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Abstract: A huge increase in the engineering graduates from India in recent decades potentially threatens the competitiveness of the

developed countries in producing high end goods, also holding a great promise for substantially increasing the level of global applied innovation. The key point at issue is whether the quality of Indian engineers will be high enough to actualize this potential. Three decades earlier most engineers were produced in the developed countries but today the contribution to the worldwide engineering pool from India is the second largest in the world (3.5 lakh/ year). The influx of new engineering graduates from India will profoundly influence domestic and international labour markets. The Indian industry has also become globally competitive in several sectors and can increase its global market share. A critical factor in this will be the success of the technical education system in India. This survey is to determine the quality of Indian engineers by assessing highly important factors which determine engineer quality.







Details of Reponses


Analysis of Responses










Introduction: India has already given to the international market very high quality engineers. A proof for that is the graph of the percentage of employees in reputed international organisations.

-11 Five Year Plan- Goldman Sachs Economic report Is this trend still continuing? Does India produce quality engineering pool? This study addresses these questions For every one of our people to benefit from the new employment opportunities created across the economy, we must ensure that every Indian is educated and skilled. Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singhs address to the nation on Independence Day 2007. The motive to develop the engineering education in India is based on three broad objectives


The 12 Five Year Plan for Higher Education This survey aims only at determining the quality of the engineering in elite and non-elite institutions in India and assessing their employment capabilities. This survey also characterizes various factors which generally are given prime importance in assessing the quality of engineering and engineers.


Methodology: Answering the question of What is Quality of education? is like answering to the question of What is life? (Kemenade et al. 2008) Defining quality in the service sector has been a big challenge and defining it in perfectly in engineering education has been an unreachable frontier. There is an obvious need in the provision of an education compatible with real needs in the context of continuous adaptation to change. Quran and Gryna (1980) considered any education(higher) process as below: Schools(Colleges) start with a raw material (students), apply a process (teaching) and turn out a finished product (graduates), although there may be some rejects. There are raw material specifications (minimum entrance requirements) and incoming inspections (entrance examinations). There is a process specification (curriculum course outline), process facilities (faculty laboratories, textbooks), process controls (reports, recitations, quizzes) and final product testing (examination). It is with these above mentioned factors that the survey has been analysed. A clear chart of the influencing factors is given below.

The analysis is carried out by questionnaires distributed online to the students of various elite and non-elite institutions and personal interviews with experienced faculty and subject majors.

Analysis of responses: 1. What is the difference between an engineer and an engineering student? This question was asked to examine the efficiency of the students in knowing what their present and future roles are. A few interesting responses have been attached with the report. It is seen from the responses that more than half of the students believe that an engineering student is a bud being trained to all external stimuli to turn into a colourful flower (Engineer) in the future. A few responses showed concern over the belief of turning into a colourful flower since their claim was that they weren t poled to global standards.


What do you feel about the standard of engineering education in India? 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Very High Not upto Global Standard Low Miserable

Most students feel that Indian Engineering education has not matched the global standard which is also reported well in surveys by various expert groups. There are various reasons behind this feeling by the students and also many challenges in standardizing the education since there are about 1800 engineering colleges operating on full strength in India. The sanctioned strength and the net strength followed do not match in most colleges. The NAAC( National Accreditation and Assessment Council) has been taking untiring efforts to maintain the quality of engineering in the country. Another question that comes to the mind is whether the colleges are properly surveyed and is the policy strong enough to prevent the establishment of th colleges with poor facilities? Yes the 11 five year plan stresses only in improving the enrolment of the th students and expansion of the number of colleges but the 12 five year plan now stresses more on quality. The NAAC strength in assessing colleges is not effective because of another major reason which is their strength is very small compared to the number of colleges. Efforts to improve number of IITs and NITs in India are also an important factor to improve the engineering quality in all the regions.


What do you think is an ideal student to faculty ratio in an Engineering (Undergraduate) Programme?

g f e d c b a 0 5 10 15 20

a- 8:1 b- 15:1 c- 24:1 d- 40:1 e- other f- 80:1


The respondents have made the answering based on the class strength but ideal ratio followed is 26:1 as th reported in the 12 Five year plan. The World Wide Average is 13.5 which is almost half of what India has; this is a serious problem endangering quality. So the survey team set on to investigate the reasons for this menace. The number of engineering undergraduates coming out of Indian Engineering colleges is far high than the number of Master and PhD students passing out in an year.

The PhD to undergraduate ratio in India is 1321:1 which is the highest in the world. This has resulted in large number of vacancy positions in the colleges reducing the quality and increasing the Student to faculty ratio.


China has recently progressed from the same situation by increasing the number of PhDs coming out annually and now leads the world in the number of PhDs. The National PhD Initiative introduced in 2004 has made an [1] impact to improve the number of PhDs. The number of Masters degree students coming out is 20331 . The ratio is 20:1 which is also not encouraging since the world wide average is 8:1. Efforts such as stipend, teacher training, NETs and research collaborations will improve the vacancy fills in India thereby reducing student to faculty ratio. 4. Have you seen any marked improvement in infrastructure of your college during your study?

Yes No

65% of the respondents say Yes to this question which proves that there are efforts to improve the infrastructure facilities. Still a few are not satisfied with the improvement in the infrastructure. Each IIT in the country gets sanctions worth 70 crores a year to improve their infrastructure. The TEQIP programme, DST-FIST, patnerships with internationally renowned bodies like the UNESCO, WHO etc. are initiatives to improve the infrastructure facilities in all technical institutions.

Despite the efforts for improving the facilities in the overall infrastructure of all the elite and non-elite institutions, the overall infrastructure is still low. So the AICTE has taken steps to set stricter norms to the newly established institutions. 5. What is the state of faculty knowledge, execution and research in your college? 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Excellent Appreciable Not all the faculty are equally good Miserable

The response clearly indicates that the quality of the entire faculty is not really good but the students have to understand that all faculty handling classes have passed the NETs (National Eligibility Test). But of course it is to be realised that the execution qualities or the teaching efficiencies of the faculty are mostly not assessed before appointing them. The promotions of the faculty are also based on certain norms like the number of PhD completions under the particular faculty and student feedback. However the faculty need to be re-trained in their own areas with updates by faculty exchange and faculty development programmes which is now organised for faculty in India. The number of publications per faculty/year in India is less than one (0.65) considering total Engineering colleges and is 1.67 in elite institutions. This in the case of US, China or Brazil is with an average of 2.78. This number can only be increased if the facilities are increased. The citations per article is also very less in India. This also needs to be improved.

This shortage not only needs to be covered but also should be covered with quality faculty.


Are you willing to take up a Masters/PhD programme after your Bachelors' degree?

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Yes- whole heartely No No other way, I have to Other

Whole hearted support for the Masters/PhD programme from the students is encouraging and will definitely reduce the dearth of faculty pool in India. It will also improve the specialization of the students in different branches leading to the improvement applied research and development in various sectors. 7. Have your problem solving skills improved during the programme?

Yes, definitely by leaps and bounds Yes, but only to a certain extent No, I am not satisfied with the improvement No, I am the same

It is clearly seen that the students are partly satisfied with the improvement in their problem solving skills but there is no leaps and bounds development which is generally witnessed other countries. The approach to engineering in India is mostly theoretical; the number of problem based papers is low. The indicators to these is the major failure in the employability tests conducted by Aspiring Minds, the decreasing pass out rate in GATE exams, low marks in all International math and science tests etc. The number of student papers and th publishing coming out of India is far below the world average. [1] says that only 1/6 of the Indian students participate in the faculty research project where as it is 1/2 in the US and 1/3 in Russia and Brazil. The students of India are also satisfied with their improvement in oral communication and teamwork but their exposure to non-technical papers is relatively very low. The number of students directly engaged in research work for enterprises is very less. All the above factors can be improved using proper integration with industries and other higher research institutions for research and other practical work.


Is the present engineering curriculum satisfactory to produce global quality engineers?

Yes No

55% of the engineers say Yes and rest 45% say No which proves that the students are not satisfied but also are not willing to change themselves according to the changes in the curriculum. Some curriculum changes were proposed when we conducted personal interviews with senior faculty. Some universities in India have different approach to the courses they handle and have been successful. Some successful attempts are: All IITs give students electives concerning other branches to improve interdisciplinary knowledge. They have practical project papers right from the first year. Some private institutes are also following this model and have appreciable success rates.

The Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology develops engineers especially for Space Research work in the IRSO. These students have to work for ISRO after studies. The Manipal University, Mangalore is a world class institute for its MBBS course. Now it has also gained attention in the Engineering arena since the introduction of courses where students are offered to take half of the course in India and the rest in some other country (especially in countries like US, UK, Germany and Australia) which compels them to follow international standards. The BITS, Pilani institute has a research based curriculum and is the most respected institute in India after IITs. It provides ample opportunities for its students to participate in all worldwide engineering competitions and also has many collaborative ventures with enterprises. Similarly the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT), has a six month compulsory training programme for its students to get hands on experience. Another important factor is the medium of instruction. The National Basha Initiative has driven many courses to be conducted in native languages. Anna University, Chennai is a forerunner is establishing courses in Tamil language. IIT-Kanpur has courses in Hindi too. The survey team also compared the curriculum of MIT, Stanford, Harvard, IIT-Madras and a normal engineering college. It shows that there isnt a big difference in the curriculum but the approach to it only varies. A problem/application driven approach is followed in the above universities and practical applications of the subject are stressed. This is the link which is missing in a normal engineering college which is to be rectified. Faculty whom the survey team interviewed stressed a change in the mind-set and approach of the faculty in handling a course to the students. Faculty also complained that they are not being properly guided in handling courses which is to be rectified by the administrators of the institutions.


What do you think is the money that the college administration from Public Funding spends on your education? Includes classes, facilities, funding for projects, offers, cost on industrial visits, scholarship, Wifi etc.

40 30 20 10 0 $800 $200 $1,800 $2,000




30000 25000 20000 20000

Public expenditure on Higher Education in USD 25000

16000 15000 10000 5000 5000 0 US Brazil China Russia India Sweden Finland UK World Wide Average [1] Since accurate data is not available for Engineering Education, common higher education data is specified. The students have indicated $200 as the amount spent on them but the actual is close to $1560. This amount is no match to the developed nations or even the world wide average. There is a huge difference in the amount spent on elite institutions in all the countries. In India it is $ 8000 in the IITs. China has now developed a model to increase the number of elite institutions in the country making it more than the non-elite ones. Following this India has also decided to improve the number of NITs and IITs. 4300 6000 1560 13000 13216

Research & Development spending:

The above graphs indicate the amount of research spending by India is far below world average and its only 1.01% of the GDP. Recently to develop research funding schemes have been started in all the elite National and State Universities as well as MS Collaborative Research courses have also begun. One interesting fact to be noted is that two countries Brazil and Iran have a research spending/ student more than the developed countries. Considering only the BRIC countries the research spending per student is given as follows:

Research Spending in USD/Student

1400 1200 1000 800 600 400 200 0 Brazil China Russia India 630 149 91 1337

There are lot of initiatives by CSIR, DRDO, TEQIP, DST and other private institutions to promote research and funding in India. World class centres with state of the art facilities have been developed in various varsities in India with the help of this initiative.

10. What percentage of your class gets internships?

60 50 40 30 20 10 0 >10% <5% 20-50%



No. of Internships per 100 students

80 60 40 20 0 IIT NIT State Universities Affiliated colleges 15 5 75 60

The number of students getting internships in IITs and NITs is large when compared to other colleges. One of the primary reasons for this low number is that the students are not aware about the internship opportunities. The IIT-Madras student initiative called has made an impact among the students about intern opportunities. The Work Internship Placement (WIP) model proposed by the Boras University will help to improve the number and quality of internships in the country. The important points of the model are given below: (1) Participating enterprises and institutions propose online their in situ engineering placements (2) Placement proposals are revised and approved by the WIP administration (3) Students access the web and apply for placements according the their curriculum and interests (4) Enrolled enterprises automatically receive an email with a link to examine the curriculum of the applicant every time a student selects that offer. Once the enterprise receives all the applications, the students are interviewed and, possibly with the help of coaching professors, the enterprise carries out its selection. (5) Whenever a student has been selected for a given placement, a coaching professor from the school and an engineering coach from the enterprise are assigned to the student. (6) The internship starts with a meeting between the coaching professor, the enterprise coach and the student. During this meeting a working plan is defined in detail, pointing out the tasks that will be carried out by the student. (7) During the internship, those three partners are in contact at regular arranged times under the supervision of the coaching professor. (8) After the internship, the student is assessed by the coaching professor taking into account the enterprise opinion (this is carried out by contacting the enterprise coach).

11. Faculty salary < Average placement package

Fine, this happens in education They last for a long time No tension job, they only deserve this How will we get good professors?

The above tables indicate the results of IIT-Bombay in 2005-2006. The difference in salary packages at other universities in still high. But the result shows that most students opted for Fine this happens in Education which indicates that the faculty in India still consider education as a service to the mankind. Some say that they have a long tenure and it is a no tension job but the students have to understand that a Professor needs to keep updating himself and the cost incurred on that is very high. It is relatively a relaxed but potentially a very serious job, which determines the output quality of any sector in India. Initiatives are also taken by the government to maintain the salaries of the faculty. The Visiting Faculty programme and the Chair Professorship programme also help in a very effective way to solve the dearth of quality engineering faculty in India. To stop the drifting of quality faculty to other countries the government is providing a lot of concessions and opportunities for prospective Masters/PhD students to continue as faculty in premier institutes in India. The Research Associate initiative is one such programme which has attracted young people to join universities as research and teaching faculty.

12. Do MOU's improve quality?

50 40 30 20 10 0 Yes, not for all Yes, but one is not well informed I feel it is an unnecessary spending OTHER

The question was asked to know the involvement of the students in International affairs. The students comment that they are not informed was analysed. It was seen that most colleges update the website regarding the MOUs they sign within a fortnight. It is left on the website for quite a long time to popularise it. Any queries regarding the opportunity are answered by qualified persons in the Centre of International Affairs. Now the survey team wanted to review the quality of these MOUs. It was recognised that the UGC has already set norms that if an Indian University signs an MOU with a foreign institute, the foreign institute should be within the first 500 rankings in the world. So these MOUs are of high quality and the survey team would like to recommend to the students to keep updating their knowledge on the opportunities available by referring to the college website. These faculty and student exchange programmes, summer fellowships and semester abroad programmes will definitely improve the abilities of students and faculty. 13. Is the present assessment system completely satisfactory?

Yes No

Most students were satisfied with the assessment system. The unsatisfied respondents suggested a more practical test and a project based test. Some suggested avoiding very long answers. Some subject experts suggested an open book exam with tougher questions which has been successful in few international institutions. Otherwise the assessment system is operating completely without flaws, which needs to be continued for good results. A surprise to many international surveyors is that the number of Engineering pass out to engineering enrolment ratio in India is close to .78 whereas it is just .55 in the US and other developed countries.

Other issues: 1. The tuition fee charged in India for any professional course in monitored and regulated and it is very less when compared to any other country in the world. Thus India is a forerunner in establishing low cost high quality education.


The scholarship and educational loans in India are on a increasing trend since 2000. Although this is increasing, the number of students availing loans is very less. This is also because the interest rate of loans in India is very high.

This needs to be reduced to further improve the quality and enrolment in technical education. 3. This survey has stresses the importance of practical teaching and learning. The government of India now has taken a few initiatives to standardize this effort through the internet. Some of the most important ones are:

Gyan Dharshan: Launched in 2000, this is a bouquet of channels that broadcasts educational programmes for school kids, university students and adults. Courses are contributed by IGNOU, IITs and UGC-CEC. Gyan Vani: It is a bouquet of radio channels which broadcast programmes contributed by IITs and IGNOU. National Programme for Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL): Approved in 2001, NPTEL is a joint initiative of the IITs and IISc. First and second phases of the programme have developed and uploaded digital course content for nearly 500 engineering/science courses. E-journal consortia: AICTE-Indian National Digital Library in Engineering and Technology (AICTE-INDEST) is a consortium set up by the Ministry of Human Resource to enhance greater access and generate annual savings in access of bibliographic databases. UGC has also launched its Digital Library Consortium to provide access to peer reviewed journals and bibliographic databases covering subjects such as arts, humanities, and sciences.

Networking of higher education institutions Education and Research Network (ERNET) promoted by the Department of Information Technology, Government of India, provides communication infrastructure and services to academic research institutions in India. It is undertaking networking projects such as AICTE-Net, ICAR-Net and UGC-Infonet to provide internet and intranet facilities.

Recommendations: Curricula need to be updated regularly and a more practical approach is to be used. Electives should be introduced at a very early stage not forcing but blending the course with the interest of the students. Faculty to student ratio and Master/PhD to Undergraduate student ratio should be increased to provide global competence. Regular faculty assessment and development programmes should be conducted. Proper Work Internship Placement model should be developed and followed. Student awareness about various opportunities should be improved by regularly providing updates through the University Website. Faculty should actively involve themselves and the students in research programmes. Proper investment of money on infrastructure (i.e.) developing laboratory facilities rather re-laying good roads inside the university. Increasing funding for student research and their activities like national symposium, conferences etc. Using Visiting Faculty and Chair-Professorship programmes properly to develop the Departments. More projects should be given to the students removing some burden from the academia to increase problem solving skills. Industrial visits and Training through partnerships. Having direct relationship with enterprises to solve their problems by new approaches. Lavish spending on elite institutes can be stopped and diverted to other institutes. (One IIT- 168 crores of government grants/year).

Glossary: 1. 2. 3. World Wide Average= Visiting faculty- One who is a subject expert and does not have any formal link with the college except lecturing on his subject Chair-Professor-A well renowned person who heads the Department for a short time to develop courses and facilities.

4. 5. 6. 7.

Elite Institutions- IITs, NITs and State Universities. Non-elite institutions- Private and affiliated colleges. PhD- Doctorate of Philosophy Masters- M.Tech, M.S. or M.E.

Conclusion: After assessing all the factors the survey team is convinced that the quality as of now is not up to the global competition but a lot of initiatives are taken to improve and maintain quality of Engineering education in India. There is a need for the industry, government and academia to formulate a strategy for engineering and science education in India. India has the potential to be a leading research and design hub in the world. We need to have a mechanism to identify important areas/ disciplines that should grow and develop policies and institutions that facilitate this. There needs to be a high level think tank that reviews the higher engineering and science education system in India and provides direction for future growth. Along with this the student involvement in online programmes may also help to improve quality of Engineering Education in India. References: [1] GETTING THE QUALITY RIGHT: ENGINEERING EDUCATION IN THE BRIC COUNTRIES by Prashant Loyalka, Martin Carnoy, Isak Froumin, Rafiq Dossani and Jandhyala Tilak. Rao, U., R., Revitalising Technical Education, AICTE Review Report, AICTE, Delhi, 2003. Engineering Education: Its Early Beginnings, Ministry of Human Resource Development website URL:- (Last accessed on January 3, 2007) Sarkar, Higher Technical Institutions for the Post-war Industrial Development, 1945. IIT Bombay Annual Report, 2005-6. Academic data base of all IITs Academic and Financial data from Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal 1985- 2006 Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani website, URL:- (Last accessed th on April 17 , 2013) 12 and 11 Five year plan for higher education Van Kemenade, Everard, Pupius, Mike and Hardjono, Teun W.'More Value to Defining Quality',Quality in Higher Education, 2008, 14: 2, 175 185 N. Logothetis, Towards a quality management of education, Total Quality Management & Business Excellence, 1478-3371, Volume 6, Issue 5, 1995, Pages 479 486 Ananad, Geeta. 2011. India Graduates Millions, But Too Few Are Fit to Hire. Wall Street Journal, April 8. Available at: educationsystem.html Balbachevsky, Elizabeth and Simon Schwartzman. 2011. Brazil: Diverse Experiences in Institutional Governance in the Public and Private Sectors. in W. Locke et al, (eds.) Changing Governance and Management in Higher Education. Spinger, Vol. 2, part I: 35-56. Banerjee, Rangan and Vinayak P. Muley. 2009. Engineering Education in India. Macmillan Publishers India.
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