Are India’s Core Engineering Disciplines Facing a Crisis of Interest?

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Engineer Working in Factory
Photo by Aurelien Romain on Unsplash

India’s engineering education is seeing a shift towards IT and electronics, moving away from traditional fields like mechanical and civil engineering. This trend suggests changing career aspirations and economic shifts. Concerns about neglecting traditional engineering are met with initiatives like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skill India’, aiming to balance this trend. A holistic approach to engineering education is advocated to ensure sustainable national growth and diverse skill development.

The Times of India recently published an article about a notable trend in Maharashtra, and likely throughout India, that’s shaking up the world of engineering education. More and more students are opting for computer, IT, and electronics engineering. This isn’t just a minor shift in academic choices; it’s a significant movement that reflects changing career aspirations, societal trends, and shifts in the job market.

Such trends in education are often a mirror to larger societal changes. They offer a window into the evolving aspirations of a generation and the economic shifts influencing these choices. The increasing preference for tech-centric streams over traditional engineering disciplines like mechanical, civil, and chemical is more than just an academic preference – it’s a statement about where the future workforce sees the most potential for growth, innovation, and job security. This shift in focus not only impacts the students and educational institutions, but also has broader implications for the industry and the country’s developmental trajectory.

The Changing Face of Engineering in India

For a long time, engineering in India was all about the classic fields like mechanical, chemical, instrumentation, and civil. These were the big guns that helped build our country and its industries. They were the heart and soul of engineering, leading the way in innovation and playing a huge part in making India what it is today.

But times are changing! In the past few years, there’s been a big move towards computer, IT, and electronics. In Maharashtra, these courses are now more popular than ever. So, what’s up with that? Well, it seems like a bunch of things are driving this change. The tech world is booming, offering exciting jobs, great pay, and a chance to work on cool projects. And traditional fields like manufacturing? Not so much. They’re important but haven’t been growing as fast.

And then there’s how we see these jobs. Working in a sleek, modern office in the tech industry sounds more appealing to many than the tougher, hands-on work in manufacturing plants. Our education system is also leaning more towards these new, techy areas. Schools are focusing more on teaching skills for IT and computer-related fields, maybe because that’s what the job market wants right now.

Balancing Technology and Tradition

So, what does all this mean for the future? It’s great that IT and electronics are taking off, but we shouldn’t forget about the traditional engineering fields. They’re still super important for India’s growth and development. We’ve got to ask ourselves: Are we overlooking the value of manufacturing and other core engineering areas? Or are our policies too focused on the tech world?

MAKE IN INDIA

This is where initiatives like ‘Make in India‘ and ‘Skill India‘ come into play, especially for the manufacturing sector. ‘Make in India’ was launched with the vision of transforming India into a global manufacturing hub, highlighting the importance of industrial sectors and aiming to stimulate growth in areas like automobile manufacturing, textiles, ports, aviation, and more. Similarly, ‘Skill India’ is a move to train millions of young Indians in various industrial and entrepreneurial skills. Both these initiatives are crucial in reviving and emphasizing the importance of manufacturing and traditional engineering sectors.

We need a balance. Sure, the technology sector is exciting and full of opportunities, but we also need people who can build bridges, design machines, and work in the manufacturing sector. These areas are just as important for a healthy economy and for keeping our country moving forward.

Embracing a Diverse Engineering Future

It’s fantastic to see how much excitement there is around IT and electronics right now. These areas are super hot and are shaping what the future looks like. But, let’s not forget about the other engineering disciplines that have been like the rockstars of India’s growth story for so long. What we really need is for our education system and the big policy decisions to spread the love across all engineering fields. It’s like making sure every player on a team gets a chance to shine. If we do this right, India won’t just be a superstar in technology, but in all sorts of industries and development areas.

Engineers of tomorrow need to be like those all-rounders who can juggle different skills – a bit of technological know-how, some classic engineering smarts, and a whole lot of creativity. This mix is what’s going to help us tackle the big issues, such as climate change and sustainable urban development.

Therefore, as we move forward, it is necessary advocate for an educational system that balances the new with the old, the digital with the physical, and the theoretical with the practical. We need to push for policies that equally support advancements in cutting-edge technologies and the revival of core engineering sectors. By doing so, we can ensure that every kind of engineer is valued and supported, contributing to a future where India continues to grow and thrive, not just in the field of technology but in every facet of industrial and societal development. This comprehensive growth is what will truly define our success in the bigger scheme of things.

We’re really keen to know what’s on your mind about this topic. Do you see things the same way, or do you have a different take? Drop us a comment and let’s kick off a chat. It’s your insights and viewpoints that will really spice up this conversation!

4 COMMENTS

  1. Its aabsolutely correct and very sad situation. Core engineering is the essence based on which all innovations and aspirations of engineering depends

  2. We hv to understand that Technology (IT) is only an enabler for faster intelligent seamless precise remote smart deployment of core engineering … Technology cannot substitute physical goods and services. So we should use this ‘techcraze’ as an opportunity to become a global leader in providing physical goods and services. Our govt should incentivise those who take the challenge and risk going against the tide for future benefits

  3. What I think is core sector is the superior than technology sector as all the equipments of technology sector have been made by core sectors so core is always above than the technology in my mind. We need to change the policy and build a strong policies about the core sector.

  4. Very good outside perspective. What drives students mostly away is the lack of exciting opportunities and payscale in the so called traditional or core engineering sector. A few months back there was an induction program in our college in which the placement coordinators were talking about payscale. A newbie from the core sector asked for payscale in one among the core engineering discipline for which the answer he got was a maximum of 7.2 lpa. This was happening when the placement coordinator mentioned that the maximum bagged by the electronics was 24 lpa. Soon the poor fellow gave a loud reflection that he might have chosen the wrong discipline. This is the condition of those that have chosen core engineering. Even though they do the dirty work. This has mainly been brought down by those who employ them who don’t pay as well as they deserve. And then there is the lack of exciting opportunities in these sectors. For a person to achieve a respectable position in a private company in these core sectors a person will have to work in a contract firm for 4-5 years for a meagre sum which many often comes below 10k per month. Now for someone who has taken loan to complete his education will be starving to survive. Then after all these hardwork if he is lucky he may find an employment which might fetch him about 30-40k per month. Now when he compares with his it and electronics peera they will be earning almost ten times that. Then there is the issue of lack of intresting opportunities. There is basically no innovation happening in Indian core sector companies. It’s not the students fault. Those who laments the lack of students in these sectors should make opportunities in these sectors attractive.

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