Drop in demand for engineering courses, 44% seats lie vacant

29 Aug, 2016
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An article in Indian Express talks about how poor quality of education and dearth of jobs in the market has led to a drop in demand for engineering courses in Maharashtra; along with inputs from Rituparna Chakraborty.

Most seats in the electrical and allied streams — around 70 per cent of the total seats — are lying vacant. Core branches such as mechanical and civil engineering, too, saw lesser demand.

POOR QUALITY of education and dearth of jobs in the market has led to a drop in demand for engineering courses in the state, experts said. According to data gathered from the Directorate of Technical Engineering (DTE), of a total of 1.44 lakh seats available, 64,418 (44.7 per cent) lie unoccupied. While this number is marginally lesser than last year’s vacancy of 64,625, the number of admissions dropped from 89,242 to 79,435 indicating a drop in demand for engineering courses in the state.

Most seats in the electrical and allied streams — around 70 per cent of the total seats — are lying vacant. Core branches such as mechanical and civil engineering, too, saw lesser demand.

This comes at a time when the central government has launched initiatives such as Make In India to create more jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector.

“The number of seats available in engineering are higher than the number of applicants,” said SK Mahajan, Director of DTE. He said, “In 2011, there was a huge requirement for engineers across the country. Seeing this, many colleges increased their intakes. However, the demand has fallen since and this year 17,000 seats were slashed.”

In a report presented by GD Yadav, Vice Chancellor of Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, to the state government in 2014, he had said, “Appropriate criteria should be devised to reduce the intake and also closure of some of the programmes including mergers of branches with fancy nomenclature into mainstream.”

Yadav, who has analysed the gap, said several factors were responsible for the decline in demand. The deteriorating quality of engineers is one of the reasons he said. “Only 15 percent of the graduating engineers are employable,” said Yadav. He said this had been a repercussion of the lack of good faculty members. “In most colleges, fresh graduates are seen teaching core subjects on contractual basis. The infrastructure too is inadequate in most colleges,” said Yadav. “Seats in colleges with good infrastructure and quality teachers have been filled. It’s only the sub-standard colleges that have seen lesser demand,” said Ramesh Unnikrishnan, Director, Western region, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

The lack of good quality engineers has also led to reduced demand for them in the industry, said experts indicating fewer jobs for engineers. “The placement record in the past few years for engineers has been poor,” said Yadav.

Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder and Executive Vice-President of Teamlease, a human resource service, said the engineering sector has saturated. “There are way too many engineers in the market already and too few jobs.” She said the IT sector, which has been the biggest recruiter for engineers, too, prefers experienced engineers over freshers.

“Until the Make In India project takes off, there will be fewer job opportunities for engineers. Though the signs are positive, the real effects of the initiative are yet to manifest,” said Chakraborty. She said there was a huge requirement for pharmacy and architecture graduates apart from students with vocational and skill-based education. “For plumbers and electricians, too, there is a huge demand, although these occupations are traditionally frowned upon,” said Chakraborty.

Pharmacy and architecture courses, too, saw corresponding demand among students. Only two per cent seats remained vacant in pharmacy and architecture saw an increase in intake capacity and enrolment from last year. Mahajan said this could be because the fee for these colleges are lower than engineering colleges and the courses have better job prospects. Yadav, too, in his report had suggested that there are a good number of opportunities for BArch graduates.

This article was published in Indian Express: http://goo.gl/4uNMUF

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