Engineering Losing Sheen, Arts Shines

Vinod Sharma updated on : 08 Aug 2016

Figures show that the number of students interested in becoming engineers is decreasing with each passing year and the preferences for Arts stream is rising.

Student Course Preference, JEE Main Admission, Les

As per the recent surveys, the number of candidates taking Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) to get into the prestigious IIMs and other reputable institutes all over the country is consistently falling for the last two years. This is a trend witnessed for the first time in the history of what is rightly deemed to be one of the toughest exams in India.

As per the figures available as of now, the number of students taking JEE Main exam dropped by 27,000 this April from last year and by a massive number of 56,000 in 2015 as compared to 2014. Hence, the trend is pretty much evident. This is particularly, important when the number of students taking the exam rose consistently by 20,000 to 30,000 every year since 2008.

As academicians opine, the real story isn’t the falling numbers that constitute a small chunk of total IIT aspirants but there is a considerable shift in the social attitude. If we go by this notion, the younger generation doesn’t want to tow the line generation prior to them desperately run for and considered the safe bet. Consequently, a few cushy engineering jobs have dissuaded students in the past a few years.

There is an increasing urge among the parents and students now to experiment with the new courses and streams than taking the traditional route of engineering. The sliding numbers have also worried the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) which is contemplating on the issue and may discuss it in a meeting with IIT Council which expected to take place sometimes in the next month.

The trend is not only evident from the falling number of students taking JEE Main exam but official data on enrolment in the Indian school show more students opting for Humanities than science. The reason for which is more student are interested studying subjects like Mathematics and Economics that are available under the arts streams.

Then there are preferences and aspirations that are leading to the decision. For example, those who want to do MBA later on, don’t want to waste an extra year doing engineering. Rather, they opt for Economics Honors or any other subject. Besides this, the rising awareness, increasing entrepreneur skills among students and choices they make show the creative bent of mind students have nowadays.

Another reason for the dip in the number of students aiming for engineering, as per the coaching institutes, is the fall in education standards in India which produces 800,000 engineers every year from 3,000 odd registered institutes. Particularly, engineers aren’t getting as good jobs now as they used to earlier. This is also one of the determining factors for students to slide towards humanities.

However, considering a massive number of 1.3 million or even more students taking JEE Main every year, the sliding number in just 20,000 to 30,000 a year doesn’t seem that worrying a factor for many. It is just that the exam here in question is JEE Main that the sliding numbers are getting the attention.     

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