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Engineering Education Industry’s Challenges And Prospects

With growing manpower demand and institutions, questions have often been raised on the quality of Engineers and hence that of Engineering education.

Engineering and Technological Advances have changed the way the world perceives and understands, pushing boundaries in every domain. Engineering and Technology hold great significance in every aspect of an economy, through the pre-industrial revolution phase to the present day. In India, Engineering holds a special place in the minds of parents and students of science, and with impetus from the technology world, there has been an exponential rise in the number of institutions offering engineering studies over the last two decades. This change in the engineering landscape in the country has helped the IT and manufacturing sector alike raising expectations in innovation and development. 

However, with growing manpower demand and institutions, questions have often been raised on the quality of Engineers and hence that of Engineering education. While some of the premier government institutions and private ones offer excellent quantitative engineering education over several decades, the same cannot be said of the multitude of other institutes that are present within the country. The fact that only a small fraction of the 1.5 million engineers graduating every year are employable, only adds credence to the doubts raised. 

Engineering and Innovation continue to play a pivotal role in the world for shaping a more sustainable future, and society continues to face challenges which seem to increase by the day as expectations also continue to increase. It is, therefore, necessary for aspiring engineers to recognise these areas of potential challenges and understand them as prospective opportunities. In this article, we look at a few zones that are in dire need of innovation through engineering principles that also offer prospective areas of specialization for aspiring engineers. 

The growing world population

According to The Renewable Resources Journal, the world's population in the next two decades is touted to grow by 2 billion with 95% of them being in developing and underdeveloped countries. Innovators and engineers are expected to devise new ways to bring effective solutions in the areas of not only housing, sanitation, food, and water needs but also transportation and other energy requirements to the forefront across these countries. 

Expanding effective methodologies to design cities

At this very moment, 54% of the world's population resides in cities. The European continent has 7 of the world's top 10 sustainable cities, and it is high-time, efforts are needed to make Indian cities more sustainable in every front. Engineers have the responsibility to design new cities and develop sustainable strategies in existing cities to make them more habitable.

Making climate change a focus-area

India and China have 6 of the 10 cities with the largest annual largest flood costs. These numbers world over are sure to increase by 2050. Prioritising climate change which should have taken place a decade earlier is throwing up challenges and this is a potential area thirsting for contributions from engineers. 

Focus on bio-engineering and agricultural innovations

The United Nations has already rung the warning bells about food production. To keep up with demand, we must produce 60% more food by 2050. Through sustainable and environmentally-friendly agricultural innovations, effective access to food and water must be top priority.

Owing to these aspects, the need for adept, able and enterprising engineers has never been more critical. With demanding and exciting challenges in the energy field through advanced electricity generation and retention technologies & shift towards a hydrogen-based economy, there has never been a more exciting time for engineers. Industry 4.0 is indicating an exciting period for Engineers, with technology changing faster than the world can comprehend, this is also going to be challenging periods ahead. The Engineering knowledge is getting dynamically restructured taking into account, the emerging technologies, keeping in mind that all cannot be fit into a four-year curriculum. Design thinking, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and life skills are being brought into an outcome-based pedagogy which needs to pole vault to Education 4.0 which would focus on lifelong learning and technology lead learning.  It is important that a large, skilled and smart workforce would be required to maintain, modify and modernize tomorrows world. This workforce needs to have the agility to adapt, learn, unlearn and relearn. The engineering profession is in for its golden period yet.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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