Every month there are series of articles and research reports stating the employability challenge of engineering graduates of Tamil Nadu. The state today approximately produces 15 million fresh engineers year on year from approximately 500 engineering institutes in Tamil Nadu. Being a student employability catalyst and enthusiast it has always been paining me to see Tamil Nadu ranking the least in the engineering employability among all other states in India though we rank number one in terms of number of engineering institutes. Also report also states close to 50% of the first year student engineers are not able to proceed towards the second term. Recently the latest article talks about around 50% of the engineering seats vacant in India and craze towards engineering decreased year on year.
As an entrepreneur of an education initiative I interact with lots of academicians on a daily basis to understand the reasons and what best can be done to address this challenge in Tamil Nadu.
Though there are multiple reasons which can start from policy to permits to procedures to people and for time being I am not going to discuss the macro things .One of the main reason which was highlighted to me was student’s mentality and their mind set .This was a shocker to me when I heard it from few senior academicians. It was also discussed close to 40% of the students who enter into engineering are not the right fit and we cannot do anything about them and rest is 30 and 30, one is a top cream and balance can be moulded.
Immediately I thought for few moments and asked myself few questions. If a candidate has crossed all minimum qualification criteria as defined by the policy guidelines to get a seat it’s not the candidate or the student has to be blamed may be the policies and procedures .I am of the opinion that the fingers should be turned towards us and not on them .
Second when people commented on the mind set of students the only question which was running in my mind and which I have voiced out at times also is if a student can see a hero in cinema which is of 3 hours or from any external options we being in the academic field for an average of more than 3 hours a day for 3 to 4 years in a life cycle of student can’t we inspire them to find a role model within us. I only see the constant thirst for a role model is always there in the students mind and unfortunately we are not there to quench it.
In our survey while we interacted with few students we found friendly behavior of a faculty has huge dominance in a faculty getting and gaining respect in the minds of the students.
Also we all know the decision of choosing a particular department of engineering or even engineering domain itself is not a choice by students but by parents or peers. Institutions mostly directly jump into curriculum without creating an excitement of the department or engineering in the early stage of the student life cycle .Later placements and job pressure is only dumped on them in the subsequent years. We are trying our best in packaging and selling and not beautifying the core within.
The challenge is even bigger in smaller towns of Tamil Nadu where even if we assume that all the technical competencies and soft skills are possessed by the students the awareness on the market changes and how to hunt for right job is still not there.
With the life cycle of any particular skill set shortening year on year as more and more companies are moving towards cloud and consumption overall not being so promising the companies focus on optimization and rationalization to increase the RoI at constant demand it’s very important to be alert as a fresh engineer .There are lots of companies which could be a potential start up for job opportunities in an upcoming sector which can reach the students only when market awareness is given to them at the right time.
We can also think about few policy decisions which could even be considered .May be any new companies set up according to investments should hire minimum number of fresh engineering graduates from the particular state year on year. Also minimum salary shall be fixed for a fresh engineering graduate like minimum wages fixed.
According to me employability challenge of engineering graduates has to be a self-directed arrow if we see students as reason. They are only a moulded product of what is available to them in the way it has embraced them.
I am sure change has to happen within for the change to happen outside.
The change can begin only by being the change and we are confident it has begun!