A true story behind every engineering student
On March 13, 2016, Sonali Mansi, an eighteen-year-old engineering student from Bihar killed herself as she was failed in two subjects.
On March 11, 2016, T. Abhinath, a first-year student of a local engineering college in Chennai committed suicide.
On January 25, 2016, Puvala Prem Kumar, a fourth-year student in Electrical and Electronics engineering from Andra Pradesh succumb to death after he attempted to take his life owing to backlogs from previous semesters.
On December 27, 2015, a twenty-year-old engineering student from West Delhi took the extreme step as he was depressed by his performance in a particular subject.
This halfway list is nothing but a grave reminder regarding the plight of engineering students in India. The lucrative engineering degree that once dominated the professional market nevertheless continues to grip students and their parents as they think only engineering can retain their status in the society. But in the long run, the so-called “respectable” degree has turned out to be unrespectable paradigm as the majority of engineering graduates either end up doing odd jobs or remain jobless. Further, the alarming rate of suicides among engineering students proves that something is wrong somewhere. So, what has happened to our graduates? Aren’t they competitive enough to beat the market?
All is not well with our engineering colleges and students.
More than 90 percent of students who took up engineering in private colleges did it for the sake of parents and for a remunerative job. Many times, parents fail to understand the capabilities of their children forcing them to study engineering though they weren’t particularly interested in it. Nithin John, a third-year Mechanical engineering student in a reputed college in Kerala is passionate about Criminology but was compelled to take up engineering as his parents thought it suits him better. It took some time for him to come to terms with the course and also realised that his classmates weren’t different from him; “Majority of them also just joined the crowd”. Jeevan George, a final year Civil engineering student in a government college also has a similar story to tell as he was interested in pursuing a degree in Mathematics but ended up in engineering.
There are also a few faces that tell a different story. Arun John, a final year engineering student is “crazy” about cars that motivated him to take up engineering. Jerin Jose, a post graduate student In IIT Bombay is a hardcore technology fan who is interested in new innovations and ideas. But this is not the case with the majority of the students.
What happens in engineering colleges?
The quality education provided by the colleges defines the future of an engineering student. If a college doesn’t have proper infrastructure, qualified faculty it may invariably affect student’s placements and career prospects. Moreover, adequate exposure is required for nurturing creativity, spontaneity, competitive spirit among students. However, most of the colleges don’t have sufficient environment to provide basic necessities for students. Vignesh, a final year Electrical engineering student feels that his college failed to meet his expectations that he had when he joined the college.
In almost all engineering colleges, the stress level is high compared to arts and science colleges. Due to this, students feel over anxious about their marks and they are often pressurised to meet an unrealistic expectation of their colleges and parents. The curriculum which includes three to four dozens of papers, thirteen to fifteen labs and numerous internal examinations which run over four years create tension among the students and they are compelled to perform better each time. This has resulted in the increasing rate of suicides among engineering students. Even the country’s premier institutes like IITs and NITs, where most brilliant minds sought after are not free from the clutches of self-destruction. Quite often, the sadistic nature of some faculty members aggravates the scenario as they tend to exert their power through marks. Nithin, a third year engineering student confirms this aspect as he says, “some of them are just plain….who use that power irresponsibly, for personal satisfaction, some for vengeance”.
Many times, students who fail to meet the requirements often tend to become dropouts. There are cases where students got depressed and performed badly as they were completely uninterested in the course. Ria, a drop out recalls her days as an engineering student when she says, “Although I went to college most of the days, I hated it like anything. I got depressed and flunked in two exams. Those days’ still haunt me like a nightmare”.
The scariest question that may haunt you, if you are an engineering student; “Didn’t you get placed?” If ever you made a bold attempt to say No, then the story is over and your fate was decided; “Good for nothing! Don’t you have any shame for yourself for spending so much money of your parents?” This is a harsh reality most of the students face. The lack of core employment opportunities compels students to work in software fields and some of them even take up jobs in call centres!
This is the story of the majority of students who took up engineering, not because of their passion but because there is no option. Its hard time we need to realise the inherent potential of our children. Let them be what they want.