Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why do we have so many Unemployable Engineering Graduates?

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I happen to read “An Open Letter India’s Graduating Class” written by Mohit Chandra in “The New York Times”. Mohit talks about five attributes – language skills, thirst for knowledge, professionalism, thinking creatively and non-hierarchically – that are lacking in most of the Indian graduate students. Being in this profession of teaching engineering students for over two years now, I can understand what Mohit is talking about. In fact a study by Aspiring Minds, an employee assessment service provider has came out with shocking numbers – only 18% of graduating engineering students are employable. This study also showed that Tamil Nadu engineering graduates are the least employable while graduates from Delhi, Bihar and Jharkhand showed highest employability quotient. But why do we have such a low number as far as employability is concerned? Here are my observations. 
I have been travelling a lot in the last one year interacting with students of 11th and 12th grade and also their parents in various states of India like Andra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu. In every program I attended, I use to give a presentation for 45 minutes to students to motivate them and then floor is open for questions that typically last for around 45 minutes. Some of the questions that I get during those interactive session is answer to the question – why is our graduates lack basic attributes? 
One of the questions I get regularly during my interaction with students and parents:
Parent: Sir, Can you please tell me the easiest branch of engineering so that I can “GET” my kid in that branch?Me: Why do you want to look for easy branch of engineering?The answer will one of the followingParent: My kid is not that good in studies. But we want to make our kid an engineer. So if we “GET” him a seat in easy branch, he can put less effort and become an engineer.Or the answer could be:Parent: If my kid can GET an engineering degree with less effort, which parent won’t want that to happen? 
Now don’t think that I am exaggerating. Every time I interact with 11th and 12th grade students and their parents, I get this question. Initially this question was a shocker to me but now I am used to it. 
Now the next frequently asked question:
Student: Which branch of engineering should I take?Me: What do you want to do after engineering?Student: Any Job; Nothing specific; it should pay me very well.
Now I am also used to this question that I know how to answer them. 
Now the point I like to make – if such students join for engineering will they work hard to develop the attributes that make them employable? Majority of our students join for engineering to get a “professional" degree and land up in some random job that may even have no relevance to what they just studied. There aim is to “just” complete the degree and “just” get a job. When one join engineering with this mindset, employability skills are set to take a back seat.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nair,
Where do we start...

We as a culture have always been followers.. We have been following customs traditions and what our neighbors kids are doing or have done.

We can't blame our parents cos they think they are doing the best by forcing their kids to study engineering or medicine, which for now pays the best.

There are many instances in Chennai TN, where kids who followed their dreams (a mechanic as a job) have shined. Life is tough and biyatch and to get ahead in the digital age it is going to be a bitch.

Education system in TN is effed up... I went to both Central board and TN state board... i have seen/felt the differences in the education system. TN state board does not allow creative thinking, teachers do not promote creative thinking. Grades are awarded for memorizing and reproducing.
Hence there is no encouragement for innovation.
So 18% of engineers from TN are employable is not a surprise and we have seen that in the current market.

So to end of this all I would like to say, I wouldn't want to blame my past or present or future for the problems we have...But in hope of a better future I hope all the readers of this blog will think beyond the box and hope that they will encourage their future generations to think, explore beyond the box/bun, encourage them to explore their environment, their society, their neighborhoods and follow their passion to build a better society.

Thanks.
Prem.

May 30, 2012 5:00 PM  

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