Though engineering aspirants still flock to the south, the scenario is gradually changing with new colleges coming up in other parts of the country.
In an era of choices, engineering still dominates as a favoured discipline. There are 3393 engineering colleges in India with a capacity of 14.85 lakh seats across 36 courses approved by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). Of the total number of colleges, 65% are in the south and 35% in the north.
With the government adding new Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and National Institutes of Technology (NIT) to the existing list in tier II cities, and with the birth of more private institutes, are we witnessing the emergence of newer centres of engineering excellence in cities such as Indore, Jodhpur, Jaipur and Bhopal? Also, with newer streams like biomedical engineering, bioinformatics and environmental engineering being offered, are these unconventional combinations gaining in popularity?
RK Shevgaonkar, director, IIT Delhi, responds: “Actually, there are not too many new hubs in engineering education. When you look at non-IIT colleges, there are mainly cities like Bangalore, Pune and Ahmedabad, which have clusters of engineering colleges. The situation is driven by demand and supply. These are IT hubs and, therefore, have many engineering colleges.”
As for engineering courses, he says, “Courses like telecom and computer science have many takers. There are students who are inclined towards and opt for bio-informatics, biotechnology and bio-medical, but the numbers are not large.” Besides, he adds, students join traditional engineering courses at the graduate level and then those who are interested in bio-informatics or biotechnology or biomedical engineering opt for it at the MTech-level, where their engineering background comes of use. Shevgaonkar further says that students opt for environmental engineering but “it’s not top priority” as placements are better in other streams.
S Sadagopan, director, International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, opines, “There was a time when the south had one-third the population and two thirds the number of engineering colleges in India. The skewed distribution is changing a bit with few colleges coming up in north India as well. However, good students still flock to the south.”
According to him, the last 50 years belonged to information technology and the next 50 years will belong to biotechnology. However, biotechnology does not yet have the scale and demand of IT. “Biotechnology needs infrastructure, facilities and deep knowledge. The wealth creation benefits are more indirect — new drugs, new medicines, new crops, preservation of food, and so on. On the other hand, IT translated business processes into a large number of jobs, less specialised, which required bright students with a couple of years of work experience,” adds Sadagopan.
Though the south remains the hub of engineering even today, SS Mantha, chairman, AICTE, feels it may be getting saturated. “There are colleges coming up in states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. While Bihar, West Bengal and the Northeast have few engineering colleges, and, hence, there is a scope for growth.” He also points out that in a new trend students are opting for civil and mechanical, while telecom and electrical/electronics engineering continue to be popular choices.
- Source: TOI