New Delhi: It is not the right time to be an engineer now in the country. More than 60 percent of the eight lakh engineers graduating from technical institutions across the country every year remain unemployed, according to the All India Council for Technical Education.
This is a potential loss of 20 lakh man days annually. That’s not all. Less than 1% of engineering students participate in summer internships and just 15% of engineering programmes offered by over 3,200 institutions are accredited by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA).
All this points to the huge variation in standards of technical colleges in the country, a majority of whom churn out graduates who are not employable.
To buck this trend, the ministry of human resource development is planning a major revamp of India’s technical education.
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The strategy involves rolling out the single National Entrance Examination for Technical Institutions from January 2018, linking annual teacher training as a must for approval of the institution, mandatory induction training to enrolled students and annual revision of curriculum.
According to a senior MHRD official, NEETI (for admission to engineering programmes) will be the first exam to be conducted by the National Testing Service (NTS), which will be completely computer-based. “In all probability, NTS will be ready by January 2018 to conduct the NEETI as well as National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical courses. The exams will be conducted multiple times in a year,” said the official.
As per plans, the first NEETI exam is likely to be scheduled for December 2017-January 2018, followed by another one in March 2018 and the third on May 2018.
The official added that NTS will also conduct entrance test for IIT.
The paper setting will continue to be with the IITs. Only the conduct of the exams will be NTS’s responsibility. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), under MHRD, has also set broad targets for raising the standards of technical education, which includes immediate improvement of employability to 60% from the current 40%, and to ensure that 75% of the students get industry exposure in the form of summer internships.
And before 2022, 50% of the programmes in the technical institutions shall be accredited through NBA, and unless there is credible progress annually, institutional approval will be refused. According to the planned initiatives of the AICTE, the selection process will be based on the single entrance test by an agency authorised by MHRD and there will be a ban on conduct of such exams by any other institution or university or agency.
The institutions from now on will have to make “suitable changes in the curriculum every year” and the process shall be completed in the month of December each year ahead of the coming academic year. AICTE has asked the institutions to prepare an action plan for implementing these initiatives along with financial implications before June 2017.