Away from the Beaten Path

Children need to be counseled for new careers and courses as job market is undergoing kaleidoscopic changes.

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By Maqbool Ahmed Siraj

Market for engineering graduates is saturated. But thirst for a course in engineering among the youth does not show any signs of tapering. I had a father calling upon me last month who complained that his son with an engineering graduation degree could land up a job only six years after the completion of the course. And the job he landed was just an ordinary one, not the one a bride-giving father would be looking for in the would-be son-in law.
His plight is not unique. Thousands of engineering graduates are without jobs. Nearly 1,600 engineering colleges across the states are producing around 1.5 million of them. 74% of them are stated to be unemployable. Hundreds of these BE graduates could be seen in queues for recruitment of constables all across the states. Virtually thousands of them are working in call centres. Unless they shift to a proper engineering job, they are likely to lose touch with the professional ability to continue as an engineer. Many engineering colleges in Andhra Pradesh have shut shop.

Glut in Engineering
The glut of graduates in engineering field is a worrisome aspect of job scene in the country. Last month I was conversing with a placement officer in a university in Chennai imparting courses in Maritime Sciences. To my wonderment, the officer informed me that nearly 140 institutes in the coastal states were conducting courses in Maritime Sciences and degree-holders who have spent a fortune on acquiring a degree in nautical sciences or maritime engineering, are without jobs.
Students with certificates in carpentry, electrician, fitters, die-making, tool-designing, gem-cutting, welding have better prospects in the job market than engineers. They can easily grab a job that could earn them Rs. 10,000 a month, but not an engineer with a final aggregate of less than 70% marks. Frustration is therefore building up among the youth. Yet, enter any school and ask the students as to what they would like to study, more than half the children show preference for engineering and the remaining obviously for medicine.
Most Muslim children grow up wanting to be doctors and engineers. Their parents are least aware of alternative choices. But the current situation must set us thinking if pursuing the course is anywhere desirable when job market is simply not throwing up opportunities in the twin sectors. Let us be reminded that even MBBS degree holders have few takers. And acquisition of MD or MS is a tall financial order, requiring either a seat through the PG-CET or shelling out money close to a crore of rupees for the seat in a lucrative discipline.

Focus on Hospital Industry
It is wiser to focus on hospital industry rather than the field of medicine for new generation jobs. Bengaluru based career counselor Ameen e Mudassar says the degree or diploma courses in Cardiac Care Technology, Cardiac Perfusion Technology, Operation Theatre Assistant or Physician’s Assistant fetch jobs with salaries on par with a software engineer. And such professionals could earn abroad tenfold of what they earn in India. He says several branded hospitals offer these courses and annual fee may range between Rs. 30 to 50 thousand. Ameen also advises bright students to opt for career as Chartered Accountants which they can start pursuing soon after their Plus Two or PUC. Pointing out at the futility of running coaching for Civil Services, he asserts that a similar effort to enable Muslim students into the IITs, several Law Schools and Chartered Accountancy would have brought better dividends.
Ameen advises against students who have scored less than 50% marks at PUC level opting for BE. He says such students may not be able to over 70% marks in the BE and are all unlikely to be recruited during campus placements.

IISERs & NISER
Mr. Jamaluddin, Career Counseling Officer at the Centre for Information and Guidance India (CIGI) at Calicut, says Muslim students could also try entering Indian Institutes for Science Education and Research (IISERs) at Pune, Bhopal, Trivandrum, Tirupati, Mohali and Kolkata which offer a 5-year BS-MS dual degree. Another alternative is NISER (National Institute of Science Education Research), Bhubaneswar which offers 5 year integrated M. Sc course after 12 years of schooling. He says the central government has set up these specialized institutes to groom scientists and research directors.
Jamaluddin suggests that students should also head for central universities, umpteen of them having been started in several states. He says disciplines such as Forensic Sciences, Marine Biology, Space Biology, Islamic Banking and Finance etc too are considered new generation disciplines offering ample opportunities for employment.
Law and Journalism
Journalism, media courses and law too should occupy community’s priority. Several national law universities have been set up during the last two decades. Besides conventional civil, criminal, and constitutional law, disciplines such as Cyber Law, Patents and IPR Law, and Corporate Law have emerged as important channels of employment. Similarly, journalism and media offer expanded opportunities. Fields such TV channels, Corporate Communication, Public Relations, Advertising, beckon those with good grasp of general knowledge and high level of articulation. Good command over English and at least one regional language can guarantee jobs in newspapers, TV channels, radio or PR and advertising firms or communication wings of the commercial firms. Even the various wings of Information and Broadcasting Ministry (such as Doordarshan, Akashvani, Photo Division, Press Information Bureau, DAVP, Monitoring Division, Films Division etc) and State Information Ministries recruit more than 3,000 journalists a year.
Muslim students seem to be reluctant to join courses in Agriculture universities. These universities offer courses in Agriculture, Horticulture, Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry, Sericulture, Poultry and Dairy farming, Fisheries and even MBA in Food and Dairy Products. Students from rural areas gain entry at easier terms in these universities.

For IISER click: http://www.iiseradmission.in/
For NISER: http://www.niser.ac.in/academics.php?p=intmsc

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