Engineering education has been, is, and will be one of the most required streams of education in this world. Hence the demand for those courses will remain robust as long as mankind exists. Even the financial powerhouse of the world, the US, has renewed efforts to enhance the skills of its engineers.
As opposed to twenty years ago, when the streams of engineering and seats available for those streams were limited, today we, in India, especially in the south, have a multitude of engineering streams and a whole lot of seats available. Earlier there never used to be much of a choice as the engineering colleges were state owned/ aided and most of the allotment was centrally done. The only eagerness was to find out whether an admission would be achieved or not. But today the scenario has changed altogether. With the arrival of self financing colleges and the opening up of the education sector, there are lots of seats available. In many places the supply outstrips the demand for the seats.
The status associated with an engineering student has diminished a lot since it is no longer perceived as an elite category. It is natural that with diminishing exclusivity, the image suffers. As my wife’s grandmother puts it: every other student seems to be doing engineering. Imagine the impression that youth will have about an engineering student if this is a granny’s opinion. Engineering has more or less given itself an image of a very general course as opposed to the image of a very professional course that it had a couple of decades ago.
With the proliferation of institutions, the variety among them also has increased a lot and it is only natural that there will be a gradation of the institutes. Time is not far, if it has not happened yet, that just like the B-Schools, the place of study, the college from where engineering is done will assume central stage than the degree itself.
All this underlines the importance of knowing engineering education more than having just a peripheral knowledge, to make a good engineer. It starts with self introspection. Answer the question as to why one is doing engineering. Here the parents also need to get involved because in many cases the parents are the actual decision makers. They direct the students to join a particular course and a college. It is very important that there should be a concurrence of ideas of the parents and the students before joining a course. The answer could be anything but the answer will determine the effort that one should put in to get into reaching the goal.
Earlier enrolling a student in a coaching centre was the only duty of the parent. After that the choices were limited as described before. Now it is more or less sure that any candidate with a semblance of responsibility will end up in the rank list and more or less secure a seat in some engineering college. But is that what is required? The selection should be able to fulfill one’s dreams. The parents and the students need to do much more than just prepare for the entrance exams. There needs to be more in depth study of what one’s aims are and how to fulfill them through this education. We will discuss about how to go about it in the next article.