Engineering is a career path which is adopted by a considerable number of students today. Unfortunately, there has been a mindless expansion of the technical education system and the proliferation of Engineering Colleges has harmed the Indian Education system a great deal. The number of engineering and technology institutions increased from 157 in 1980 to 5,194 in 2012 and this number increased to 5672 this year. The approved admissions jumped from about 4.75 lakh in 2007-08 to 10.66 lakh in 2011-12. The intake per million population increased sharply from 152 in 1993 to 888 in 2011. Of these, about 85 per cent are in unaided private sector. In Andhra Pradesh, of 900 technical institutions, 763 are unaided. Tamil Nadu has 852 self-financing technological institutions out of a total 955 colleges (both as per AICTE data).
In the past, the demand was outstripping the supply and it was a sellers’ market due to availability of fewer seats. The situation, however, is rapidly moving towards a buyers’ market. Even the IITs and NITs are proliferated by the Govt. Indeed, with the increase in population the number of colleges are to be increased, but, in the proportion of the increasing population should be the criterion. The private self-financed institutions are harming our education system and it has become everyone’s cup of tea to get a degree. When I passed my matric and took admission in +1 (non-medical) my friends used to discuss the difficulties awaiting them and they took arts or commerce in the end. Of course, engineering is not easy. You have to pass 50 odd subjects in 4 years of Degree.
But, some of these private institutions have their own syllabus, their own examination board and the papers are evaluated in the institute itself. So, they are making it easier for their students to pass the exams. But, this system is going to produce engineers which are not competent at all and are going to survive a long time in ‘the market’.
The growth of engineering colleges has not been guided by any discernible policy till date. There have been several concerted efforts to bring some order and logic to the growth and quality of technical education system. These have not become successful due to opposition from vested interests. Since, the market structure is undergoing rapid transformation in India, projection of technical manpower requirements based on market demand only will not be possible at this stage. However, it should be possible to evolve satisfactory empirical approaches to plan the growth of technical education system expansion at least for the next 5 to 10 years.