Why private engineering colleges in Odisha are vacant?

Bhubaneswar: Amid decline in the number of jobs for engineering graduates in the State and students’ reluctance in opting for technical stream, the State government has been slashing the number seats at engineering institutions every year.

As per reports, the State government has planned to reduce 4,073 seats in engineering colleges this year based on the AICTE guidelines following fall in demand for engineering courses. Of them 120 seats has been cut down in Parala Maharaja Engineering College, Berhampur and Government Engineering College, Keonjhar.

As many as five engineering colleges have been shut down in the State in past four years. At present, there are eight government and 80 privately-run engineering colleges functioning in the State.

In 2017, out of the total sanctioned 44,739 seats in all the engineering institutions of the State, 30,446 seats were lying vacant. Though the State government reduced the number of seats to 38,234 in 2018, admission could not be held for 26,178 seats.

Rajesh Nayak, a B.Tech pass-out who joined engineering with a hope to get a well-paid job has been without employment even after two years of completing his B.Tech degree due lack of enough opportunities for tech graduates in the State.

“I joined the B.Tech course for a better life, but now I see the stark reality of the condition of engineering graduates in Odisha. I think the State government should seriously focus on creating jobs in the State.

Odisha Private Engineering College Association (OPECA) general secretary Binod Dash said the engineering seats are falling vacant due to the lack of interest in pursuing B.Tech courses and unavailability of employment in industries.

“On an average only 30-40% engineering graduates are getting placements so the remaining students should be made industry-ready,” said Dash.

Experts opine that due to decline in the quality of engineering education offered by the Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT), students in the State are not preferring engineering courses.

“BPUT syllabus and educational standard is far behind than that of other national universities. The state government should take steps to improve the course quality which I think will be able to improve the scenario,” said Sunil Sarangi, former director, NIT, Rourkela.

Industry expert BS Pani said there are jobs available but the B.Tech pass outs are not industry ready. “Like the jobseekers, the industry is also looking for quality engineers. The course curriculum should be designed in such a way that it should meet the industry requirement in Odisha and Eastern India,” said Pani.