Technical education institutions in India, particularly those that offer BE (bachelor of engineering) and B Tech (bachelor of technology) courses, are running at 49 percent capacity, according to a report by the Financial Express.
The report also stated that according to data from All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), less than half the students passing out of these courses have found job via campus placements in the last five years.
The job placement figure is even worse if you see only the standalone figure for last year, which stood at a paltry 40 percent. After a series of extremely disappointing numbers like these, the apex technical education body of the country – the AICTE – is now considering asking colleges with less than 70 percent occupancy to wind up and shut shop.
This shocking situation also gained prominence after various reports online suggested that the quality of education in the country is worsening. The reasons for such a poor state of affairs are various, including corruption at various levels, poor infrastructure facilities like labs, and lack of skilled teaching faculty.
Factors like these are hampering the quality of graduates these colleges are churning out every year. External factors like poor connections with an industry body add insult to injury.
However, industry stalwarts have a different take on the story. RC Bhargava, Chairman of Maruti Suzuki, who is also Chairman of IIT Kanpur, was quoted by Financial Express as saying, “Most of the graduates don’t know the basics of engineering. The reason these vacancies keep increasing is because graduates can’t find jobs. That’s because employers don’t think they are worth employing. Most people will tell you that 80 percent of engineering graduates are not employable.”
Experts also blame market factors for this situation. In the wake of the dotcom bubble during the late 90s and early 2000s, when the IT industry saw a rush of software-related jobs, companies were in dire need of engineers. The situation was so grave that employers even chose to ignore a candidate’s branch of engineering, if he or she could code.
DK Subramaniam, professor at IISc, said that private players have now stepped up in order to keep pace with the booming demand but government institutions have stayed away from the software engineering branch. Although this helped calm things down back then, the situation turned serious when scrupulous institutions started cropping up by the hour.
The situation has resulted in a vicious circle in which low quality engineers are forcing the industry to hire less. Reduced demand in turn results in lower number of people choosing to enter the field. Unless and until universities step up their game, courses like BE and B Tech will continue turning more and more unviable by the day.