Less than 20 percent of graduate engineers in Gujarat get jobs. In certain branches like civil engineering, the campus placement figure is abysmally low at 5%. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) data for 2015-16 reveals that out of 11,190 students who passed computer science only 3,407 got placed.
For the same year, out of 17,028 students who cleared mechanical engineering course only 4,524 got placed. Figures for other branches of engineering are equally grim (see table on page 9). No wonder, out of 71,000 engineering seats across the state, 27,000 seats remained vacant in 2016 in the admission process conducted by the Admission Committee for Professional Courses (ACPC).
Experts say excess supply of engineering graduates against demand, quality of education, huge gap between curriculum and industry needs and lack of soft skills are some of the reasons for poor campus placement record of graduating engineers.
Campus placements versus jobs
However, Gujarat Technological University Director Rajul Gajjar had a different take on the matter. She said, “It is a bit tricky to comment on figures provided by AICTE as they include figures only of campus placement. Many students go for further studies, while some get placed later on, so their figures are not recorded. Employment and placements are completely different aspects.”
Colleges in remote areas worst affected
GP Vadodaria, Principal of LD College of Engineering (LDCE) and ACPC member- secretary, feels that the scenario is not same in all the colleges. “You can’t paint all the colleges with same brush. To name a few, colleges like LDCE, PDPU and Nirma have a good track record when it comes to placements. It is only colleges in the remote areas whose fresh graduates find it tough to get jobs .”
Quality of teachers a big factor
Professor of electronics and communications at Vishwakarma Government Engineering College Alpesh Dafda said job opportunities are less compared to number of students passing out. “Besides, professors appointed in government colleges are well-screened through various entrance exams, but the scenario in private colleges is different. Self-financed colleges find it tough to find quality teachers. More often than not their teachers lack experience and have half knowledge which is passed on to students. Education and placements are the collateral damage,” Dafda stressed.
Engineers want more
Director of SAL Technical Campus Rupesh Vasani said, “Students pursuing MBA and MCA are paid peanuts in the name of salary which is between Rs 6,000 and Rs 8,000. However, engineers have high expectations. Even though companies offer between Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000, fresh engineers decline it.”
Vasani further said there was a time when the best of science students got into engineering as competition was tough. Today, engineering colleges have mushroomed to such an extent that aptitude or academic ability of students is no longer a criteria for admission.
Practical knowledge need of hour
Janak Khandwala, president of Association of Self Finance Colleges of Gujarat, said there’s urgent need to align course curriculum with industry needs. Also, colleges need to work out internships for their students and expose them to real world, he added. Sunil Parekh, strategic industrial advisor to several large companies, opined that there has to be continuous evaluation of the industry requirements. Industry and academia should come together to work out gaps between course curriculum and industry requirements to address this issue, he stressed.
‘Onus on government’
President of Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) Bipin Patel blamed the government for failing to provide job opportunities to qualified youngsters. “It’s a sad state of affairs that qualified youngsters have to live without jobs. It is the duty of the government to provide them jobs. Instead of reappointing retired government servants, it should give opportunity to 15 lakh qualified but unemployed youths.”
Lack of soft skills
Placement heads also stress on necessary soft skills to land the desired job. Training and placement head at SAL Technical campus Simple Joshi said: “Only 30% of the placement is based on technical knowledge, rest 70% is based on communication and soft skills of the student. It is not that there are no jobs in Gujarat, but students here lack in communication skills.”
‘Engineers are not labourers’
Dhruv Patel, a fourth year student of mechanical engineering at Nirma University, felt that limited number of large scale industries in Gujarat curtails the scope of high-paying jobs. “I strongly feel that there should be government intervention regarding minimum wages to be paid to engineers. Engineers are not unskilled labourers to be paid measly salaries. We pay our fees in lakhs to gain know how and should be paid commensurately,” said Patel.
Note: News shared for public awareness with reference from the information provided at online news portals.