Higher Education Review ›› In My View

Save our Engineering Souls (SoES)!!! Need of the hour

By Prof. (Dr.) V.R. Raghuveer , Dean- R&D and HoD - CSE Department, Geetanjali Institute of Technical Studies | Wednesday, 09 Aug 2017, 10:32 IST

Engineering education is losing its sheen due to the lack of interest in the minds of students. The scope for engineering is far more than what is been thought these days and the engineers have to be made in such a way they should feel more capable than their peers doing other courses. However, the education system in practice across the academic institutions of the country primarily focuses on mark/grade based assessment wherein the learners are evaluated based on their performance in exams. Since many students know how to tackle these exams, most of them succeed in getting good marks thereby making it difficult for the recruiters to identify the real talent. 

With the institutes aiming to get recognitions from national and international accreditation boards to boost their business, they forget the very basic stakeholder of the system, “the students”. A good engineering institute should nurture the students in order to realise their passion and make them advance in their domain of interest. Instead, the students were motivated to take up placements in sub-standard companies for meagre salaries. Engineering is not about studying something, rather it's purely about “learning something by doing”. 

The primary objective of engineering education is to give more importance to practical subjects because of the more the engineer's practice, the more they understand. It is these practical subjects that give the engineers the insights about a typical real-world problem. This also enables them to understand the problem scenario and think of solutions to address them. Not giving due importance to practical subjects turn leads to creating engineers who are not industry ready. 

Also, the evaluation scheme should take into account the creativity and innovative approach proposed by the student towards addressing real-world problems. Since the evolution of IT industry, the focus of the institutes is to place as many students as possible in IT companies irrespective of their potential levels, background, passion and so on. It is because of this placement rush, students tend to prepare themselves only for the placements without developing all-round engineering skills. Aristotle once said that “Engineering is the art of converting things in nature into a form usable by human being”. But the modern-day scenario demands the engineers solve social problems through technology. An all-round engineer is one who is capable of analysing the problem, design and develop the cost-effective solution and also improve the solution based on the feedback. However, the engineers of today are stereotyped only to work do the task given by the companies. This prevents them from seeing the big picture about the problem domain for which they are working thereby making them only to work on development rather than analysis or design. 

With the great demand for the engineers in the years to come due to Automation in every field, engineers of tomorrow should possess the confidence to face the society on their own and take up challenging tasks that can address bigger social issues in the fields like energy, healthcare, infrastructure, smart technologies, etc. In order to achieve this, the academic & research standards of engineering colleges should improve a lot. 

Engineering institutes should be run by visionary people whose dreams are far beyond admissions and placements. Every institute should become a resource factory where the students can learn by doing rather than just being sitting ducks in the classrooms.

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August Special 2017
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