Survey finds engineering education in Tamilnadu in crisis

Chennai May 24: A survey conducted in Tamilnadu among a cross-section of stakeholders about the state of engineering education and job scenario for fresh engineers in the State, has seen a call for reducing the number of seats in such colleges by half. There was also a suggestion that it would be a good idea to convert at least 200 private engineering colleges and polytechnics as arts and science colleges.

The survey was conducted by Nandini Consultancy Centre, a chemical engineering and technology/market research firm based in Chennai, in April 2019, among a cross-section of stakeholders, says a press release. The survey was conducted amongst faculty members in engineering colleges, recently passed-out engineering students, prospective employers of engineers and parents of the students.

QUANTITY
With more than 550 engineering colleges with admission capacity of around 2.5 lakh students every year, only less than 50 per cent of the seats got filled up in 2018-19. In the ensuing academic year, it appears that this percentage would likely go down further. Some observers think that lack of job creation is the reason for fresh engineers not getting jobs, which have resulted in admission seekers for engineering courses going down. This appears to be a very simplistic view, says Nandini Consultancy Centre director, N S Venkataraman.

“The fact is that job opportunities continue to exist for engineers in the same trend as in the past with marginal increase. But, the issue is that too many engineering colleges have been allowed to be set up with a large number of seats. The present situation highlights the fact that so many engineering colleges are not needed,” said the report. The All India Council of Technical Education is primarily responsible for this, as it has not carefully evaluated the requirement for fresh engineers with regard to the need and job opportunities in the coming years, while according sanction for so many engineering colleges, says Venkataraman.

QUALITY

Moreover, the quality of engineering education in several colleges has deteriorated due to many factors like unsuitable management, lack of trained senior professors in adequate numbers for the vast number of colleges, and admitting students with minimum marks for money, finds the survey.

Several employers and educationists, including some Vice-Chancellors, have said many engineers passing out in Tamilnadu are unemployable. Students passing out with good grades do get well-paying jobs but others are mostly under-employed. There are also a large number of polytechnics in Tamilnadu, turning out diploma-level engineers. They often compete for similar jobs as engineers, swelling the number of job-seekers.

SOLUTION
It is clear engineering education in Tamilnadu is facing a crisis, finds the report. A few leading educationists have called for the immediate closure of engineering colleges – at least 50 per cent of them – that do not maintain standards. It is already happening, as a few engineering colleges have not got even minimum number of students. The infrastructure of these colleges could be used to set up arts and science colleges. Some could offer certificate courses in skill-oriented technical education, says the release.

Blurb: Observers think that lack of job creation is the reason for fresh engineers not getting jobs, which have resulted in admission seekers for engineering courses going down