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Change in Thinking - The Only Way to Secure the Future of Indian Higher Education System

Author : Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran, Management Thinker and Founder-Editor, Healthcare India

Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran

Dr. Vikram Venkateswaran ,Management Thinker and Founder-Editor Healthcare India

Satish (name changed) was a final year engineering student at a mid-tier engineering college. Four years ago when he joined the course, things had looked very promising. His father who was a small town shopkeeper had put all life savings in the engineering course for his son. Initially, things were looking up. The previous year the college had decent placements, with the average student receiving almost Rs 3, 00,000 as salary from the IT industry.

It was on this calculation that Satish's father had put his life savings in the course. But now 4 years later, when the time had come to receive the rewards of the investment, the climate is very different. Global economic conditions had slowed down hiring in IT industry. New technology trends like AI and Automation had added to the slowdown. The traditional models of IT support were falling away. Digital had made an impact and which overall resulted Satish in facing the prospect of a jobless start to his career.

The scenario above is playing itself out in most mid-tier engineering colleges across India. So what has gone wrong? Let's look at the US which produces around 1 lakh engineers per year for a $ 16 trillion economy. India, on the other hand, produces 15 lakhs engineers for a $ 2 trillion economy. Most of the engineers we produce are not employable. They were finding jobs in IT only due to massive training institutes much like the Infosys campus in Mysore. India had around 1500 engineering colleges in 2005. Today we have close to 3500. Andhra Pradesh has almost 700 of these colleges. Even before automation, it is estimated that 30percent of our engineers never found any jobs. The lucky ones that did found very low paying jobs are compromising with salaries that had been stagnant for almost 10 years.

Despite our best efforts, there is almost no demand for engineering jobs in India. The earlier mass recruiting sector was manufacturing, recruiting from the core branches of Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical. But, manufacturing is stagnant at just 17 percent of the GDP. So the core branch placements have become very difficult. The new mass recruiter is the IT sector. It grew from scratch to almost 5 percent of the GDP in 25 yrs. IT employed millions of engineers. Now, IT is also coming to saturation, only good Skilled IT Engineers are in demand.

"If you look at the sectoral composition of the Indian economy, most of the sector does not need engineers. Tourism is 10 percent of the GDP, does not require engineers. The financial sector, Trade, Hotels, and Restaurants do not require engineers and requirement in Health, education, Agriculture is also almost negligible." says Madhavan Satagopan, Technology Advisor & Business Strategist, Cognitive and Human Intelligent Systems.

IT is also coming to saturation; only good skilled IT Engineers are in demand.


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