While America’s state of engineering education has worried the likes of Bill Gates, India is thought to be much better placed. There is now said to be an army of technologists and engineers in the country, created by all the engineering colleges that have been set up in the last 10 years. In Tamil Nadu alone, there are more than 220 engineering colleges with an intake capacity of around 72,000 students. The state has 50,000 graduating engineers each year. The all-India figure would be mind-boggling.
Yet, a good percentage of these engineers do not get suitable jobs, and many of them take up jobs which have no relation with their education. A recent study in Tamil Nadu indicates that around 20,000 engineers go without suitable jobs every year, and take non-engineering jobs or end up underemployed or unemployed for long periods. While this is the scenario amongst fresh engineers, many of India’s industries and recruiters complain that they face extreme difficulty in getting engineers adequately qualified and competent. They say that even good advertisements do not get them suitable applicants. One wonders why this is the case. It appears that a large number of India’s best engineers simply go abroad for jobs and higher studies. Other reasonably well-equipped engineers do get placement, but they mostly go to software companies and BPO units, which pay them fat salaries even if their training has no bearing on their jobs. In fact, they work alongside others who are science, management or even arts graduates. Over the years, these engineers would lose their touch with engineering. This is a serious loss of talent. Lured by financial gain and the glamour of outsourcing jobs, many good engineers surrender their advantages of engineering knowledge, denying themselves professional prospects.
Functions deprived of talent are R&D, engineering consultancy, design and detailed engineering work, apart from corporate planning and teaching. Performance here requires both...
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