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Ensuring Employability

Fee reduction and upgraded courses could help attract more students 

WITH the last round for admissions to degree courses in engineering ending a week ago, it has come to light that 548 seats in five engineering colleges had no takers. According to officials of directorate of technical education, almost 35 per cent of engineering seats have been left vacant, which is a big number. In the past several years a few seats in some courses did not find takers but the number was not so big. It is surprising to note that students preferred not to take admissions to All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) approved engineering courses. Goa till last year had around 1,200 seats in five engineering colleges, including Goa Engineering College at Farmagudi, which was increased by around 25 per cent to around 1,600 this year to accommodate students hailing from economically weaker sections. That such a big number of seats have remained vacant indicates that government’s move to attract EWS candidates to uplift them has failed. The authorities need to find reasons as to why so many seats have remained vacant.

While there were takers for all the seats in the Farmagudi-based GCE, the largest number of seats that had not takers was in Rayeshwar Institute of Engineering and Information Technology, at Shiroda, where a whopping 202 seats have been left vacant. The state-run GCE is a preferred institute as fees for courses offered by it are subsidised by the government. DTE officials have attributed the fall in numbers of admissions to students’ interest remaining static in Goa despite the fact that state’s population has risen over the last few years due to in-migration. However, this may not be the exact reality for the fall in number of admission as there is a growing feeling among parents and students that engineering courses in the state are not upto mark, with many students failing to get placements at on-campus recruitment drives. Problem has been compounded by growing fear psychosis among parents and students following reports that some industries, particularly in automotive sector, closing down and that their education may not help them get jobs.  

The failure to attract admissions to the engineering courses from students within the state should alarm the authorities, who need to take corrective steps to ensure that such a large number of seats do not remain vacant at least in future. It is high time that authorities addressed the concerns of the students and parents about closure of industries and employability. Besides, they need to take steps to raise level of teaching and courses to ensure that students are easily recruited at on-campus recruitment drives as well as they are equipped to shine on their own elsewhere. There are thousands of people who have passed engineering courses in the state who are looking for employment. The industry, on the other hand, has been claiming that it does not find adequately trained youth for employment. Is it because the courses offered in the state are not in tune with the requirement of the industry? If so, it is high time that corrective steps are taken and courses changed to suit the requirement of the industry to make them relevant.

It is disturbing to note that at a time when technology and engineering have been driving economy and creating job openings all around, students in Goa are refraining from joining courses offered by colleges in the state. Besides there being no jobs, parents feel investing in engineering courses does not give returns that they expect as many engineering graduates have to struggle for years in getting jobs in courses they have qualified. Many see that investment of Rs 1.5 lakh per year as fee and spread over four years is beyond their capacity with there being no guarantee of it giving desired “yield”. One way of filling the vacant seats in private engineering colleges could be reducing fees to an acceptable level. Private managements running engineering colleges and government authorities need to discuss the issue and come to an understanding over fee structure to ensure that maximum numbers of seats are filled. While ensuring that all seats get filled, authorities should ensure that courses cater to present-day requirement and ensure employability of students passing them.

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