Over the last few years, there has been a steep decline in the number of engineering applicants in India. While the country is grappling with the issue of deficit of quality engineers, many experts have attributed this fall to the decline in the standard of technical education in the last few years. To stem this degrading quality of technical education and engineering, All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) had ensured closure of as many as 556 engineering courses or departments in 2015 only.
In a conversation with Careers360, Prof. Pankaj Jalote, Director, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology Delhi shares his insights over the falling number of engineering applicants in India over the last few years. In this interview, he also talks about various aspects of selection criteria along with different stages involved in admission procedure for undergraduate engineering programmes at IIIT Delhi. To aspiring engineers, he suggests that students should pursue engineering only if they are ready to learn not only the concepts, but also the practice, which involves building things, doing experiments and analyzing things.
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Excerpts from the interview:
Careers360: What is the selection criterion at IIIT Delhi for B.Tech programmes for academic session 2016-20? Is there any differentiating element as compared to other engineering colleges?
Prof. Pankaj Jalote: Selection for B.Tech programmes at IIIT Delhi is based on composite score of JEE Main scores and normalized marks of class XII in the ratio of 60:40. However, we have an innovative differentiating element in terms of bonus marks that get added to the students' JEE score before we create a merit list. The bonus marks are given for a variety of achievements of students, including NTSE, Olympiad, getting a medal in school games, IGNITE, etc. Bonus marks are given only for those achievements for which there is a verifiable certificate and there is no element of subjectivity.
Careers360: Would you like to share the total intake and annual fee for different B.Tech programmes? Please also share total programme fee (excluding hostel and food charges) for 4-year B.Tech course.
Prof. Pankaj Jalote: In 2016-17 session, we wish to admit 110 students in Computer Science & Engineering, 80 in Electronic & Communication Engineering and 60 in Computer Science & Applied Mathematics. We offer only three B.Tech. programmes out of which the one on CS & AM is the new programme starting this year.
The total annual fee was Rs.1,90,000 for 2015-16, but for 2016-17 it’s being considered for revision. Total programme fee for 4-year of B.Tech course is Rs.7,65,000, which is also under revision.
Careers360: Please share different stages of your admission process and annual timeline for the same.
Prof. Pankaj Jalote: Our admission process involves 4 stages. The first stage registration involves inviting online applications. During the second stage, we prepare a merit list based on the composite score of JEE Main scores and normalized marks of class XII in the ratio of 60:40. We also give up to 10 bonus marks to the candidates for their achievements in different fields like Olympiads, Procon Junior programming contest, sports, culture, etc.
The third stage is counseling in which admissions are offered to the candidates in order of merit list in different categories. When all seats are filled, a waiting list is prepared. Later, only candidates, from the waiting lists prepared during counseling, are offered admission against any vacancies created.
The fourth and the final stage is document verification. There is a joint counseling for four institutions that are under Delhi Government - IIIT Delhi, DTU, NSIT and IGDTUW. The first list of seat allotment is expected in June (will depend on how quickly CBSE announces the results of JEE). There are likely to be 3-4 rounds of admission process, and the students will be asked to join the Institute in the fourth week of July.
Careers360: What makes your campus life and academics interesting and distinctive from others? How is your pedagogy for B.Tech courses? Please also share total classrooms and outdoor learning hours during all four years of the engineering programme.
Prof. Pankaj Jalote: Although the institute aims to develop students academically, but parallely they also get to enjoy various extra-curricular activities. There are about 18 active student-driven clubs including the programming club Foobar and the software development club Byld, and other clubs like MadToes, AudioBytes, Ink., Trivialis, LitSoc, Tasveer, Hasratein, etc. These clubs regularly host intra-college competitions (academic as well as cultural) and sessions. Esya (technical) and Odyssey (cultural) are inter-college fests organized annually by the students. Our students also recently organized a TEDxIIITD event, which had a range of inspirational young speakers.
The main objectives of our B.Tech programmes are to prepare students to undertake high-end careers involving innovation and problem solving using IT, or to pursue advanced studies for research and academic careers, or to become an entrepreneur. Most of the courses have projects and research components, and are electives as well. This allows the students to effectively create their own degree programmes.
A student has to complete 152 credits of coursework and project. One credit amounts to about 35 hours of work. So, the degree programme requires a total effort of about 5000 hours. This includes contact hours - lectures, tutorials and labs, as well as self-study, assignments, projects, exam preparation, etc. The ratio of contact hours to total hours is about 1:3.
Careers360: How have been the placements at your institute for 2015 batch (batch size, number of offers, average annual package, number of international MNCs as recruiters, international offers, cross country roles, etc.)? Any sector/function specific trend that you noticed during the placement season?
Prof. Pankaj Jalote: As many as 190 students including both B.Tech and M.tech graduating in 2015 registered for placement. A total of 25 A+ companies and 55 A companies visited for campus recruitments. 80 companies made 201 job offers to our students, besides 27 internship offers (for 3-6 months duration). Overall average package offered to B.Tech students was 9.89 lakhs with the highest being 31 lakhs for an Indian role.
Each year, the campus placement witnesses companies coming from various segments like IT ,Software Consulting, Finance, Research, Development, and offer varied profiles like Software Developers, Research Engineers, Data Scientist, Business Analyst, UI/UX, etc. Among these IT & software companies hire a major chunk and software developer profile is offered the most.
Careers360: The number of engineering applicants in India has declined over last two-three years (reflected in JEE Main registrations). What could be the key reasons for this?
Prof. Pankaj Jalote: This cannot be the consequence of any one reason but an intermingling of various influences. First, over a period of time, students have understood that just having an engineering degree doesn’t assure you a job, now they are not ardent on choosing any engineering college unless they get admission in a decent college where it is not just about getting the degree, but about quality education. Second, the cost of engineering education has been on the rise, which makes the degree programmes unaffordable to many, and the return on investment (RoI) on an engineering degree has worsened now. Third, there is a greater realization that in a growing economy, there are opportunities in all sectors and therefore, students are willing to try out programmes in other disciplines.
Careers360: How has the value of engineering education in India changed in the last 3-5 years? How do you foresee undergraduate engineering programmes changing in future?
Prof. Pankaj Jalote: As stated above, students have become much more aware about the quality of education offered by different engineering colleges, and are no longer willing to invest a substantial amount of money in a poor quality college. The attraction of premium institutes has been going up while at the same time, many engineering colleges are closing down since they cannot fill in their seats, and hence have become financially unviable.
As we move forward, this churn will continue as we are producing many more engineering graduates than what our economy can employ. We still have more than 75 per cent of the engineering graduates as unemployable, meaning that they cannot be recruited even after an additional round of training. We hope to see increasing use of technology in engineering education, including use of online education, flipped classroom models, etc. We can also see increasing collaborations between industry and academia, which will make the education more practical and graduates more employable.
Careers360: Any message to engineering aspirants?
Prof. Pankaj Jalote: Study engineering only if you have interest in being an engineer, and you are ready to learn not only the concepts behind engineering, but also the practice of engineering, which involves building things, doing experiments and analyzing. If you are already clear that engineering is not of your interest or that you do not like getting deep into conceptual understanding of things or being a "hands-on" person, or that you want to do something else after engineering studies, then it may be better to explore other programmes, which are more directly aligned with your career goals.
Stay tuned to engineering.careers360 for more news and special interviews with engineering institutes directors.
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