Declining Standards of Technical Education

There has been mushroom growth of self-financing engineering colleges throughout the length and breadth of the country after 2005. As per AICTE Approval Process Handbook 2013-14,currently there are 3696 Engineering Colleges offering B.Tech. Courses with an intake of around 18 lacs. In addition, there are 17 IITs and 30 NITs with an intake of 9617 and 15485 respectively in these Institutions. Such an expansion of undergraduate level has created miss match between demand and supply of technical manpower. The expansion has been to that extent that majority of Self Financing Engineering Colleges are not able to fill even 50% of the sanctioned intake and adopt all kinds of cheap methods to attract students for admission in the Engineering Colleges. Observations reveal that majority of students join engineering colleges because of the glamour attached to a degree in our country. According to research from over 5000 students and 500 teachers working in various self-financing Engineering Colleges, the analysis reveal the following:
  • There is increasing absenteeism and indiscipline in most of the engineering colleges.
  • Around 35-40% students do not attend classes on regular basis.
  • 50-60% students joining B.Tech. courses are of lower merit.
  • More than 40% students are very poor in basic sciences and humanities like physics, chemistry, mathematics and English and do not possess cognitive abilities to comprehend what is been taught to them.

  • A good percentage of students are not able to qualify paper pencil test, which give lot of emphasis on rote learning, asking students to “solve 5 questions out of 8” like the practice prevailing in General Universities.
  • Neither faculty nor students are serious about practical work in laboratories and workshops.
  • Majority of students bring false certificate of having undergone practical training.
  • Project work is also executed as a group activity rather than developing competencies of problem solving in the students.

Above scenario of technical education in most of self-financing engineering colleges has resulted in declining the standards of technical education and majority of graduates coming out from the system are deficient in conceptual understanding of concepts and principles, design and drawing skills, estimating and costing skills, analytical abilities and even the soft skills required for effective functioning in the world of work.

An interaction with students reveals that due to poor academic background, they are not able to cope up with the studies and majority of them are placed in compartments in basic sciences and are under terrible depression with the fear that they may not be able to qualify the course of studies. Majority of students are also not able to get employment for years together.

It is therefore essential that:

  • Further mushroom growth of engineering colleges purely being opened/run for commercial motives should be stopped. The focus should be to stabilize the existing institutions with specific reference to availability of faculty and the quality of technical manpower produced.
  • It is also essential to limit the intake of a maximum of 60 students in each discipline with at least 60% marks at 10+2 level. This is being suggested so because industry, by and large, do not hire graduates below this level for employment. This will also help in planning Teaching Learning Process more effectively.
  • There is a need to revise the curricula of engineering courses so that these are industry-oriented and practice based. While revising the curricula, it should be kept in mind that laboratory and workshop experiences may match with the professional life of engineers.
  • It is also essential that the faculty working in the engineering colleges should be exposed to industry in a phased manner so that they are able to relate the instruction with actual work-bench requirements. The faculty should also be given induction training and continued exposure in pedagogy for logical and chronological delivery of instructions.
  • Teaching-learning process in the engineering colleges should lay greater emphasis on graded laboratory and workshop experiences, discovery learning, research work, prototype development, developing processes and systems, disassembly-assembly experiences, provide live and meaningful project work to the students to develop their problem-solving skills. Computer aided learning packages, virtual/simulated laboratory experiences etc. can also help a great deal to avoid boredom and making teaching- learning process more students centered.
  • Current system of examination consumes lot of time and is also dominated by paper-pencil type examination. It should lay greater focus on practical work, practical training and project work. It will be worthwhile to appoint a working group to deliberate on the issue of bringing improvements in the system of examination at under-graduate level to develop desired competence in the students.
  • It is also essential to look into the quality of M. Tech. and PhD. courses being offered by several Institutions with specific reference to the faculty teaching these courses and the type of research work being done by such Institutions.
  • To give impetus to research and consultancy, each department of an engineering college is supposed to offer research and consultancy services to the industry/community and is also required to offer continuing education programs for working technical manpower for effective functioning. This will also help in developing symbiotic linkages with industries.
  • Engineering Colleges which have turned out two batches may be asked to get accredited by NBA with in a period of five years, failing which the affiliation of such colleges may be stopped.
It is hoped that Government, AICTE and Universities may take corrective actions for improving the system of technical education.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s