KOCHI:When Arun Mathew (name changed) joined engineering, he had big dreams and was all set to let out the ideas screaming aloud in his mind. But, reality struck him hard when the classes began. "It was a struggle. I had trouble keeping up with the syllabus. The lectures went by in a blur and by the time I realised what was happening, the course was over. The only thing I was left holding was a basketful of papers that I hadn't cleared," he said.
If Arun found the syllabus challenging, Rahul Sasi, an ethical hacker, found it lacking. "I could get everything and even more on the internet. I found the syllabus wasn't helping me to hone the skill I possessed. However, I decided to drop out when the college authorities refused to let me join an internship programme offered by a startup," he said. The reasons may be many, but the number of students failing in engineering course is alarming!
According to statistics, in 2016-17, of the 37,391 students who enrolled in engineering and technology programme, around 10,000 failed. In 2015-16, the number of students who failed was over 15,000. The number of students who enrolled that year was 41,389 against the total intake capacity of 62,713. The academic year 2014-15 saw 17,876 failures while in 2013-14, it was around 20,000.
Lack of aptitude seen as main hurdle
Experts say the 2016-17 data seems to be comparatively better than the previous years because a lot of students had dropped out by the second year. So, if you take into consideration the number of dropouts, the figures are really dismal.
The reasons are many, says Biju Scaria, placement officer, Mar Athanasius College of Engineering, Kothamangalam. “One of the primary reasons is lack of aptitude. Many students join engineering programme just to satisfy their parents. But they end up with 25 to 30 papers to clear by the end of the programme,” he said.
Another factor is the inability to cope with the syllabus. Biju says students who have scored high marks at the Plus-Two level, fail to get good marks because they are unable to follow the mode of instruction.
“In Kerala, the most common language of instruction is Malayalam. At school, teachers explain everything in Malayalam and even give notes. All the students have to do is mug up the notes. But once they join professional courses like engineering, the scenario changes and so does their performance,” said Biju. Another factor is the lack of a strong base in mathematics.
According to him, self-financing colleges are also responsible for such a large number of failures. “They are not bothered about quality. All they want is to fill the seats,” said Biju.He said only 60 per cent of the students is actually eligible for the course. “And these students successfully clear the programme. The rest either fail, drop out, don’t appear for the exams or leave the course midway and join arts and science colleges,” he said.
However, with the implementation of the credit system, the number of failures will come down in the future. “It’s a filtering process. The students will be promoted to the next semester only if they achieve the right credit,” he said.
Another factor that affects the performance of the students is the freedom that they get once they join the professional colleges, says James Varghese, placement officer, Cusat.