"Today, we regret to inform you that you are spoiled," wrote Mohit Chantra, an Indian partner for the multinational corporate, in his article 'An Open Letter to India's Graduating Classes,' published in The New York Times. It was a wake-up call for India's new job market entrants and 70 percent of the readers of The New York Times article agreed to the facts that were put forth by the author. In the concluding lines, he wrote, "don't expect the gravy train to run forever, and don't assume your education will take care of you. Rather, invest in yourself - in language skills, in thirst for knowledge, in true professionalism and, finally, in thinking creatively and non-hierarchically."
Looking back to the past, early 80s was a difficult time for Indian graduates due lack of employment opportunities in the country despite good academics and scholastic abilities. The next decade saw gradual improvement as the economic reforms in 1991 helped Indian job markets in regaining its reputation with better opportunities for the graduates. Compared to those periods, today's graduates are sitting on a velvet cushion; with large number of companies setting up their operational centers in India. It is true that, the country has no shortage of opportunities and no shortage of degree holders. Then what prompted Mohit Chantra to write an open letter to India's graduating classes?
Validating Chantra's arguments, McKinsey Global Institute Survey 2007 exposed the quality of Indian engineering graduates by finding 75 percentages of students as unemployable. In the following years, both public and private agencies excavated the same ground, but to only come up with unchanged or more pathetic figures. While, in 2012 NASSCOM came up with similar statistics, 87 was the number given by a private agency to indicate the percentage of technical institutions providing poor quality of education in India.
India is the third largest higher education system in the world and it has the capacity to produce 1.5 million engineering graduates every year. Of them, close to one million engineers graduate every year and about 7.5-lakh engineers roam the streets without a job in hand. Considering that McKinsey survey is 8 years old now and the recent surveys have not come up with a better result, the cumulative average of last eight years would have been produced at least 60 lakh jobless engineers today, which is enough to give rise to a civil war in the country. As that has not happened yet, what is the reality?
What do Experts Say?
During the emergence of India as a hub of outsourcing business, an engineering degree was considered as "over qualification." Due to this many resumes were rejected as those belonged to people who spent four years in an engineering college. One of the master advices from career counselors to the graduates who were looking to get a job reads, "If you are applying for a call center, please remove the B.Tech/B.E degree from your resume." However, the BPO industry has evolved over the years and is now the oasis for engineering graduates; the industry has now adapted itself to accommodate - what they called them - the misfits.
Certainly, our engineering graduates are getting jobs. The only problem is that they are underemployed or underutilized as they are not equipped with the necessary skills that are required by the current industry.
Head of Placement and Training, M. S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore, Dr. Savita Konna, whose institute is known for its spectacular placement record says, "A strong curriculum that emphasizes on practical knowledge can develop graduates who can be placed on the floor from day one. It will help many companies that are spending huge amounts of resources on training the fresh employees." While campus recruitment giants like Infosys, TCS and Wipro are spending more than 2.5 lakhs per head to train fresh recruits every year, a better industry-institute relation can drastically reduce the time and cost for training fresh graduates.
"A serious knowledge about the market is missing in today's graduates. It takes six months to train and tune them for the job. If institutes can train students in current market trends, the training, which we have to give, can be taken off completely," says Sourav Chakrabarti, Senior Pricing Analyst, TE Connectivity. A survey jointly carried out by World Bank and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) found that only 36 percent of the employers are satisfied with the quality of engineering graduates and their job skills.
However, the booming IT sector and emergence of e-Commerce business has been creating plethora of job opportunities for our engineering graduates. One of India's finest e-Commerce companies, Flipkart, which is now also known for its strong presence in campus recruitment from the country's premier institutions, finds 1 out 8 students as fit for their requirements. "Along with soft skills, we look for students with brilliant coding abilities. Considering the fact that technology is changing at a fast pace and many engineering curriculums fail to place students in the right job as those are not providing the latest technical knowledge," says Adrianne Dominic, Senior HR, Flipkart.
What we have done?
We at Higher Education Review have a good understanding of the latest trends in this sector and believe that a comprehensive mechanism to rank engineering colleges in the country is vital. While the number of students aspiring for engineering education is rising exponentially with each passing year, and mushrooming number of institutions to assist them - many with innovative methodologies, it becomes a elusive task to pick out the big brands in technical education arena - the ones that can give IITs and NITs a run for their money. This has also enabled us to find out whether the so-called reputed institutions are coping up with the changes.
In 2014, when we came up with our Private Engineering College Survey, we listed Top 50 Engineering Colleges across the country. The success of our fist edition survey has helped us in getting more nominations from all over the country. Eventually, we have strengthened our approach to analyze the performance of Engineering Colleges. In this second edition, we have ranked Engineering Colleges by combining the scores of a perception survey with the addition of a factual survey, which is based on the data inputs provided by the institutes. While our expert panel consisting of top HR Managers and Dignified Educationalists analyzed and verified the data to list out 80 percent of the factual survey, the remaining calculations were done by analyzing the perceptual survey. In the factual survey, we have divided the scores among different aspects as shown in the info graphic to come up with a total score.
In this survey, we have found the best engineering colleges in the country with capability of producing next-gen technocrats. We have also tried to come up with some of the untold stories of institutions, in the page following the listings, and included their secrets to success. We strongly believe that it is important to bring names of such institutions to the limelight, so that, their ideologies and methodologies can inspire other institutions in the country to drive on a better path and help India come out of its cocoon to become a nation of technological brilliance.
"Today, B. E. is not Bachelor of Engineering. It is more of Basic Education as the present curriculum is not strong enough to make our graduates productive from the day one"
Dr. Savita Konna, Head of Placement and Training, M. S. Ramaiah Institute of Technology, Bangalore
"Most of our engineering colleges are not emphasizing on innovation and teaching latest technologies, instead, they are still on the grounds of rote learning"
Sourav Chakrabarti, Senior Pricing Analyst, TE Connectivity
"You cannot teach student the topics that are not relevant today by saying that you have created the course content earlier. There is no sense of relevancy in our curriculums"
Adrianne Dominic, Senior HR, Flipkart