Dear Director Sir,
A few months ago while reading an article in the newspaper, I came across a report published by AITCE stating that “60% of engineering graduates are unemployed,” and this sent a chill down my spine. It was disheartening to know that such a noble profession has deteriorated to such a level.
I was further dismayed when I received a call from one of my classmates who was struggling to find a decent job after graduating this year and finding it extremely hard to make ends meet.
Hence, I am writing to you as a proud and concerned former engineering student, who hopes to see engineering colleges become a space where aspiring engineers don’t just study but nurture themselves for the uncertain yet promising future.
It is essential for institutions to stimulate, challenge, build and support students’ capabilities and talents.
Engineering colleges should give their students a creative and liberal space to help them prepare for life which is waiting to challenge them at every level as they step outside its gates, and enter a world of brutal competition.
As you know, in today’s rapidly changing times, what is in demand today might not be relevant tomorrow. Therefore, it is imperative to prepare students with the right skills and abilities and simultaneously cultivate the right mindset. To achieve this, we will have to strengthen the colleges by being more receptive towards the needs of students by giving them a space for their thoughts to flourish and make suitable and effective academic interventions.
As a fresh graduate and professional, I have had the pleasure of viewing things from the academic as well as market perspective. Therefore, I am taking this opportunity to write a few recommendations and suggestions for your due consideration that I believe can be incorporated for the benefit of students.
1. Engaging Students in Administrative Work
Engineering colleges should have an internal internship programme where a few selected students are appointed as interns to the college administrative staff. They will get an opportunity to learn about their work and will be exposed to the day-to-day workings of the institute. They will also cultivate essential skills and learn the importance of communication and teamwork. Finally, it will ensure that they realise that the administrative staff works hard to keep any institution running smoothly, and will respect them more.
2. Research Projects on Social Issues
Why should an engineering student conduct research social issues?
Firstly, an engineer is someone who creates something that solves a problem for the society at large. Therefore, it is essential for any student who holds a professional degree, to view social issues carefully so that they can know about the current problems and understand them better. Only after we know the problem, can we find a solution.
Secondly, research projects are an excellent source of learning as they offer an opportunity to communicate with people to generate the data and then using a variety of resources to validate the data.
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3. Establish a Dedicated Forum in Colleges for Dialogues, Debates, and Conversations
College students are given a lot of opportunities to read and write, but they are not given enough time and space to speak, to share their views on issues that are prevalent in the world. Institutions should offer their students a space where they can participate in conversations regularly that are important not just from an academic perspective but as a society too.
Education is a tool to change society, and that cannot be done without teaching students how to question things and how to speak their views and thoughts.
This will also sharpen the communication skills of students, which is important because these skills play a very vital role an individual’s professional career.
Communication skills cannot be developed in a span of 3-4 months; they need to be built over the years with continuous support and opportunities. Many talented students are rejected in interviews due to their limited communication skills. Therefore, it is imperative that we establish a forum where this is done regularly and with proper diligence.
4. Dedicated Student Cells in Every College
Premier institutions all across India have dedicated student bodies or cells within their campus that groom students with necessary life skills like leadership, organisational building, ability to steer ideas and other crucial skills.
Therefore, I propose that such students cell be set up in all engineering colleges, which will be run and managed solely by students under the supervision of the concerned authority.
The student cell should be entrusted with a responsibility of forming a direct link between the director of the institution and its students, which will ensure that student representatives report students’ grievances, ideas, and suggestions directly to the director. Student cells should also be entrusted with a responsibility of supervising and regulating all student-related activities.
This is important because it is exactly how students will be groomed for their professional lives. It is only when we are shouldered with responsibility, we truly realise the value of our actions. An important point to note is that such initiatives also impress recruiters and increase the students’ chances of selection.
5. Create More Internship Opportunities for Students
In India, I have seen that many students get an opportunity to intern with certain organisations only due to their contacts and references, but then there are some who do not have the same “connections” and miss out on this valuable experience.
Therefore, engineering colleges should focus a lot on internships and give students all the necessary support required.
Internships are a gateway to placements and carry a lot of weight in one’s career if judiciously used.
6. Organize an Annual Business Mela
Business “Melas” or fairs give students a chance to show their entrepreneurial skills and sell things they have created. This will help students learn the basic skills of the trade and will also motivate them to build their interests and hobbies. This will also invigorate entrepreneurial spirit within students.
We all know that many engineering students do not necessarily become engineers, and therefore, they should be allowed students to pursue their hobbies and interests.
Also, this fair should be solely organised, managed and run by students.
7. Organise Educational Trips
Engineering colleges should actively take an interest in organising educational trips which will not only build enthusiasm among students but will immensely improve their learning curve.
Also, educational trips need not involve only visiting plants, industries, companies. Students can also visit government schools and NGOs so that students can realise how privileged they are and figure out ways to contribute to the society.
8. Interaction between alumni and current students
There should be frequent interaction between alumni and students where they can share each other experiences and help and guide and support each other.
(Written by Varun Singh)