Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Crisis in engineering education

Dr. M. Suresh Babu,  President,  Praja Science Vedika

India is facing a significant engineering education crisis, with a growing number of engineering colleges failing to provide quality education to their students. There are several factors contributing to this crisis, including a lack of qualified faculty members, outdated curriculum, inadequate infrastructure, and poor industry-academia linkages.

One of the major issues is the rapid growth of engineering colleges in India, without a corresponding increase in the number of qualified faculty members. As a result, many colleges are forced to hire under-qualified and inexperienced faculty, which leads to poor quality of education. Additionally, many colleges have outdated curricula that do not meet the demands of modern industries. Another issue is the lack of proper infrastructure in many engineering colleges. Many colleges lack proper labs, libraries, and other facilities, which hampers the learning experience of students. Moreover, many colleges suffer from poor industry-academia linkages, which makes it difficult for students to gain practical experience and exposure to the latest technologies.

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Unable to secure employment

Overall, these issues have led to a situation where a large number of engineering graduates in India are unable to secure employment due to their lack of skills and poor quality of education. To address this crisis, there is a need for significant reforms in the engineering education system, including improving the quality of faculty, updating curricula, providing adequate infrastructure, and fostering strong industry-academia partnerships.

India’s problem of substandard engineering education is now widely known. Except IITs and prestigious technology institutes, most engineering colleges are unable to provide education to engineering student that would get them suitable jobs.  At the root of the problem is mushrooming of low quality engineering colleges over the years. as students from such colleges fail to get suitable jobs, they face decline in enrolment. Now a large number of these colleges are being shut down. AICTE has closed about 800 engineering colleges across India. There are no takers for core engineering branches, and admissions are plunging in these colleges every year.  Colleges that lack proper infrastructure and report less than 25% admissions for five consecutive years will have to be shut down. AICTE has approved the progressive closure of 360 engineering colleges across India.

Indian students lagging behind Chinese and Russians

Indian students make substantial gains in mathematics and critical thinking skills in the first two years of their education compared to their counterparts in China and Russia, but their overall higher order thinking skills are substantially lower than the Chinese and Russians, according to preliminary finding of learning outcome assessment of undergraduate engineering students conducted by Stanford university and the World Bank. It is apparent from the study that Indian Students are not unable to think high. It’s the lack of quality education that stunts their academic growth.

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According to All India Survey, more than 50% seats were vacant in 184 colleges, with 79 colleges unable to fill even 25% of their capacity, while in another 36 colleges student intake was less than 10% of capacity. If this is the situation of a college on the outskirts of Hyderabad city, one can imagine the situation of colleges in rural areas. Not many students want to go to colleges in rural areas even if they have winning offers. Even the local students nearby colleges prefer to go out of the area as they can enjoy college life once they are away from their parents. Students also feel that if they take admission in urban areas their placement chances would be better.  Country is facing significant challenges when it comes to ensuring equal educational opportunities for all. Despite government efforts to improve access to education, there are still several barriers that prevent many students, especially those from marginalized communities, from accessing quality education.

Poorly trained faculties

One of the major issues is the lack of adequate infrastructure and resources in many colleges, especially in rural areas. This can lead to a lack of basic facilities such as proper classrooms, laboratories, infrastructure, clean drinking water, and functioning toilets, which can negatively impact the learning experience of students. Another issue is the lack of qualified and trained lecturers, particularly in rural engineering and professional colleges. Many faculties in these colleges are poorly trained and may lack the necessary skills to effectively teach their students.

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It is important for teachers to continuously update their knowledge and skills in order to provide the best quality education to their students. Attending refresher courses, orientation programs, and other forms of professional development can help teachers stay current with the latest trends, technologies, and tools in their field. However, it is also important for teachers to have a genuine passion for teaching and a desire to help shape young minds. Unfortunately, some teachers may view teaching as just a means to earn a living rather than a fulfilling responsibility. This can lead to a lack of interest in their students’ questions and a failure to provide the best possible education.  On the other hand, good teachers who are passionate about their profession and have a genuine desire to help their students can make a huge difference in the lives of their students. Teachers who excel in their field and have the ability to pass on their knowledge to others are truly gifted. It is important to give teachers the respect and gratitude they deserve for the important role they play in shaping the future of society.

 Disparities in opportunities

Additionally, there are also significant disparities in educational opportunities based on socioeconomic status, gender, and caste. Children from poorer households, as well as those from marginalized communities such as Dalits and Adivasis, often have limited access to educational opportunities and are more likely to drop out of Colleges.

Overall, these issues have led to a situation where a large number of engineering graduates in India are unable to secure employment due to their lack of skills and poor quality of education. To address this crisis, there is a need for significant reforms in the engineering education system, including improving the quality of faculty, updating curricula, providing adequate infrastructure, and fostering strong industry-academia partnerships. Overall, these issues have led to a situation where many children in India are unable to access quality education, which in turn limits their opportunities for social and economic mobility. To address this issue, there is a need for greater investment in education infrastructure and resources, as well as efforts to improve teacher training and address disparities in educational opportunities based on socioeconomic status, gender, and caste.

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Dr. M. Suresh Babu
Dr. M. Suresh Babu
Dr. M. Suresh Babu has been a Professor, Dean and Principal in various engineering colleges and institutions in Hyderabad and Anantapur. His approach to teaching is “For the student, by the student and to the student.” He is associated with several Civil Society Organizations like Praja Science Vedika and Election Watch.

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