Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Indian Engineering Education in Peril

Guest post by Dr. Rahul Choudaha,
Dr. Rahul Choudaha is an international higher education professional based in New York. He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Denver and holds an MBA and an undergraduate degree in Engineering.

The gap between quality and quality in Indian engineering education is widening. The recent decision of the Washington Accord to turn down India’s proposal to graduate from the provisional membership to full membership highlights the lack of global competitiveness of the Indian engineering education system. The primary reason for denial relate to the “concerns over the quality of faculty members and students in Indian engineering programs.

The number of seats for
AICTE (Indian regulatory body) approved engineering colleges grew from 115,000 to 653,000 (CAGR of 19%) in the ten-year period from 1997-2007. Private institutions contributed to the most of growth however, it came at the expense of quality. This is clearly evident from the reports of unemployment among engineers on one hand and on other hand there are concerns of future unmet demand by the industry. Thus, there is a significant quality gap between what industry needs and what engineering education is providing.
One of the biggest challenges for Indian higher education is that institutional practices consider quality as an option and not a requirement. This means quality does not figure as a strategic priority. In addition, over-regulation and dysfunctional reward system further stifles quality orientation. This is also evident from the number of engineering institutions opting for “voluntary” accreditation of quality offered by National Board of Accreditation (NBA). This means given a choice, Indian engineering programs are not striving to integrate quality assurance in their academic offerings.

The problem is evident, urgent and systemic. It calls for solutions that more comprehensive and collaborative. Without the support of industry support, regulatory reform and institutional transformation, Indian engineering education is at the risk of created overeducated and underemployed youth.

Indian quality assurance system in engineering education requires an overhaul. A recent report by UNESCO,
A New Dynamic: Private Higher Education, argues that "quality mechanisms must find a balance that ensures high levels of provision while at the same time not constraining appropriate innovation that responds to the evolving public and private education sectors."

1 comment:

  1. I would strongly recommend all institutions under the WBUT (West Bengal University of Technology)and under the aegis of AICTE as quality of Engineering Education is strictly monitored and the practise of benchmarking is practised.
    I wonder why such doubts about quality of Engineering Education should exist given the the talent pool of India as China, i am given to understand, has gone through the burgeoning of engineering education institution as well in the same period !!!
    unemployment exists in all sectors for some reason or the other so engineers cannot be an exception. In conclusion i would like to mention, being in charge of Student Relations Cell of a reputed engineering college of India (ADAMAS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY), we need to be proud of what India has achieved within a short period of time and engineering course from our institution has led to happy individuals having organic careers! so where i s the problem?