‘Metro man’ E Sreedharan today rued that engineering institutes in the country are producing engineers of “very sub-standard” quality while underlining the paradox wherein IITians are heading to foreign countries for higher studies or better employment.
Addressing a gathering here, Sreedharan appealed to the engineers to get a “different orientation, standard and mission for handling various infrastructure projects for which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a target of (Rs) 5 trillion.”
“In our country, engineers are not able to come up very fast. We (engineers) are not taking enough efforts to keep ourselves up-to-date. Engineering colleges or institutes that we have in the country, according to me, are producing very sub-standard quality of engineers,” said Sreedharan, a Padma Vibhusan awardee credited for successfully steering challenging projects like Konkan rail and Delhi Metro.
He was speaking at U N Mahida memorial lecture on the topic of “professional ethics and role of engineers,” organised by the state chapter of the Institution of Engineers (India).
E Sreedharan referred to a study conducted by a magazine which surveyed some 300 engineering colleges to conclude that only 29 per cent engineers are employable, while 30 per cent can be made employable after further studies, whereas 48 per cent are simply not employable.
“This is the standard of education that we are getting in this country. Is that enough? In engineering profession, knowledge is the most important thing. You will have to be expert. Knowledge has to be practical-oriented,” he said.
Highlighting the paradox, Sreedharan said while most engineering colleges are producing sub-standard graduates, the “best engineers” or those coming out of the IITs and NITs are leaving the country for better opportunities abroad.
“What I find is that, in this country, the best engineers or those coming out of IITs and NITs straightaway make a beeline to foreign countries for higher studies or better employment. Many even join IT or management degree,” the retired Indian Engineering Service officer said.
He also expressed doubt if engineers showed any obligation by completing works on time and within estimated cost.
“The country needs very learned engineers. Prime Minister declared that he has set a target of Rs 5 trillion for infrastructure projects. If these projects are to be handled, the team of engineers in the country will have to have a different orientation and standard with a different mission,” he added.
Sreedharan stressed the need for engineers to work with “a sense of social obligation, commitment and accountability towards societies.”
“As engineers, we are very fortunate, we got good education, good job. We must realise that what we are today is because of society and we have commitment and obligation to pay back to the society for what we have received from it,” Sreedharan said.
He also attributed the success of the two projects (Konkan Railway and Delhi Metro) that he had headed to a high standard work ethics and values.
“The success of these projects was mainly possible because of the unique work culture in these two organisations. And the cardinal ethos of the culture are just four: integrity, punctuality, professional competence and a commitment to society,” he said.