Current Issues with Engineering Education

March 4, 2019

Of late, headlines in newspapers shout out that our engineering graduates do not have adequate skills to be employed. Experts say that unemployment due to this may cause serious instability in the economic and social conditions in the country, along with wide scale dissatisfaction and disillusionment.

Engineering graduates’ employability depends on their ability to apply the concepts learnt to develop continuously innovative things and find solutions to complex problems. In a difficult economic scenario, companies do not want to spend much on training and would prefer candidates with some skill sets who are productive from day one. Also the level of job readiness of engineering graduates varies across different tier cities which denies them job opportunities even if they are equally qualified and skilled. But the major issue lies with mastery in English language along with issues in computer programming making these students ineligible for employment. The difference in English and cognitive skill ability may only be a function of the input quality of the students.

Current issues with engineering education which creates a gap between industry and academia:

Faulty education system comprising of semester systems and the process of continuous evaluation which have failed in fulfilling their desired roles as the students are not interested in continuous learning. Unless the specific purpose of such initiatives is properly understood by faculty and students alike, these methods likely would not work.

Ease of permission from approving bodies and governments has caused mushrooming of engineering colleges managed by little-known barely-trained educational trusts and organisations lacking in quality and credibility.

Changes in science and technology round the world with tremendous speed have not matched with the speed of Syllabus updating. Syllabus not updated regularly in areas which will actually help in the job industry after education. There is a big gap between what the industry per se requires and what engineering education equips its future employees with.

Lack of quality teachers in the ever growing number of engineering educational institutes as engineering graduates left out of the recruitment race go on to join as faculty at engineering institutes. The engineering faculty is not comprised of the very best of the industrythat have the skills to create brilliant students as the faculty salaries are not so attractive nor is the career growth.

Lack of innovation and research among students as they are not given the space and scope to think and innovate, to question and come up with solutions. Such are Indian students trained right from their primary education level that they are unable to make the shift from un-questioning learners to innovators in the job market.

Lack of skill-based education in engineering which deprives students of having hands-on training on the basis of the problems they are likely to encounter in the real world. Fresh engineering graduates face problems due to their insufficient understanding of basic concepts, technical information, lack of client-handling skills and insufficient knowledge across interdisciplinary domains

Companies give Importance to college name and visit only top colleges to recruit potential employees. Thus creating a lack in equal opportunities and also causes a deficiency of quality employees as this process ignores a huge number of meritorious students who do not study in top tier colleges.

The comparatively higher employment in the IT sector, students even from other disciplines take up IT-related courses. Thus, the end result of this inadequate education creates engineering graduates who are not well-versed in their core subjects or in IT.

Lack of proper English communicative skills, essential soft skills and low analytical and quantitative skills, among engineering graduates attributes to be other main reason for unemployment. The lack of ability of the individual to deliver his views effectively by even the most brilliant candidate affects negatively towards client-handling and team communication skills.

By Dr R G D’souza
Dr R G D’souza BE(Civil), MTech(Struct), PhD(Civil Engg) is the principal of Yenepoya Institute of Technology, Moodbidri.
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Comment on this article

  • wren de souza, GOA

    Fri, Sep 13 2019

    Dr. .......

    Skill is the ultimate Tool ...........
    To be worked on this ..........

    Good article


  • cyril mathias, udupi

    Wed, Mar 06 2019

    Dear Dr Rajesh,one can not disagree with you.A mere degree in engineering will fetch no job.One must be fluent in communicative skills and innovative.The poor quality of teachers is another aspect,.Those with Mtech degree without jobs ,land up to be teachers in Engineering colleges.Only the outstanding students make a mark.

  • Vincent D'sa, Dubai,Shankerpura.

    Tue, Mar 05 2019

    The primary need is to develop curiosity among our student community. It is dead. We can find only a 10% of students who are genuinely interested in engineering, rest don’t even know why they are there, may be just for the purpose of having the title. We need to introduce practicals and handling of equipment’s from Grade 1 itself supporting the theory they read. I visited a UK based school in Dubai and stunned to see the type of equipment’s the young students handle. This is why we aren't able to compete with Europeans innovative skills and adventurous approach to life. Nice and awakening article.

  • Anthony Dsouza, Madanthyar/Bahrain

    Tue, Mar 05 2019

    The writer has shed light on the reality of engineering education in India.

    Recently, when there was a vacancy for the sweeper position in Tamilnadu assembly secretariat, more than thousand engineering graduates applied for it. This is an enough indication of the pathetic situation of the education system in India.

    As an English language trainer, I had represented an engineering college in the 'Campus Connect' program held at Infosys campus Bangalore. A resource person from Infosys highlighted the issue of employability of fresh graduates and elicited the views, reasons from the participants. A senior engineering faculty in the audience replied " we as academia, produce rice. whether you as an industry intend to prepare pulav or biriyani it is upto you!".

    Well, although there is a grain of truth in what he said, we cannot accept his logic as an excuse to our responsibility of preparing our fresh engineering graduates to be industry ready.

  • Sanj, 411009

    Tue, Mar 05 2019

    The system of MCQ with 4 options without negative marking in engineering exam enforce Students to just play KBC!
    University is more inclined towards more results and quantity/nos of passing not the quality.
    Without reading a single word of a subject it is possible to clear online exam by just clicking any options.....its luck oriented not skill!!!!
    I think a solid system is must to improve engineering standards.

  • Austin, Mangalore

    Mon, Mar 04 2019

    A well prepared and professionally presented article. Very few are actually knowing what the current situation holds and why it is so. Engineering is one profession where one can do any job after graduating. The misconceptions of doing engineering are highlighted more in media due to which students are mislead to take professional courses such as engineering. There is a quote whuch says “As engineers, we were going to be in a position to change the world – not just study it.” I feel if we portray it right , we have the capacity to change the wrong notion about engineering and create soon to be young engineers who will pave way for futuristic inventions and development in our world. I thank Dr. RD for enlightening, empowering and energising the youth of today . We need such leaders who have the desire to share such wonderful articles.

  • Elias, Mumbai

    Mon, Mar 04 2019

    Treat English language on par with Kannada so that students understand good working knowledge in English . If not if we feel mother tongue is dying it never dies.After the war at Talikote after defeat of Vijayanagar dynasty every one thought Kannada will die.Immediately in Sough India Tippu introduced Persian language and luckily Tippu was defeated by British and handed over reigns to Wodeyars. Northern Karnataka Marathas introduced Marathi and lastly Hyderabad Karnataka Urdu was introduced. Still Kannada survived.
    Politicians shud treat English as our language and learn it along with Kannada.

  • Balakrishna Bs, Mangalore

    Mon, Mar 04 2019

    Well written Dr Rajesh
    Absolutely true,right perspective...
    There is a wide gap between colleges and field(industries)
    Let me share one amusing experience..
    Well known RV engineering,is authorised to provide training to engineers of PWD,all cadre,they charge reasonably well also..
    I attended a training course on ROAD SAFETY for senior officers,and in fact I inaugurated it..
    But the material(tech details),matter and methods they adopted,LITERALLY reminded me of my first year in NITK(KREC)43 years back.I expressed this in my speech on valedictory day,in presence of Principal and training head...this is the reality,applicable to all branches,most of the colleges.
    Often,talking like this,viewed as criticism.But we can not improve if don't identify,accept our flaws and adopt new ideas,innovations.

  • Balakrishna Bs, Mangalore

    Mon, Mar 04 2019

    Well written Dr Rajesh
    Absolutely true,right perspective...
    There is a wide gap between colleges and field(industries)
    Let me share one amusing experience..
    Well known RV engineering,is authorised to provide training to engineers of PWD,all cadre,they charge reasonably well also..
    I attended a training course on ROAD SAFETY for senior officers,and in fact I inaugurated it..
    But the material(tech details),matter and methods they adopted,LITERALLY reminded me of my first year in NITK(KREC)43 years back.I expressed this in my speech on valedictory day,in presence of Principal and training head...this is the reality,applicable to all branches,most of the colleges.
    Often,talking like this,viewed as criticism.But we can not improve if don't identify,accept our flaws and adopt new ideas,innovations.

  • ABDUL RAVOOF, Mangalore / Jeddah

    Mon, Mar 04 2019

    Dear Rajesh Sir,

    Excellent article. And you are absolutely right. I have been working in Telecom Industry for last 10 years.

    From my experience, there is huge gap between industry and academia. In this regard, I had given proposal for set up for end to end telecom/communication infrastructure lab for 2 leading engineering colleges of Mangalore region.

    These type Telecom Infrastructure Lab is present in RV College, MR Ramaih , and some other engineering colleges in Tamilnadu.

    Unfortunately, very poor response. Indeed, I said I would be contributing with free of cost without any charges. I am ready to provide various workshops in Data Center, Telecom Network Infrastructure set up etc etc related to communication field. My idea is not doing any business. But I wanted to share my practical experience & knowledge to our upcoming youngster's.

    Suppose, let us say in telecom we have various fields like construction of Data Center, Submarine Network, Core Network, Wireless Network , Satellite , GPON & Fiber Infrastructure.

    Only investments required for lab set up from college. However, not ready to invest by any of the college. Their straight forward question to me was " What are the Job Opportunities " for students. Will students get job immediate after completion of course ?

    My idea was to transfer the knowledge, practical experience to upcoming youths for those who are interested in telecom/communication and Data Center domain. It's not about business .

    Let me be honest, unless you have practical experience, how can i ensure they will get job ?

    Suppose , let us if someone want's their school to be CBSE accredited , then there is inspection team comes and checks for facility , standard of education / students, Infrastructure etc etc.

    Similarly, if someone volunteer to be ready for supporting, then why not colleges won't support for small investments for Lab Set Up which can help students to excel in their career. Appreciate your article.

  • Roy Fernandes, Bordeaux, France

    Mon, Mar 04 2019

    What the Indian education system lacks is the inculcation of the ability to reason logically and ask questions. We are more focused on learning formulas and not the concepts. This is why we aren't able to compete with Europeans, whose education system (right from grade 1) inculcates critical reasoning.

  • Dushant, THANE

    Mon, Mar 04 2019

    Improvement is to be needed

  • vnayak, Mangalore/Switzerland

    Mon, Mar 04 2019

    I agree with your points. One more important point : In India you are considered an employable Engineer when you have bachelors degree only. In most western countries a bachelors degree or equivalent certificate is only an entry to study and get a masters degree which is a real degree. But all colleges in India do not offer Masters Degree which is a shame. It is also not possible to easily find summer jobs for students who could gain practical experience at the lower levels. But it is important to move away from the belief that once you have a bachelors degree you are employable.

  • Joy Fernandes, Dubai

    Mon, Mar 04 2019

    Good one Rajesh. Good reflection on our current education system.I wish you all the the best to drive this change and our children in the future will benifit.

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Mon, Mar 04 2019

    No wonder Modi asked them to sell Pakoda's ...

  • Suraj Lobo, Mangalore/Dubai

    Mon, Mar 04 2019

    Dear Rajesh, Your article is a precise reflection of the current Engineering educational system in India. I hope this article of yours will enlighten all the officials who are responsible to make the necessary changes which are need of the hour. On the other hand, I hope all the aspiring engineers take note of your article and take appropriate steps to make their Engineering career a meaningful one. Proud of your contribution to this change. Best Regards, Suraj

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