Higher education landscape in India : ten years down the line

It is strange, it’s dangerous and someone needs to take notes for discussion and resolution before it’s too late. The decision maker and policy tuner for higher education in India need to pitch in and solve this peculiar problem. 

While looking into the ongoing trends of admission into CFTIs especially in the master programs (M Tech and MS), one would find a typical trend of low admission. These said seats are offered with a full stipend to the tune of 12.5 K, hostel accommodation, and the best faculty one can afford in this country with a chance to opt for on-campus placement sessions. As per my knowledge, any CFTI makes no differentiations between grads/undergrads students while facilitating the campus utilities in terms of academic and other benefits. 

The trend of low admission into the higher engineering degree started around 2015 and is now so prevalent that all IITs, NITs, and IIITs are opting for spot admissions. It is strange to note that even the top of top IITs, like IITM and IITB are also resorting to the option of spot admission. After completing around 12 rounds of admission through COAP, IITs are compelled to opt for spot admission. Similarly, the CCMT after finishing its 5 rounds of admission process and 1 national spot admission, the number of seats vacant in CFTIs like NITs, IIITs, and other Centrally funded institutes is just staggeringly high. 

One reason may be an uprising job market to absorb all the grads hence the number of higher degree takers is less. But going with the current trend in the IT market, it’s also difficult to comprehend the situation. One can also ask why only IT jobs, yes that is the reality in most of the CFTI campus placements, the on-campus recruiters are mostly from IT/ IT allied sectors only. Going with the flow, since the last decade, the private institutes have closed almost all branches of engineering and allocated all their resources to IT/CSE allied Graduate coursework. So, the engineering graduates’ landscape in India is largely CSE/IT-dominated these days.  Also, I found that a good amount of M Tech in CSE/ IT/ Data Science seats in IITs/IIITs/NITs are yet to be filled even after the completion of the spot round. It’s strange and same time worth pondering. Coming to other branches the situation is worst, in fact, a few branches in all NITs/IIITs/CFTIs have no takers or at least 90% of seats are vacant. This is the situation after offering spot admission to all candidates with a minimal GATE score. 

Saying so if the number of admissions and the job (campus recruitment) is the primary factor for an institute to offer/ or close a program, then this is a very dangerous trend. Imagine a country like India devoid of experts in “X” stream of engineering after 10 years down the lane, and this is going to be a reality within the foreseeable future. If you look into the number of vacant seats and the branches therein, the instrumentation and fabrication branches are almost empty. So, who will lead the Mission of making my country a manufacturing and designing hub? What about all those aspirations of making the country self-reliant and manufacturing power-house?  

The same is the story for other branches like Aerodynamics, Chip Designing, Power Electronics, VLSI, Communication Engineering, Advance Manufacturing, Metallurgy, Material Science, Space Engineering, Structural Engineering, Biomedical Engineering etc. Where are we going to feed in the technical skilled manpower, who will lead the research in these said areas, who will tinker new innovations and products with all these global competitions?

So many unanswered questions, and contradicting viewpoints.

We need to think about and resolve the fate of the future of Indian techno-output.