Bhubaneswar the capital city of Orissa is famous in the world as the city of temples. The dotted presence of ancient temples on this beautiful landscape is now being marked on the map as a place for accommodating innumerable temples of learning a.k.a. engineering and management colleges. There is this unique similarity because like the number of temples there is fresh addition to the temples of learning. Every day we come across some news of opening of a new campus for the spread of technical and professional education.
Dr Prafulla Kumar Mohanty, who taught Science as a faculty to hundreds of students in the prestigious government colleges is a frustrated man now-a-days. He laments on the prevailing condition in Science education, let alone study of engineering.
“Studying Science and engineering has become business. There are colleges who charge exorbitantly for an intermediate Science course just to qualify the students for eligibility for an engineering course. For studying an intermediate course in Science, the private colleges charge up to two lakh rupees and on completing the course the same colleges extend the privilege of admission unto engineering courses under their same roofs. Again the price paid for this is at least three times more”- Rues a senior academician like Mr. Mohanty.
Twenty years back, only the elite pass-outs from schools and colleges in India went to the premier engineering colleges in India. As information technology made its way in 1989, it brought the plethora of technical educational institutions and these days you find almost every family has two to three pass-outs from engineering and Masters in computer application courses.
Bhubaneswar can be taken as a micro instance of cities spread across India. The same prevails every where in it ,where students with thirty five percent over all percentage in marks in school examination flock to the cities to get admitted to intermediate courses to Science in junior colleges and then engineering courses in various streams.
Why technical education is so popular in India? – Technical courses remained lucrative options for the best talents in India. Way back in seventies earning admission in a premier college like Indian Institute of Technology and Regional College of engineering brought appreciation for the families. With the increase of population and opening of corporate sectors as newer pastures of employment, more and more opted for technical courses and subsequent employment. But up to early eighties, an average student could at best get an admission in a diploma course in engineering. But as information technology turned up with new openings the rush for engineering courses began. Literally in the presence of heavy unemployment this served as a beacon of hope almost for everybody.
AICTE and role in spreading technical education- The history of AICTE (all India council for technical education) can be traced back to pre-independence period in 1945. It was formed with the mission to look after the general state of technical education in India. Now it is considered as the top-most institution to look after the functioning of technical institutions across the country. Its basic role is to provide funding to different government engineering and technical institutes and if necessary it also provides certificates to students of technical institutes. It has played an important role over the years to promote standards of education in the country.
In 1988, the AICTE act no 52 of 1987 was introduced in India with a view to extend over all supervision and coordination of technical education. In the following years, thanks to the initiatives by it many institutions were accredited with imparting technical education to pupils.
Thus the mushroom growth of private institutions was born. Banks sanctioned finance to very small institutions to start construction of their premises for new engineering colleges.
Types of engineering entrance examinations
- All India Engineering entrance examinations(AIEEE)
- Graduate aptitude test in engineering (GATE)
- Joint entrance examination (JEE)
- State engineering entrance examinations.
Why seats are outnumbering the students?
At present there are more than 3000 engineering colleges in India, while almost eight lakh students apply through entrance examinations. The number of management colleges is also more than 1700 in India.
Students opt for admission in engineering colleges on the basis of their following interests
- Whether the teaching imparted by the college is at par with the best.
- Whether the college has achieved placement record in the past.
- If it is a private college whether they can afford exorbitant fees for their admissions.
- Whether the college is able to deliver in terms of teaching, training and placement vis-à-vis the fees it charges.
- Whether there are enough number of seats in the categories where they seek admission.
Economic recession- A dampener on the admission rate of students- Recession in the last decade also put a dampener on the spirit of students because apart from the elite institutions, most of the private colleges were unable to provide good placement. In India although there was no such visible effect of recession, many more-than-average students chose not to go for study of engineering because of their poor ranking in the engineering entrance examinations.
They were apprehensive that after passing out of such colleges they would not get the kind of job offers they wanted. There are still brilliant minds in India who do not desire to go for stereo-typed careers in corporate sectors after the completion of their courses. There are also students who seek opportunities in government sectors which give them newer avenues in research and development and other faculties.
The necessity is for quality not quantity- The study of engineering always helped us to build this beautiful world. Indian technocrats are preferred worldwide for their excellence in expertise. So the decision to increase the number of engineering colleges must carry one rationale that there has to be qualitative improvement by the new institutions opening across India. The true fact is the scientific brain of a good student would never get impressed by the number of seats offered by the institution rather by the quality of teaching and training given there.
The interesting update from the employment record of State Bank of India reveals that hundreds of qualified young engineers have joined as clerks in its recent recruitments. Hopefully this speaks volumes that why students are not interested to join engineering courses. It is sure increase of seats in engineering courses by the politicians is just a populist measure to create vote-banks. It enhances the quality of education in no way.