Engineering Overrated

Over the past decade, India has gained the international reputation of producing quality engineers in astonishingly large numbers. For instance, in 2005 India produced 200,000 engineering graduates, about three times as many as the United States and twice as many as all of Europe. However, even more astounding is the fact that by 2009 this number will go up to as high as 450,000. The concern is – whether this exponential growth is really conducive to the interests of the Indian society or not.


Engineering is a specialised profession; however, the rapid increase in the number of engineering graduates is indeed a matter of grave concern for us. Many would counter this by saying, that profession is a personal choice and increasing number of engineers is better for the country. Growth and development are essential for any nation, but when the process responsible for it, itself begins eroding the basis of human development then it becomes inimical to the interests of the society. The increase in engineering aspirants is doing the same.


Majority of Indian families associate a great sense of honour with the engineering profession and convey the same to their children from a very young age. This unnecessary mental impression along with the presence of a plethora of coaching institutes for engineering entrances most often give the child an impression that even at the tender age of 14, he’s mature enough to decide the path of his life. Such a decisive ability may exist in some gifted children, considering the number of children deciding their career path as early as class 9th – this impression of being decisive and focussed in many cases can be entirely false/a facade and maybe even a momentary phase.


The coaching institutes are thriving on this naivety of children and dogma of the society. The scenario is such that several coaching institutes across the nation have introduced programmes for children as small as 13 years in order to catch them early/young. The intention behind many of these programmes, as stated in the brochures, is to enhance the mental prowess of the child and to prepare him /her for science and maths competitions in a competitive but conducive environment, indeed a noble and beneficial initiative one would say, with no mention whatsoever of “Engineering exams”. Enormous number of families send their little children for these programs. In fact, many a students, who are greatly encouraged and motivated by their parents, even leave their home towns and join such programs, living in hostel and PG accommodations.


But, all this is too good to be true, what really happens is most often ignored. Majority of parents are ignorant about how these coaching institutes slyly mould the tender minds of the young children with great ease to give them the delusion that engineering is the only profession apt for them. All this for greater business prospects – after all almost 95% of these former students return to become students of these coaching institutes as a result of the deceptive “trust” and “rapport” that got developed/transpired as a consequence of the devious interactions between the student and the teacher.


A counter-argument at this point may be that children are being imparted scientific knowledge and being exposed to information about career options, which are vital and beneficial tools in the globalising world. So, can imparting scientific knowledge and disseminating information be inimical/detrimental to a social system? Yes, it can be.


When the process of imparting knowledge has malice associated with it, such as financial interests, or when the information being disseminated, say by the media, reaches a point wherein it becomes over-bearing and highly influential in taking decisions about lives of children – then comes the time when it threatens the crux of human development, that being the young minds and the future of the nation.


The business prospects in such coaching centres are extremely bright and consequentially they become profit-oriented ventures. The numbers speak for themselves: out of an average of 63 lakh Class 12th passouts, more than 9 lakh students appeared for AIEEE 2008 and around 10 lakh for AIEEE 2009. Approximately, 3.1 lakh students appeared for IIT JEE 2008 and 3.8 lakh for IIT JEE 2009 with an average annual increase of 25% in the last 3 years itself.


These coaching centres are there in plenty and they leave no stone unturned in their efforts for getting admissions. However, in pursuit of their vested interests they start behaving in a manner antagonistic to the motto of these centres i.e., welfare of the students. Most of them encourage complete ignorance of school studies and in worse cases absenteeism from school. Such practices are highly unpropitious to the students as well as the education system as a whole. In fact, the condition is hysterically insane and inhumane as well. A lot of students, who wish to crack the IIT JEE, in order to secure admission at a reputed coaching institute take “extra coaching” in order to prepare for the Admission Exam of these coaching centres. This vicious circle has only one consequence – an increasing burden on the young student’s mind.


The cankerous growth of these coaching centres along with their increasing un-healthy practices is highly detrimental for any student. A young student’s mind shall lose all the innovation, creativity and exuberance if it is burdened in such a fashion. These along with reducing social contact and increasing isolation, these students certainly approach a state which is socially antagonistic and against the ethics of human development.


The increasing number of engineering graduates is just the silver lining; the real situation is quite different. The consequences/repercussions can be catastrophic as it is directly hampering human development that too by playing with the youth of the nation. The situation is indeed deceptive, grim and alarming.


It calls for a stop in being deluded by the facts and gaining the correct perceptive. Engineering is indeed OVERRATED.


Abhishek Jain

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