It has been said, “The only permanent thing in engineering education is change.” This statement Reflects the influence of science and technology on our society and the response of academia to Meet new societal needs. Recent advances in manufacturing, materials and other subjects are making their way into engineering curricula. It will lead to better-prepared engineers.
There are some of the instances which show that there is a great difference between the rural and urban education imparted to the engineering students. One day, a student from Computer Science department narrated the story that few years ago; five M.Tech students of agricultural engineering from one of the top agricultural universities went to an Institute for a four-month internship. One day, during their internship, they had to show electric trice to some visitors at the college. While running it, a knob came off its switchboard. To fix it, someone asked one of the interns to get him, pliers. He brought a spanner instead! He did not know the difference between the two.
The main reason behind this is that these students during their B.Tech and M.Tech had never worked with their hands or had even seen farm machinery and did not know anything about simple workshop equipment. They had passed engineering examinations without learning anything of practical value. A research has been conducted which shows that only 6-7 percent of India’s engineering graduates are employable in the core engineering sector and these interns clearly were part of the trend.
I feel that it is not the students’ fault; the problem is somewhere in the teaching methodologies that are followed from ears. But with the change in time, teaching methods have also changed and made their ways to find best solutions for the students present in different areas. Now, there are good engineering teachers that provide the hands-on learning experience.
Also, some of the problems with engineering education have been created by information technology (IT) companies themselves. In the past, these companies have heavily recruited from Arya College and other good engineering college campuses. This resulted in making most of the students complacent and in bunking of classes since they knew that they will be taken by IT companies irrespective of their grades. With this attitude, it becomes very difficult for students to learn anything.
One of the ways forward is to create a great research and scholarship environment in engineering students and engineering colleges. This can happen when faculty and students work on problems of India — especially for rural areas. Providing basic necessities to 60 percent of our rural population is a huge technological challenge and R&D on this should come from Colleges like Arya. At the same time, emphasis should be laid on faculty spending time in the industry.
The future of India belongs to the younger generation. All of us have to do our bit to get them involved in improving the lives of Indians. If we do not do so, there will be serious social conflicts. Unless we can provide basic amenities so that the rural poor can live a meaningful life, we will never become a great nation. This is a great challenge for all young engineers and it is my dream that they will take it up to make India a better place to live and work.