of engineering college would not have been a problem in India if they were consistent in quality. But the main problem lies in the fact that they are becoming the hub of unqualified engineers.

The AICTE gave approval to these private colleges once and after they forget to monitor the standards of these institutes, these institutes become commercialised. In most of the engineering colleges (excluding IIT and NIT), one can easily observe more focus on securing marks and simply to pass semester exams rather than innovation. The current structure measures quality only on the basis of securing good marks and how much a person is able to memorise things very well. If memorisation is a talent, then a parrot is also having a sharp mind.

Courses should be designed in such a way that there is more focus on practicals and less on theory. Giving away rewards on the basis of memorising things should not be encouraged. Instead, marks should be awarded for having better concepts. With every single passing day, technology is changing but the syllabus still deals with old technology which nowadays is of no use, so a major reform is needed in the current educational curriculum.

The current state of the education system in engineering is about selling certificates, not quality. That is the reason most engineers cannot even find a proper job for themselves and some are even bound to switch to other sectors. Some become Uber and Ola drivers in big cities like Bangalore and Delhi.

You cannot run a vehicle without fuel and the same applies for engineering. Only certification is not enough. Along with certification, qualifications are also required. The private institutions also need to appoint quality teachers who do not simply narrate from textbooks and urge students to write the same.

The criteria of 75% attendance, prevalent in some colleges, needs to be scrapped. Because forcing someone to watch a movie without knowing the language of the movie seems boring. Instead, students should be allowed to innovate new ideas in their own time.

It is very unfortunate that the USA imports most of the engineers from India when our own country is facing the crisis of quality and skills. Today, the market is looking for qualification along with certification. So, it becomes important for engineering institutions (especially private institutions) to create quality engineers instead of just giving away certificates.

Normally, a country should be proud to have so many fresh graduate engineers but considering the truth behind this, it is quite shameful that we keep producing engineers who are unfit for employment.

Youth Ki Awaaz is an open platform where anybody can publish. This post does not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions.