Now coming back to the fate of the millions of fresh engineering graduates whose parents spent nearly a million rupees for getting their engineering degrees ! There is no authentic data on how many of them find a useful job. Even then, private estimates by various agencies figure out unemployment levels as high as 30 % among engineering graduates of India. Remember, this is the situation of the present. You can well imagine the situation when the number of graduates double in the near future as planned by AICTE.
Even this unemployment figures could be misleading. The actual could be much higher considering the fact that the majority engineering graduates of any discipline are going to be employed in non engineering jobs including computer software related fields. In the software industry and the BPO industry of India, the markets lie beyond the boundaries of India and no one really knows how far this industry could go like this. Will the software industry bubble burst some day ? What would happen to the millions of Indians and the Indian economy that have now surrendered themselves to an economic activity which they do not really understand with regard to its market dynamics ? In other words, what would happen if the major markets that are outside India change their priorities ? Only foolish people will try to live without contingency plans !
So what are we supposed to do then ? Training engineering graduates and postgraduates in the engineering colleges in huge numbers is one thing. But that is not going to help India getting improvements in engineering expertise in any way. No fresh engineer is good to undertake any real life engineering work with confidence unless he or she gets the opportunity to get trained under experienced seniors for a couple of years. Again no engineering graduate can gain useful experience when opportunities of actual work exposure do not exist. A good number of working engineers in many organizations in India hardly get any useful experience to make them an expert in their field of work.
Indian planners, who are definitely not experienced engineers or technocrats, have forgotten the importance of having matching numbers of trained technicians and engineering supervisors and the importance of them gaining reliable work experiences by doing years of actual work. When India prefers to import equipment and systems from China and other countries, what is clearly forgotten is the opportunities lost in this country to get its people trained in core engineering and technology works.
Operating in this manner without understanding the fundamentals have landed India into a precarious situation. If any one wants to set up a manufacturing base in India, he is posed with the problem of shortage of experienced technicians and engineers. In a competitive world, how can you think of spending huge sums for training all your man power some where else always ? Barring a few, almost every manufacturing facility now India are foreign owned. They may close shop at any given time when things do not move in their favor.
Engineering graduates, post graduates and doctorates who work in the engineering colleges as teaching faculty cannot be considered as engineers with practical experience, in India. This is because of the extremely poor mobility of engineers from industry to academics and vice versa in India. The AICTE which is presently dominated by academicians seem to prevent this from happening for reasons that could be guessed easily. Engineering curricula in India is crammed with theoretical topics which are of practically no use in real life situations in many instances. Engineering colleges and universities need to learn tailoring of the courses for the benefit of the industries where the engineers are going to be employed by mutual interactions. However, due to the impractical approaches by AICTE and the institutions, such a thing can never happen in India as that are happening in developed countries like the USA and some European nations. The result is that India produce more cut-paste engineers who haven't really understood what engineering really is !
Now let me come to the personal side of engineering career. Engineers are the most isolated lot of professionals in the world, even while they do their jobs in teams. This is because, every individual engineer, in most situations of actual engineering, does a unique work most often not really understood by their colleagues, peers or seniors. Their problems are not realized by their family members, their employers or their colleagues who themselves could be engineers. This is true even for those engineers who happen to be modern IT engineers. Engineering in reality is a brain storming work and as human beings are, no one really wants to live with fuming brains always. Thus in real engineering field, a number of engineers learn the tricks of cheating their hardworking colleagues to gain easy benefits. Many times, especially in India, deserving engineers get neglected when clever colleagues snatch their opportunities. In such a situation, most often it so happens that the clever ones get elevated to top positions of technocracy. This complicates the matter further for real working engineers because now it would be their bosses who would do the actions of killing the real engineering and technology work environment. Real brainy engineers would be totally deprived of their opportunities to excel in their fields doing good for the country and the society. The easy goers would be happier and benefited if their organization get an equipment, project or technology from external sources rather than getting it done using their own talents ! Many organizations in India with major stakes in engineering and technology have failed miserably to accomplish their goals or sustain their goals only due to this kind of a situation. Indian engineers due to various reasons become so selfish that they fail to do mentoring their subordinates so that the latter can give their best in their career.
Another aspect which I have noticed is important to be understood in this context. The engineering curricula, as I said earlier, is too theoretical oriented that the young graduates do not get much opportunity to learn professional ethics and other soft skills that are essential in life. At the same time, when many of them proceed to do their management studies, they forget their engineering for all practical purposes. Unfortunately, post graduation and doctorate courses in engineering are more theoretical and are prepared by those who have learnt it in the same manner before. These courses only prepare an engineering graduate to be a teacher of some theoretical aspects of applied physical sciences and they would no longer be in a position to distinguish between science and engineering. Unlike in other professional courses, engineering has degraded itself to be worth of considering as a professional course. Thanks to the way it proceeded in India in the last few decades.
The degradation is too visible when you notice the eagerness of some technocrats who proudly declare them as management experts and not as engineering experts. They consider engineering as an inferior job. This is a peculiar situation in India. No engineer in high positions in developed nations would ever prefer to say like this. In fact this particular situation has created a situation in India that many engineering organizations are now headed by non-engineers.
If any one has failed the engineering profession, no one else should be blamed. It is the so-called engineers themselves who created such a situation in this country. By creating that kind of a situation they have knowingly or unknowingly made engineering a free-for-all profession with no value. That is perhaps the reason why the top brain engineers from the IITs and other such institutes are trying their level best to use their education to leave this country seeking better pastures elsewhere where they can use their talents and creativity in a better way !
India needs engineers who can work for India with honor and dignity. India needs to provide its engineers the opportunity to try out their skills without the hassles of constraints and pressure of opportunists. When that is possible, perhaps we could think of keeping pace with our neighbors like China.
At least we would be doing some justice to the million of youngsters who are hopefully spending their moneys and brains to acquire the basic skills in engineering. If we fail to do that, then it would soon be the engineering bubble that is going to burst in India !