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According to a survey, 83% of undergraduate students believe that university education is not affordable. In Pakistan, any student who has good intellect either opts to become a doctor or an engineer. On the engineering side, the problem of youth unemployment is grave and is not being addressed. Multiple reasons identified or popularly blamed for this problem are weakening economy, political instability, lesser engineering job opportunities, social, gender and geographical issues. Despite knowing about this problem, some students still do engineering merely due to peer pressure. But the real question is, are universities just sneaking around without reading the modern requirements and skill sets expected from fresh graduates?
Relevant statistics of Pakistan
Presently, Pakistan has 208.57 million habitants, with a 1.98% population growth rate. As the population is increasing rapidly, the problem of the student to teacher ratio is amplifying. Inflation rate is increasing at 10.74% compared to the previous year and many aspiring students want to pursue an advanced degree but they cannot because universities are failing their students when it comes to professional life. An estimated 7% of the country’s youth, aged between 14 to 24 years is unemployed and the numbers are forecasted to rise even higher. Public universities complain about lack of resources whereas private universities complain about the weakening economy.
Reasons leading to Problems
- In the Mid of 18th century Industrial Revolution transformed economies globally. People who were employed simply relied on the aspect of Intelligence Quotient (IQ) as industries needed people who had the before mentioned competency. Due to this, many educational institutes built their curriculum around this model and did not update it to the current teaching model. As time progressed, old solutions to new problems created a bottleneck as core problems remained unsolved. As of today, many engineers revolve around the old curriculum and when they graduate and land in the professional world, they remain sidelined due to lack of skills and knowledge of the commercial technologies.
- Industries today require people who have a blend of Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Resilience Quotient (RQ) and Emotional Quotient (EQ) whereas engineers are trained only on the aspect of Intelligence Quotient.
- As engineering universities and industries work hand in hand, a handful of engineering graduates get the chance of becoming employed in the relevant field whereas the rest are forced to do jobs in different fields.
- Those who can afford to go to private universities complete their graduation and go abroad for better opportunities.
- As days pass by, increasing unemployed graduates waste their precious time and pose a big threat to the derailing economy. These frustrated individuals are bound to explore the negativities of life as they indulge in various activities to vent out their annoyance.
- If we look at the present curriculum, it is evident to note that majority engineering students find it difficult to write even a single piece of code.
- Rote learning has damaged their ways to analyze critically and conceptual way of thinking have been completely disabled.
- Universities in Pakistan produce more than 20,000 engineering graduates and IT professionals per year. But these professionals lack innovation, employability and a critical mindset ideology. On the other hand, emerging technologies are creating 97 million jobs globally.
In a nutshell, Pakistani universities did not evolve and are satisfied with the ways of their teaching thus scapegoating the modern requirements and expectations from an engineering student.
Solution to the problems
- As ways of doing work have evolved and technology has infused in every walk of life, universities must ponder what went wrong in their ways of teaching. We live in a global village and if we guide, mentor and train our engineers as per modern requirements then the economy will surely improve leaps and bounds. Hence, maneuvering them through training them with hands-on skills. Giving them the right set of commercial tools should be the agenda on hand.
- Automation has displaced a lot of workers globally and jobs are vanishing day by day. It is very important to note that the universities have to include emerging technologies like cloud computing, blockchain, cyber defense and many others so that they have the right skills at hand. Their employability will increase and hence an overall increased productivity.
- Many engineers will not be working in the same way as in the future and learning all the necessary skills will help them manage the needs of the industry. Coding is the one of the most important aspects of automation and an in-demand cloud computing technology solution like DevOps can be learnt so that their approachability to high paying jobs is possible.
- As innovation is the dire need of the enterprises nowadays, technology like Blockchain is helping them solve problems with cost reduction and optimization and these should be learnt to get hands-on skills on these.
Many universities can’t upgrade their teaching platforms to digital infrastructure primarily due to lack of resources and expertise. Covid-19 exposed the lacking factor of the generic teaching methodologies as many engineering students were deprived of learning and training for more than a year. Self-paced learning platform with hybrid schemes of studies are the need of the hour today. Where students can learn key skills of modern job requirements more economically and at their own convenience. Pakistani universities will probably embed this scheme of teaching in future as education has evolved and they have to adapt to these changes.As Confucius said, “The key to success is the ability to adapt.”