Image for representational use only. Image courtesy: Quartz India
Refuting the Modi government’s tall claims about Skill India, the recently released National Employability Report on engineers says that over 80% of engineers in India are unfit to take up any job in the knowledge economy. The 2019 annual report titled “National Employability Report: Engineers” was prepared by Aspiring Minds, an employment assessment agency with experts from various countries.
As per the report, Indian engineers lack the relevant digital skills including the advanced tech skills like artificial intelligence, machine learning, data science and wireless technologies among others that the companies require. Only 2.5% of engineering graduates have the skills in artificial intelligence and only 5.5% have the basic programming skills, the report found. Simply put, overall, only 1.5% of Indian engineers have the required skills for the new age jobs.
This points to the flaws in the education system that focuses on theory-based knowledge. Engineering is an applied discipline. Engineers learn primarily by doing, not only by reading and listening. However, only 40% of engineering students in India perform internships and only 36% undertake projects outside their assigned coursework. As a consequence, the engineering discipline in India is very theoretical. The report was based on a sample size of more than 1,70,000 engineering students from more than 750 engineering colleges in India.
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“The past nine years have brought no change in the employability of Indian engineering graduates. India’s higher education system is in need of systemic change,” the report said.
It further read, “The government of India needs to prioritise higher education and undertake long-term policy interventions in the next 5-10 years to ameliorate the low rate of engineering employability.”
The report also said that since majority of engineering graduates from India do not have enough skills to compete in the knowledge market, what did the “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) do for the past years”. PMKVY was launched in July 2015 and Rs 1,500 crore was allotted to equip youngsters with handful of skills. Again in 2016, a revamped version of PMKVY was launched aiming at providing training to 10 million youngsters and Rs 12,000 crore had been allotted.
The data, however, shows that only 1.4 million people were trained by the National Skill Development Counsel (NSDC), said a report by Deccan Herald. Only 0.9 million people were certified and 0.1 million people have actually gotten placement constituting only 8.5% of those who underwent the skill programmes.
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