DailyPost 1816

Every year on this day, the birthday of Sir M Visvesvaraya, is celebrated as Engineer’s Day, as a tribute to the engineering expertise and acumen of the great engineer. The course of engineering education and practice decides the course of the growth trajectory of the nation. In an age of development, which started quite a few decades back, the pace, trajectory, spread and reach are decided by the human resource called engineers. Engineering is an area where specialization is happening at an enormous pace. Do we have the wherewithal to handle the engineering challenges of the nation? The nations which can handle these challenges endlessly and relentlessly are the nations, where the engineers dream of the moon and bring the sky to the ground.
First let’s start with the quality of engineering education. The total number of engineering graduates coming out of our colleges would be amongst the highest in the world, if not the highest. Still, we have an issue pertaining to the employability of a vast majority of them. Only a small percentage from Computer Science background can actually code and even a lesser number who are fit for new age jobs, as we have already entered the era of Industry 4.0 or Industrial Revolution 4.0. Are we able to set our eyes on anything beyond a package? AICTE a few years back wanted to close down 800 colleges; things would not have improved in any way in the last few years. Nearly 150 colleges are closed down voluntarily every year due to stricter AICTE rules.
Education in private hands has prospered globally, India has its own story. Commercialization of professional engineering education brings quality the world over, here again it is a different story. Barely after 30/40 engineering colleges, nobody even sees the ranks in the NIRF rankings. Commercialization does not mean not delivering quality education. The colleges cannot become money minting machines. The employment in a large number of areas does not throw up any engineering challenges. In the government the engineers award contracts as their main job, the engineering job is then done by contracting agencies. If the hands on does not happen, then what is engineering all about? In house  resources if different organisations need to engineer the nation.
We have found our own way through the digital revolution, through body shopping, managed services and call centers and not through product creation, research and development and innovation. Job creation and engineering prowess are two radically different things but the first is also not happening. Whatever worthy products we are able to create out of the engineering educational system, most of them try to leave the country, whatever is left the better of the lot work for MNCs. We keep on talking of industry ready and that has been eluding us for a long time. In a world where Disruptive Technologies rule the world, where do we stand? Are we even in the race; robotics to 5G to AI. Time to take a call to transform the engineering ecosystem.
Sanjay Sahay

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