The electronics and telecommunication branch of engineering, also referred to as electronics and communication by some universities, has witnessed the highest number of closures across engineering colleges in the country this year.
This branch of engineering involves designing and manufacturing the hardware and software systems that run communication devices such as radio, mobile, television and computers.
Data released by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) shows that of the 1,354 courses approved for progressive closure in the academic year 2017-18, 84 degree, 76 diploma and 13 post-graduation programmes in electronics and telecommunication engineering are being shut down in the academic year 2017-18. Mechanical, computer science and information technology are some of the other branches that are also facing large scale closures.
Experts belive that the declining demand for engineering education, especially these branches of engineering, is to be blamed for shutting down of technical institutes and courses. The low demand is said to be the result of lack of core engineering jobs in the market.
For example, according to Rituparna Chakraborty, executive vice-president at TeamLease Services, a human-resource consulting agency, while there are many multi-national electronics and telecommunication companies operating in India, the bulk of engineering work of these companies is being done outside the country. “Very few engineering graduates work in their area of specialisation. Most of them go to information technology (IT) companies or pursue MBA,” she said.
While this gap in industry’s limited demand and plentiful supply of engineering graduates afflicts all the states in the country, Maharashtra is one of the worst hit. “The employment scenario in the state is not very conducive for engineering graduates. Maharashtra used to have many manufacturing units, but many of them have moved out. Most of the jobs are in IT sector, but scenario in this sector is also not very encouraging,” said Prasanna Nambiar, principal, Don Bosco Institute of Technology, Kurla.
Incidentally, with 103 courses closing down this year, Pune, the IT hub of the state, tops the list of districts facing closures.
There are other factors afflicting engineering education in the state. “Compared to southern states, Maharashtra faces an acute shortage of good quality faculty, especially in colleges located in remote areas. Besides, the students in the state have other options when it comes to professional education,” said Nambiar.
Kalim Khan, director, Rizvi Institute of Management Studies and Research, Bandra, blames AICTE for the problems. “The enmasse propagation of higher education was a bad idea. I am neither surprised nor disappointed by closure of the courses and the institutes,” he said.