In my previous posts on this series, I touched upon the viewpoint I had towards industry and how I felt during various stages of my engineering student life. How I was keen on knowing more on the other side of world i.e., the industry and corporate world and how keen I was to get into my professional life.

To know more on how the thinking of the students have evolved over all these years since I left college, I made an attempt to connect with professors of few institutes. One of them was the NIT (Formerly REC), one premier college in Pune and other one in my home town. Three different tiers of the colleges and expectedly three different tiers of students studying in them.

Initial Expectations

My initial expectation across these students (before I actually spoke with the professors) were as follows,

 

College National Institute of Technology Premier college in Pune A descent college outside Pune
Institute infrastructure Fully day boarding, Wi-Fi compus, Internet access in student rooms, advanced computing facilities including super computer on campus Good computing facilities with access to internet from institute Decent computing facilities with limited access to internet from institute
Type of students Coming through a tough national level entrance exam.
Academically very good records.
Higher intelligence.
Coming through the state level entrance exam.
Academically very good record.
Intelligent.
Coming through the state level entrance exam but with relatively lower ranking.
Academically good / above average.
Average intelligence.
Equipments available with students Laptop with every student, access to internet Laptop with every student, access to internet Laptop with every student, access to internet
Economical status of the students Mixed backgrounds Mixed backgrounds Mixed backgrounds
Expected behavior of an average student (not every student though) Very interested in learning things.
Regular in attending classes.
Early adapters of new learning techniques.
Proactive and interested in innovation.
Interested in real world projects and network building.
Excellent / Very good communication skills.
Confident and bold.
Aware and interested in latest technology trends.
Socially connected using Facebook, Twitter, Orkut.
Interested in learning things but not proactive.
Regular in attending classes.
Interested in innovation but limited thinking.
Interested in real world projects and network building.
Very good communication skills.
Confident and bold.
Aware and interested in latest technology trends.
Socially connected using Facebook, Twitter, Orkut.
Reactive learning. Forced upon by professors.
Regular in attending classes.
Not much idea about innovation.
No clue of real world projects.
Poor network building.
Good / Average communication skills.
Not much interested in latest technology trends.
Socially connected using Facebook, Twitter, Orkut.
Expectation from student towards learning Proactive
Demanding and highly interested
Uses internet to learn new topics
Interested in research and innovation
Interested in learning but needs guidence.
Uses internet to learn more on topics taught.
Not very much interest in research and innovation.
Little interest in self learning. Depends on teacher / professor guidance.
Uses internet if asked to explore more on any topic.
Not interested in research or innovation.
Expected Industry placement percentage of CS / IT students 95% or above each year 65-70% or above 25-30% approx

 

I am sure most of you would envisage the students in these colleges probably on the similar lines as what I mentioned above, may be with a little difference somewhere.

 

Reality is different

 

Further to my discussions with the institute professors to understand more about the students and their behavior towards learning, two things came out as a common pattern

  • Decreased tendency of proactive learning and laziness towards working hard
  • High expectations towards results (getting job, salaries etc)

Lets look at the common patterns found during the discussions with the professors. Not necessary they are the only patterns found, but they are all very common patterns in the student behavior.

 

College National Institute of Technology Premier college in Pune A descent college outside Pune
Actual behavior towards learning No interest in innovation, not proactive towards learning
Uses internet to download movies, use facebook, twitter & orkut
Ensures the percentage is maintaied to get through campus placement
No interest in innovation, not proactive towards learning
Uses internet to download movies, use facebook, twitter & orkut
Ensures the percentage is maintaied to get through campus placement
No interest in innovation, not proactive towards learning
Uses internet to download movies, use facebook, twitter & orkut
Ensures the percentage is maintaied to get through campus placement
Actual interest shown in learning Assumes he / she knows everything
Little or no inclination towards joining institute backed initiatives
Expects things on platter (nice job, descent salary etc)
Assumes he / she knows everything
Little or no inclination towards joining institute backed initiatives
Expects things on platter (nice job, descent salary etc)
Assumes he / she knows everything
Little or no inclination towards joining institute backed initiatives
Actual industry placement percentage of CS / IT students 95% or above each year 50-60% or above 15-20% approx

 

In general, all the professors expressed their worry and helplessness towards diverting student interest towards more involved learning.

Professors of the NIT & the engineering college of Pune feel that the real cause behind this is as follows,

  • Corporates are in a great need of talent hence availability of jobs is not a problem
  • There is a scarcity of “employable” resources around and the hence recruitment happens in numbers
  • Companies are preferring ‘quantity’ over ‘quality’
  • From the student perspective, the jobs are easily available and once the job is secured through campus placement, there is very little for the student to achieve apart from ensuring that certain percentage is achieved in the final year
  • Students are easily influenced and unable to decide their priorities

They all feel this is a bigger problem currently faced by education institutes all over India. I am unsure of how things are in IITs but now, I would not be surprised to know they are no different .. !

We do have a real problem at our hands ..