By the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
There is a joke that’s quiet famous among engineering graduates in India, Civil engineers work hard studying about stresses, material strength, structural mechanics and surveying and whole lot of other subjects only to become a software developers in IT sector.
I work in the IT field because my field of study had more or less semblance to it, but in my day job I have worked with graduates from streams such as Nuclear Physics, Chemistry, Mechanical engineering and Culinary Sciences. These people were in the IT sector not because they don’t like their field of study or IT had some special calling for them but simply because there wasn’t any other option. There aren’t many booming civil, electrical, mechanical and production industries around here in India to absorb graduates in their respective fields. So giving hints that some how engineering graduates are at fault that 94% of them are unemployable is little too hypocritical of those politicians, industrialists and government officials. If one student fails, it’s the student to blame but if the whole school fails then there is something wrong with the education. And when 94% of graduates doesn’t have any employable skills than its more than education that is wrong here.
There are very political and disturbing reasons behind this abysmal statistic. Most of the private engineering institutions belong to MPs, MLAs and people with deep pockets and strong connections, their sole intension is to set up degree mills and rake in as much money as they can before the bubble burst. They don’t want the decade’s old curriculum updated that focuses on rote rather than practical learning because for doing practicals you need labs, equipment, expert technicians who can teach and regular synchronization of curriculum according to latest technological changes. All this cost money which private college owners don’t want to spend. Also don’t forget to factor in bureaucracy that moves slower than a turtle, lack of awareness of career options among parents and students, social and parental pressure, and lack of vision in leadership. I am not saying that changes are not happening but making internship experience mandatory is not going to dent the problem. Just like those degrees, internships certificates can be arranged too.
If we look at the manufacturing sector, it doesn’t come out as a savior in job creation. Why would a company want to set up manufacturing in India when it can set up infrastructure in other countries with friendly policies and less bureaucratic wrangling. Just look at startup India scheme, the babus have ensured that PM Modi’s vision doesn’t get a start.
So, we end up with a service sector that exists to service every whim of the client. I am not telling you anything new but if you want to make your son or grandson an engineer than I think you ought to be worried and worrying about something is the first step towards remediation.
It’s not that Indian engineers are sub par, we have very talented youth potential that we squander in meaningless tests and rat race that stifles one’s dreams and development. We have to address this problem if we have any intention of becoming a world power.