Engineering once used to be a field that was deemed as a prestigious career option and the institutes offering it were held in high regard. But gone are the days when getting an engineering degree was tough, prestigious and only limited to a selected few. With the advent of a plethora of private institutes, along with their admission policies (legal and illegal), I think I won’t be wrong when I say, almost anyone can become an engineer today.
Today, the sad reality is that by the time most engineering students are done with their second or third year of college, most of them feel that they made a mistake by choosing to become an engineer. This is not usually because they made the wrong career choice without thinking, but because of the way engineering courses and colleges have evolved in India. As for private colleges and universities, most of them can be found compromising on academics and infrastructure for their benefit and focusing only on the profitable aspects (frequent fee hikes, granting admission by accepting donations, etc.) of owning or running universities.
Galgotias University is one such private institute in Greater Noida which, on-paper, seems to be a really great place with an amazing campus with all the amenities and a flexible course system. But it is when one visits the campus that the actuality of the situation strikes home. If you ask the students – lousy management, poor infrastructure are common terms used to describe the place.
Students are supposed to pay the fee in advance before the starting of the year or else are liable to a hefty penalty. They have to pay up to ₹ 2300 per subject, in case they don’t fulfil the per subject attendance criteria and are debarred from writing examinations. The number of students admitted is way more than what the infrastructure can support. The numbers are so high that the management has to assign different working days for different students and keep the institute open for the whole week in order to run classes (for example, if 2nd year students have classes from Tuesday to Saturday, then 3rd year students have classes from Wednesday to Sunday, and so on).
Despite the institute’s earnings, I have seen the maintenance staff protest for their salaries being held up for more than 2-3 months without any due notice or compensation. Students have also protested in the past about the unfair debarred classes, fee deadlines and penalties but to no use. Students complain about no interaction with the seniors, about the classes limiting their capabilities instead of enhancing them, the lack of industry exposure, and the largely irrelevant course structure but to no use.
This situation is not limited to just Galgotias. In fact, it is one of the many engineer-producing factories in NCR and is considered one of the best in the area for the same. There are colleges which are running with a lot less, and one can easily imagine what the scenario might be there.
The memes and parodies about engineers studying just on the last day before the exam or going unprepared, about attendance being more important than everything else in life, about civil and mechanical engineers being social outcasts and weirdos, about the countless number of pointless assignments and quizzes, about placements and donations that we see on social media platforms these days might be humorous, but they actually reflect the kind of ambience and the quality of education that has plagued engineering colleges in the country lately. They reflect how simply choosing to be an engineer in India leads to an academic life comprised of attendance worries, non-productive class environment, outdated curriculum and an overall profit-driven education system.
Engineers now are taught to follow the usual track and learn cliché lines so that they can get hired in firms, but they are rarely taught to be the innovators. No wonder graduates today feel that annexing an engineering degree from an average college would land them in no more than a regular sized, dead end, low-salaried job. Or, at times, not even that.
Note: We contacted Galgotias University for a comment on the above realities and have received no response. This post will be updated once we receive a response.