Engineering in India: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

What’s wrong, why it is and how a student can get through

Introduction

Engineering is a religion in India. Every year, millions of students apply and step into the branch of engineering. Only a handful of people get the chance to study in the top tier colleges, while the rest of them have to compromise with their dream colleges one way or the other.

While the top-most colleges have the reputation of producing skillful engineers, the same does not apply to other colleges. These lower-tier colleges in which the average students are admitted to, face a lot of problems. Students in these colleges consider themselves less-skilled and talented from those who got admission to top-tier colleges. This phenomenon of Imposter Syndrome in students is something to worry about. Therefore, here I present the scenario of Indian Engineering Colleges, the problems, the reasons behind them and the solutions.

The Problem

Here, I present some statistics to back my argument:

  • Every year, more than 13 million students appear for the Joint Entrance Exam(JEE)
  • Out of which, about 1,50,000 students crack the exam and appear for JEE-Advanced
  • Only 11,000 students (which is less than 1%) can go through JEE-Advanced, which then, can get admission in IITs

It is observable that a huge portion of students (99\%) are not able to get admission to the famed IITs. This affects the students mentally, leading to depression, anxiety, and demotivation.

In 2018, every day 30 students committed suicide. The reason behind this is the sheer amount of competition, students not realizing their self-worth and lack of emotional intelligence.

If we focus on the average students who belong to the majority, some shocking statistics remind us about the change that needs to be applied.

‘National Employability Report — Engineers 2019’, states that,

  • Only 3.84% of engineers are employable in software-related jobs
    at start-ups.
  • Only 4.7% of the students applying for IT Jobs can write code.
  • 37.7% of Indian Engineers write code that doesn’t even compile.

Considering the morale of the students,

  • Nearly 30 Students committed suicide every day in 2018 in India.

The system has to be missing something. The huge gap between what is being taught and what is needed should be targeted. I discuss the major reasons behind the situation in the next section.

The Reasons

The facts and statistics certainly lead us to the major reasons why Indian Education needs a change. Possibly, there could be a lot of reasons behind the problems, I present some of the most identified reasons here as follows.

Lack of practical knowledge

  • A programmer should code not read about code. Programming is an engineering skill that can’t be learned without practice. What the system
    lacks is in introducing students to practical knowledge.
  • The students, instead, focus on cramming the theories day and night,
    and as a result of that, we get cricketers who read about cricket rather
    than actually playing it.

Too many exams

This is a small list of exams/submissions/assignments which a typical
student goes through:
• 3-phase Submission
• Weekly Tests
• Assignments
• Mid-Semester Exam
• Pre-University Exam
• Internal Vivas
• External Vivas
• Preparation of Final Exam
• Final Exam

And while doing all of this, students are expected to participate in
Hackathons, Get an Internship, Prepare for further studies, Manage relationships, Get a job and Enjoy life.

It is obvious to see what is not working out. Students are kept so
occupied with these that they don’t have time to try out new things or
explore out in the world.

Lack of exposure

  • Almost none of the students are exposed to the industries, to understand
    what is the need, how things work in real life?
  • As a result of that, students face a huge gap between what is being taught and what is actually needed.

Teaching is the last option for bright, young people

  • Lack of passionate involvement from the faculties affects the results one
    way or the other.
  • The young, intelligent individuals don’t usually opt for teaching, and
    if they enter the field of teaching, it is either their last option or they had
    other reasons to follow forcefully.

Students relying on questionable materials

  • Students have a tendency of not attending lectures regularly and not pay-
    ing attention to the subjects. As a result of that, during the exam preparations, they get frustrated and look out for the quickest solution to cram out the syllabus.
  • They rely on any material they find which has the answers to the
    ‘Most IMP’ questions. They, without a second thought, rely on the
    materials without checking the integrity or the quality of the material.
    This leads to a poor, shallow and unreliable understanding of concepts.

Lack of exploration

Students do not want to know the reasons why certain rules, theories,
information are the way they are. Students don’t explore enough to find
out what is actually been happening behind the material.

The Solutions

Although I have listed out a lot of problems, I believe there is a chance
of getting through this situation, and it is certainly possible to strive
through, I describe how:

Find your interest

If the students have an interest in the subject that they are learning, they will
get enough marks even though they don’t work hard.
What the students should focus on:

  • Talk to yourself, ask WHAT DO YOU WANT?
  • Evaluate the resources and identify WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT
    IT?
  • Explore more to find your interests, in your own ways, and stay
    encouraged.

Work on your skills, not grades

  • Students should follow a more practical approach to learning new things,
    rather than, following the typical cramming of new concepts.
  • Engineering is engineering, and it is about how things work, we
    should start doing things rather than reading about them.

With a little careful planning, students can achieve a lot

  • Keeping the top-tier colleges aside, even the normal, tier 2 and tier 3
    colleges have examples of students who have been able to achieve their
    goals. And they were able to do it with careful planning and execution.

If marks and colleges mattered, IITians would be the only engineers in India

  • IITs have an impact on the students all over India, being a student myself,
    I know about the belief that if you’re not from an IIT, students consider
    you unworthy of their attention, and you are considered as less skillful
    than them.
  • This is the major reason why a huge portion of students are demotivated and lose their desire to strive forward.
  • If IITs were the only good colleges in India, all the skillful and talented engineers from other colleges should not have existed. But we all
    know that is not the case.

Involvement from both the sides, the students and the faculties

Last, but not the least, there seems to be less involvement from students
and their faculties in the process. If both sides, start interacting a
little more, the impact would be huge.

Conclusion

I presented my views about the situation of Engineering in Indian Education System, I wish the best of my fellow engineers, and I certainly
believe that we will soon get through the challenges and rise above everything.

References:

[1] The Times Of India,
https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com
[2] Wikipedia,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki

I’m a software developer. If I’m not programming, I’m making YouTube videos, playing games, playing my guitar (or just thinking about life, I guess).

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Mihir Joshi

Mihir Joshi

I’m a software developer. If I’m not programming, I’m making YouTube videos, playing games, playing my guitar (or just thinking about life, I guess).

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