Engineering colleges need a Midas touch

Tamil Nadu had 211 engineering colleges affiliated to Anna University in 2005, which more than doubled to 495 by 2015 thanks to the boom in 2008 and 2009.

Published: 13th June 2022 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th June 2022 06:00 AM   |  A+A-

Anna University

Anna University (File Photo | EPS)

Real estate and manufacturing sectors may have emerged from the throes of the pandemic-induced inertia but engineering jobs in the two traditional streams of civil and mechanical seem to have lost their sheen. The news that at least 37 engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu, the Mecca of technical education in the South, are looking for complete closure of the two streams while 234 colleges seek to reduce the intake of students is hardly baffling. The fact is that several engineering colleges in the state are bleeding.

Tamil Nadu had 211 engineering colleges affiliated to Anna University in 2005, which more than doubled to 495 by 2015 thanks to the boom in 2008 and 2009. Today, however, the number stands reduced at 440 with several poorly-run colleges shutting down for want of students, amid steeply rising operational costs. In 2021–22 alone, 20 colleges downed shutters and another eight are looking to wind up this year.

Three years ago, when colleges in Tamil Nadu struggled to fill up even half of the total seats of around 1.7 lakh, AICTE chairman Anil D Sahasrabudhe had squarely put the blame on the high number of colleges in the state. In addition, a general drop in standards of education in colleges as well as inferior campus placement, and the increased competition from private deemed universities, had left them gasping for breath. Today, the situation is pretty much the same with colleges awaiting a Midas touch. There is a crying need to revamp the syllabi of engineering courses to enhance the employability of the students.

As the job market in the IT sector continues to be good, colleges should  start courses in new-age streams such as artificial intelligence, big data, cybersecurity, machine learning, and internet of things. Streams such as agricultural and biomedical will continue to be in demand. A dynamic curriculum that can accommodate quick changes will help colleges in making students more relevant to the industry. They should also have regular conversations with business leaders to get the pulse of the fast-changing requirements of the market. Going forward, non-availability of manpower should not cripple India’s economic growth.


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