With the admission process in undergraduate engineering courses coming to an end across the country, time to analyse the trend of the demand that prevailed this year. Several public and private technical Institutions struggled to fill up the increased number of vacant seats at the undergraduate level in engineering colleges. There’s need to introspect the current situation of a reduced number of takers for engineering courses, from different perspectives. The fact is, the choices made by the students seeking admission are significantly governed by the available information about the courses and institutions, their family members and peers along with the relevant success stories of such professionals in public domain.
A closer look at the prevailing situation in the country and the public perception indicates an ample number of institutions offering engineering courses, but lack the much-needed quality education. In many cases, the brand value of the institutions created through the accomplishments of their graduating students in the past has started fading fast due to the poor employability of their current graduating students.
The prevailing gap between the demand and supply of technical graduates for few years has led to no employment or underemployment of engineering graduates. Also, professional deficiencies make them unsuitable for suitable employment. This has developed a public perception about almost every institution and the courses offered by them and making engineering aspirants choosy.
In the current scenario, Computer Science-related disciplines are visibly in demand in good institutions, while conventional engineering disciplines like chemical engineering, civil engineering and mechanical engineering are not in the priority of majority of admission seekers. Such trend roots to the ease of placement opportunities available to graduates of computer science and related disciplines. But there should not be any disagreement on the roles of engineering graduates in sustenance and upgradation of civilisation and technology are interdisciplinary and in no case, any engineering discipline can be said to be inferior or not worthwhile. In fact, technological advancements are not possible without the integration of different disciplines of engineering, technology and science.
Therefore, with the lack of knowledge about the potential of every stream of technical education, it is becoming imperative to explore suitable opportunities for educating children in the secondary education system about the relevance of different streams of technical education to make them exploit their potential as per their inherent likings and interests. Also, the trend of higher merit aspirants going for preferred disciplines based on public perceptions and information from colleagues and peers will lead to the situation of poor merit students landing up in so-called less preferred disciplines. This will create another problem of yielding technical professionals having somewhat lesser potential from non-computer science disciplines while for sustainable development and technological advancements, it is imperative to have best technical professionals in every stream of technical education.
There is need of best brains in every stream of engineering and technology, and any drift to only selected disciplines will weaken the rest of disciplines which will adversely affect the technological development as a whole. Mere imagination of varying capabilities of technical professionals from different streams shows the frightening situation of difficulties in problem-solving which is always multidisciplinary. Given the current trend, there is a need to find out suitable measures to combat the prevailing menace of technical education getting confined to Computer Science and related disciplines as per the demand of aspirants.
Among different means, the experience sharing by eminent technical professionals will help students realise that the present state of technology is the confluence of the contributions made by different disciplines of technical education and science, which should eventually motivate them in choosing a course of study about which the aspirants are passionate. Also, the synergy in the initiatives by technical education providers and secondary schools for demonstrating various technological developments as an amalgamation of different disciplines of technical education to the school students will open their minds and help in choosing the best-suited stream of higher education along with convincing that no discipline is inferior or superior.
The recent news of a very large number of seats remaining vacant in some technical universities indicates a situation of no takers of a large number of private colleges affiliated to them and also a good number of seats lying vacant in public Institutions after the regular counselling process. Given the no admissions through the admission test counselling, institutions have to resort to direct admissions for their sustenance, and this results in a larger share of admitted students through the direct admission mode having least rigour in the filtration process. Thus, the quality of students admitted through the direct mode is likely to be different from those admitted through the admission test-based counselling process, and this ultimately affects the quality of graduating technical human resource which may not be employable appropriately. Quite a large number of vacant seats even after the completion of prescribed admission process indicate that either there has been a straightforward rejection of certain courses and institutions due to insufficient employment potential or the inappropriate quality of education or there is lack of understanding in executing the choices.
In view of the present situation, it is imperative for the country’s governance, the industry and the higher technical education providers to collectively strategies for attracting the best brains in all disciplines of higher technical education for creating a proficient technical human resource to further technological advancement and the civilisation endlessly.
(The writer is founder Vice-Chancellor of Madan Mohan Malaviya University of Technology, Gorakhpur, UP. He is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Harcourt Butler Technical University, Kanpur, UP)