Future of Engineering Education and Engineering Industry in India

Engineering Education
Rajen Purohit

India’s Engineering sector is on a growth track with size, speed and impact.

The engineering sector is one of the most important sectors for any country to drive growth, innovations, and employment. Over the past decade, India has significantly strengthened its capabilities establishing itself as one of the most dependable nations besides being a promising economy. The world is now seeing India as an important player.

Over the past few years, India’s engineering sector has attracted increased investment in infrastructure and industrial production as well as experienced remarkable growth because of the central government’s supportive policies and programs and initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’, ‘Digital India’ etc. The PLI (Production Linked Incentive) schemes for various sectors have unlocked and boosted tremendous opportunities.

Engineering sector is strategically very important for India’s economic growth. It also supports manufacturing and infrastructure sectors.

The opportunities today are more promising and exciting for the whole Engineering sector.

The Union Budget of the current financial year has greater focus on the infrastructure sector which will create many opportunities and increased employment in coming years. Some of the other sectors which are largely driven or affected by engineering domain are:

Construction & Infrastructure (9% Share in India’s GDP),

Renewable Energy (India is 3rd most attractive for RE investments and Deployments with a potential of 1,000+ GW),

Defence Manufacturing (Indigenous Defence Manufacturing is a national priority now. By 2025, Govt. aims to achieve turnover of $25 Bn incl. export of $5 Bn in Defence and Aerospace goods & services.)

Electronic Systems (Projected to reach $300 Bn worth of electronics manufacturing and exports by 2025-26. Semiconductor sector will increase from ~$15 Bn in FY20 to ~$110 Bn in FY30, growing at a CAGR of 22%)

Automobile (India is world’s 4th largest vehicle market and the EV market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 49% between 2022-2030. It is expected to sell 1 Crore EVs by 2030 and will create 5 Crore direct and indirect jobs by 2030)

Telecom (India is World’s 2nd largest Mobile Market and employ ~40 lakh people directly and indirectly)

Aviation (By 2024, India will become the 3rd largest aviation market in the world).

While sectors such as Power Systems, Space, Medical Equipment, Agriculture, Smart Living etc. are also growing.

India’s Software Development, IT Services and Allied sectors are also growing exceptionally. India has a strong competitive advantage to retain its Numero Uno position in this sector. By 2030, India is likely to be the Data Centre capital of the world. Indian IT and BPO services contributed 7.4% to GDP in FY 2022, which is significant. In the same financial year, the domestic revenue for IT & BPO industry was estimated to INR 4 lakh crores (US$ 49 Bn) while export revenue is estimated to touch INR 14.84 lakh crores (US$ 181 Bn). This sector alone employs nearly 50 Lakh people.

In most of these sectors, the Government has permitted 100% FDI through different routes.

These numbers confirm the positive outlook of the overall Engineering sector in India for both; Core Engineering and Computer, IT and Allied sectors.

Future of Engineering Education in India

As per AISHE report for 2020-21, 38% enrolments were only in Computer Engineering and IT to be 32% and 6% respectively, while 62% enrolments were in all other branches of Engineering, where Mechanical and Electronics had highest enrolment with 18% each.

The total and overall enrollment in UG, PG, M.Phil and Ph.D. was 39.20 Lakh, which is a significant number.

The world has been witnessing radical technological innovations & integrations across all the sectors. This will naturally make Computers and IT engineering the branch of choice. In fact, it will become a need of the time for Higher Education Institutions to integrate essential modules of CE and IT into the core engineering branches with branch specific relevance and application. Otherwise, students’ employability shall be compromised.

At the same time, over last few years, the gradual lesser preference towards core branches of engineering might have created a dearth of core engineering graduates. This will be witnessed by the industry announcing frequent openings for fresh engineering graduates in such core domains. This will result in balancing the preference of branch which is currently more leaned towards Computers and IT. By 2026, the gross enrollment in Mechanical and Electronics Engineering (and allied branches) will stand neck to neck with enrollment in Computer / IT. It will receive a positive response from the industry.

The foundational objective will remain to ensure Employability for all the students graduating with Engineering degree. This can be achieved with Industry-aligned and dynamic curriculum as well as greater emphasis (at least 50%) on hands-on learning as part of the program structure.

Many EdTech companies will rise to offer engaging learning experiences for almost all the subjects taught at Diploma and Undergraduate levels in Engineering. This will be complemented by increased adoption and affordability of AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality) based learning.

Industry will define the specific skills required to perform specific tasks. QPs prepared by various Sector Skill Councils and NSDC are welcomed move in this direction.

Universities and colleges shall introduce flexible and hybrid structures of learning. This will open more and exciting opportunities for the students as Industry will be an active participant in such models.

The evolution of AI will certainly make some skills obsolete. No one should worry about it. Instead, AI will be used to complement learning. No doubt the human cognitive skills will drive innovations, AI will complement to scale it further.

By 2030, Engineering Education will see a major paradigm shift, which was never seen in the last five six decades. It looks exciting for the learners.
About the author

Prof. Rajen Purohit is a highly experienced educationist, distinguished management professional, and technology enthusiast. As the former Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (until Feb 2023) of Ganpat University, a renowned multi-disciplinary large university in Gujarat (India), he significantly contributed to the organization’s growth and success through new initiatives and strategically important projects. He conceived, strategized and executed the successful rebranding and repositioning of Ganpat University that has elevated the university’s overall identity with a deeper meaning and relevance.

Prof. Purohit had been highly instrumental to cultivate international partnerships, fostering global alliances, and launching collaborative award programs with a highly reputed Australian University.
Demonstrating his visionary approach, Prof. Purohit further developed the Industry Interface Centre (IIC) of the university, which strengthened the ties between academia and industry and promoted mutually beneficial collaborations.
With his unique combination of creative problem-solving, student-centric, and entrepreneurial spirit, Prof. Purohit continues to influence the education sector and create sustainable positive impact as a respected thought leader.

One thing that breathes within Prof. Purohit is his strong quest and commitment for superior quality and achieving excellence.

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