Chandrayaan 2: Is Indian Higher Education System Prepared for Tomorrow?

India is all set to begin its second affair with the Moon with the launch of Chandrayaan 2 on 15th July. Chandrayaan 2 is a fully indigenous mission carried out at an estimated price of Rs 603 cr for the spacecraft systems and Rs 375 cr for the launcher GSLV MK-III with heavy involvement from the private sector.

But then, is the Indian higher education system ready for the future? Perhaps not currently, if no corrections are made to the course.

Unfortunately, the higher education system in India is in a true crisis, especially in engineering education. It is separated from sector, society and the nation’s needs and ambitions. In creating young engineers, it seems to be short-sighted and insufficient to be innovative in addressing current society’s technological demands. Yet, particularly in the last two or three centuries, we have experienced the mushrooming of engineering colleges. Approximately 1.5 million engineers pass engineering colleges every year. There is a significant concern about the employability of these new engineers, especially those who pass the universities with obsolete curricula, bad infrastructure and laboratory equipment, and inadequately qualified teachers. Although the engineers are faced with such a severe job crisis, the majority of Indian parents continue to compel their kids to follow engineering.

Only a handful of learners from top IITs, NITs and a few other top professional universities, who are properly equipped with the necessary resources, equipment and facilities, are taught to succeed in not only having good employment with great wages, but few even manage to begin their own businesses. The tale is dismal for most of the other new graduates. Many engineers end up taking non-engineering employment. This is borne out by a McKinsey study from 2014, which states that only a quarter of engineers were employable in India.There are other reports that put this figure below 20%. A more latest article, National Employability Report–Engineers 2016 by Aspiring Minds, says that approximately 80% of engineers are unemployed even for a profile in the software services or sales engineering industry and only 6.5% and 3.67% are employable in core design engineering and software products respectively.

Generic abilities and professionalism are vital characteristics for graduates of engineering in the current competitive setting. To meet their requirements, the sector needs up-to-date skill sets from engineering graduates. Unfortunately, on this count, most colleges fail. Due to unprofessional, profit-only leadership strategy, the quality of education in different institutes continues dubious.

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