Engineering Studies Ė Future?
Engineering education in the country is almost becoming outdated and seems to have reached a saturation point. It is witnessing a dramatic decline unless engineering intuitions now takes some measures else it would be very difficult to convince the students to take engineering as a profession.
Recruitment in IT and software industry which was the backbone for placements for all engineering institutions has completely changed. IT recruitment which was at one time fuelling exponential growth of institutes has gone down drastically. When the IT industry was at its peak, average engineers were able to find a job which is no longer the case. It is because of this trend that has the companyís ability restricted to take up high end projects or product development task. Now with an onslaught of automation backed by artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning and design thinking, they are finding it difficult to remain viable. Indian IT Companyís current skill and competency set have become a major issue for moving further into the future.
Itís a wakeup call for institutions to revamp the entire engineering system in India. The engineering education has to be relooked from a fresh perspective and work towards bringing a structural change.
We have almost double the number of colleges in the last ten years without any planning or foresight. I cautioned that the mushrooming of colleges would be an issue through various channels like my programmes, radio, print and social media etc.
Except for very few institutions, most of them havenít invested in the right kind of digital infrastructure such as the centre of excellence, advance learning centres and online learning centres to improve the learning outcome of the students. Its time engineering institutions should realise to invest in future technologies so that students become more employable than the current scenario. It has been found that 80% of Indian engineering students lack competency and applied skills.
I strongly believe that the following aspects and suggestions would help improve engineering education in this country.
- The entire engineering faculty has to be reskilled to teach upcoming technologies to the students.
- To bring in an expert educational consultant to address the students and faculty about the upcoming technologies every now and then.
- Establishing advance learning centres to enhance the efficiency of various process and functions in engineering education.
- The need to stress on the use of digital infrastructure for knowledge management, sharing of study material and assessment.
- Organising regular hackathons and competitions to provide exposure to real world programs to students.
- Use of massive open online courses for the dissemination of quality video content. There should be credit transfer of recognised courses from reputable universities into degree programs.
- The syllabus and curriculum content should be relevant and updated time to time as per industry requirements.
- Only the main core of engineering branches such as Mechanical, Computer Science, IT, ECE, EEE, Civil, Chemical, Instrumentation, Mechatronics, Biotechnology etc. Should be available to students.
- Courses such as Automobile, Production, Petroleum, Pharma, Geo Infomatics etc should be removed from the list of branches by AICTE.
- The major courses need to be designed in collaboration with industry and top academicians to cater the skill requirements of various industries.
- The institutions need to partner with the particular industry for developing the required skills.
- Number of subjects in each semester can be brought down to 4 instead of 6, thereby giving time for students to learn new technology.
- Entire examination system should be revamped. The students learning ability should be improved through a continuous assessment model instead of exams.
- Recruiterís expectation is shifting to what you can do rather than what you know. Students can meet the expectations of employers only through practical learning.
- Acquiring knowledge is a process that should happen both inside and outside the institutions. Students need to be regularly exposed to the latest technological events both nationally and internationally.
- Improving the school level education so that engineering colleges could get better input quality.
Finally, a proactive approach by all the educational institutions, industries and the government can go a long way in helping the engineering education more advanced. Itís all about enhancing the current talent pool in India and making it noticeable to the world.