With fewer engineering jobs, is it time to cut down on number of courses?

It is that time of the year again when placements have been completed across engineering institutes. There have been some courses where the number of jobs offered for a few courses are abysmally low. However, engineering colleges have refused to keep pace with changing times and multiple programmes continue to exist despite low intake and fewer jobs.

Oceanic, agriculture, instrumentation and materials engineering are some courses where several seats lie vacant. Also, the number of companies visiting campuses are fewer.

In some of the engineering schools, almost 60 percent of the seats are vacant. There has been a continuous tussle between the boards at a few IITs and the Ministry of Human Resource Development on the issue of discontinuing courses. Since the courses at IITs are heavily subsidised by Central funds, the Ministry wants the IITs to only offer relevant courses.

On an average, IITs as well as the other engineering institutes have 14-15 specialisations in the engineering domain. However, traditional courses like computer science, electrical, electronics and civil still remain more popular than other fields. Discontinuing a course is considered a negative signal and hence these institutes still offer these programmes.

For around 11,500 seats across the IITs, almost 1.2 million candidates appear for the entrance examination each year. Unless they get the course of their choice, these IIT aspirants do not pursue engineering.

At a time when there is a huge gap between the actual number of available seats and the numbers applying, it is imperative that the government subsidy is used to increase the number of seats in popular courses.

Even if a candidate is forced to take up a lesser popular course merely for an engineering degree, he/she would join the 1.5 million engineering graduates who pass out every year. But finding a job is not easy.

However, unpleasant the decision it might be, courses with low uptake need to be pushed out of the curriculum. Instead, practical training and need-based courses are what will attract candidates and also improve their employment prospects.


Author: Prakash Poojary

Business Analyst

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