Every other home in India has an engineer, producing the largest percentage of engineers in the world. If engineering was a religion, it would be the fifth populous in India. Over the generations, engineers have magnificently contributed to make India grow and prosper. To commemorate the contribution of M.Visvesvaraya and all engineers, September 15 is observed as Engineer’s Day.
Engineering is a career which is opted for by 80 per cent of Indian students and their parents. The human resource development ministry states that India has 6,214 engineering and technology institutions, which enrol 2.9 million students.
Every year, 1.5 million engineers are injected into the global market.
The number of engineers India produces in a year is double that of the population of Iceland.
Engineers par excellence
Indian engineers have been excelling worldwide and are bringing eminence to the country.
Silicon Valley has 16 per cent of Indians as entrepreneurs and in India, the 10 most valuable start-ups were begun by engineering graduates.
Being an engineer has become a trend for India, and being one brings pride and joy to Indian families. But who brought this profession to the fore? Who was the first engineer of India?
India’s very first and greatest engineer, Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya, was the one who had built the India we see today.
Life of M.Visvesvaraya
The eminent engineer was born on September 15, 1860, at Kolar in Karnataka. After his father’s death, he completed his schooling and his graduation in Arts from Central College in Bangalore.
With some assistance from the government of Mysore, he joined the Science College of Pune to pursue civil engineering and ranked first in the LCE and FCE examinations. He received an offer to be an assistant engineer while pursuing his degree and did a commendable job.
He was then appointed the Dewan of Maharaja of Mysore and continued to do wonders with his skills. The phenomenal man breathed his last at the age of 101 on April 14, 1962.
Magnificent contributions M.Visvesvaraya
M.Visvesvaraya was the chief engineer in the construction of the biggest dam in Asia in those times, the Krishna Raja Sagara Dam. He played saviour when Hyderabad was drowning in floods and made the city flood-proof.
With his excellent engineering, he had also saved Visakhapatnam port from erosion. The block system which closes off overflowing water was also invented by him. The floodgates, which were patented in his name, were installed at the Khadakwasla reservoir in Pune.
He was the authority under whom the Mysore Soap Factory, Parasitoid Laboratory, Mysore Steel and Steel works, State Bank of Mysore, Visvesvaraya College of Engineering and numerous industrial places and monuments were built.
As the Dewan of Mysore, he had given importance to private industrial investment to carve the path to development.
He played a major role in charting the plan of the roads of Tirupati and Tirumala and his best planned layout is the area of Jayanagar which was one of the first planned neighbourhoods of Bangalore and one of the largest in those times in Asia.
He is often called the “Father of Modern Mysore State”.
Awards and honours of M. Visvesvaraya
The newspaper Prajavani titled him as the most popular person and he was the president of the Indian Science Congress for the 1923 session.
He received several honorary degrees from eight universities of India and also one from the London Institute of Civil Engineers.
Several metro stations and technology and engineering institutions are named after Visvesvaraya to honour him. In 2018, on his 157th birthday, he was also honoured with a Google doodle.
His contributions indicate how engineers have been transforming and can transform a nation.
Engineers and India
Well, innovation changes the world and it is usually brought about by the engineers. The innovations in each and every field elevate the standard of living.
The technology we use, the roads we walk by, the buildings we reside in, the electricity we consume are all contributions of engineers.
From the imagination to paperwork and then to the practicality, is the craft of them to take us ahead with the innovations.
Even after being a powerhouse of engineers, India faces serious crunch in the same.
Among the engineering graduates, all around India only 3 per cent are actually employable.
The statistics are awful but the situation of the engineering graduates is worse.
This problem in India is known worldwide. With every passing year the quality of engineers and engineering is allegedly going down. The core problem of this unemployment lies in the quality of education that engineering colleges deliver over the years.
Graduates from these colleges have been miserably failing in getting suitable jobs in the sector.
With this, these colleges are closing down and the seats too are on the decline.
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) wants to shut the doors for about 800 engineering colleges in India. Many have already shut voluntarily with strict AICTE regulations reducing the chance of pursuing engineering.
Drawbacks and the solutions
A profit–hungry management adulterating the quality of education has been the major drawback throughout the decades.
Engineering being a technology driven course, syllabus and laboratories need to be updated regularly. With outdated technology and traditional methods of teaching, the four-year course becomes useless. The teaching staff need to be trained with updated technology. Once the gap is bridged, the expectations of the companies and the capabilities of the graduates would match.
The teachers are not enough to teach millions of engineering students. Teaching being a much-underrated profession, many end up teaching just for livelihood not for passion.
This results in a vague idea of teaching with less energy. Few good professors go for administrative posts for better payment.
Engineering is a practical subject where the applications are more important than the theories. The colleges need to encourage the applications of the theory that the four-year course offers.
It is essential on the part of professors or on the system to enhance the teaching and give the theory its actual application. Graduates should know to draw the basic into the use in daily lives and make more from the theories.
Also, employability doesn’t require only the core theories and its application. Students need to be quick problem solvers and crisis managers.
They are required to work more on their non-academic skills to be good employees and a better administrators.
Colleges need to include classes on crisis management and problem solving to make the engineers alert about the necessity of little things to lead a team or manage an office. Just appearing to 48 papers, with presentations and few lab classes won’t be enough to produce good engineers.
Significance of engineers in 2020
Whatsoever may be the hindrances in creating good engineers, we cannot conclude without thanking them for their splendid contribution to build the nation and making the whole world a small family.
Imagine Covid-19 without this network of Internet, seems impossible right?
Today, everything is working online, from transactions, learning, business and many more, it is all due to the skills of the engineers. This year it’s important to acknowledge them for making our lives simplified and comfortable and for working continuously to come up with better innovations every day.
On September 15, let’s not be just obliged for the contributions of Sir M Visvesvaraya alone but also celebrate our engineers and their achievements.