In April, 2010 some 1 million students sat for the AIEEE examination and combining other entrances around the country, considering overlap up to 50% we can safely say that about 3 million students harbored ambitions of becoming engineers.
Now, today India has roughly a population of 1.2 billion and considering that most people live upto 60 years at least we can say that for each age this country has about 20 million citizens. Therefore, roughly, we have 20 million 18 yr old Indians who are ready to make the quantum leap from higher secondary education to college education. Considering 18 to be the average age of these engineering aspirants and taking the country’s literacy rate to be at 50% out of which 50% make it to college, we are looking at a figure as staggering as 60% of the eligible students who are opting for engineering.
Now, I myself am an engineering student and do not want to discount the utter need and ability of engineers to turn this developing economy of ours into a superpower. But then, the problem does not quite arise with the huge number of students opting for engineering but it arises with the fact that in the process other lines of education such as pure science and fine arts are finding it hard to find suitable candidates to fill up the void that will be left by professionals currently working in these fields. The defence minister of the country stating that the overall deficiency in the army is around 24% is ample testament to this fact.
Moreover this maddening craze for engineering is a phenomenon that perhaps needs to be addressed for half of these budding engineers go on to do management and work as bank executives after working their socks off to crack an engineering exam. The main aim is do engineering, crack CAT, do management from an IIM and then earn as much as you can. The career objective becomes to earn money, be it by working 20 hours a day and having a non-existent social life.
At college, the gain of knowledge related to subject matter becomes secondary to the knowledge related to the percentage of placement the college has obtained. Computer Engineering students shudder at the prospect of studying C language, perhaps the most basic of professional programming languages.
Another problem is the emergence of Information Technology as the numero uno industry in the world. Civil, Mechanical, Chemical engineers from all lines are forced to take up jobs in the IT sector due to the great pay packages offered. So, people learning to build bridges end up writing programs. Not that it matters, for most students opting for these lines do so due to the unavailability of other streams, which perhaps explains the reasons for the lack of groundbreaking structures in our country, or perhaps a Nobel Prize in science in the last 20 years. Engineering is not engineering anymore for the status it affords but it is something which helps you earn.
So, go for engineering if you really want to be an engineer and not because you want a job in TCS or Wipro or you want to be the next finance manager recruited by ICICI bank.
Class of 2014 – B. Tech