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Relevance of teaching management courses for engineering students: NEP 2020 perspective
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Relevance of teaching management courses for engineering students: NEP 2020 perspective

Post by on Wednesday, March 9, 2022

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Over the past many decades, people in India have favored only two professions—medicine and engineering. These disciplines have deep roots embedded in the history of Indian civilization. Engineering has a profound historical connection towards driving this nation to the path of modernization before and after its independence.

Aparajith Ramnath, in his book “The Birth of an Indian Profession: Engineers, Industry, and the State 1900–47,” has revealed how engineering as a profession started in India and how it gained popularity over the years.

This popularity still persists. Movies like 3Idiots, Chhichhore, Super 30 have over time shown the burning ambition of parents and students alike to get into this profession. In real life, if one wants to experience this, then one must simply visit Kota or other similar educational hubs.

Nevertheless, over the last few years, there has been a decline in student enrolment in engineering colleges throughout India. A recent report by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has revealed that a total of 2.36 million student places are available across the colleges it oversees in 2021-22, which is the lowest since 2012-13 when 2.69 million places were available.

Experts have cited many factors that have affected the yearning of candidates towards engineering as a profession. But within that, they also agree on two common factors: Covid-19 and unemployability of engineers. India has not remained immune from the economic havoc of Covid-19 pandemic. This has taken a toll on engineering as colleges charge a hefty sum from students.

Yet, students have remained confined to online classes, unable to physically access academic facilities and research labs. Therefore, many have shied away from this profession. Growing unemployability is another major reason. Unemployment has never been an issue for engineering students as is evident from the fact that this year despite Covid-19 related issues, almost all of IITs and NITs witnessed a jump in placement numbers and packages.

The problem that has remained constant over the years is the unemployability of engineering graduates. Over the past couple of years, we have personally seen dozens of interview rounds being held for engineering students’ placement. Yet most of them have failed to clear. They don’t lack engineering knowledge or skills, but because they are poor at management and skills.


The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is a significant step in addressing this lacuna. The policy ensures that engineering students don’t remain inside their cocoon of technicalities, principles and procedures. Rather they are expected to think broader through an interdisciplinary approach.

An interdisciplinary approach to education is critical for engineering colleges. This is why most of the premier technical institutes in India have dedicated Humanities and Social Sciences departments to enable students to grow and groom. Moreover, an engineering graduates’ role has also changed over the years as can be seen from the placement profiles offered by organizations and public sector units to them.

Most of these are management roles that require technical know-how with management skills rather than a mere core technical job. This may be one of the reasons why more than 90 percent of students in top IIMs come from an engineering background. They simply want to sharpen their management skills to improve their paycheques. Many institutions in India have started Engineering Management as a new subject and program, giving students a flavor of both disciplines.

A couple of IITs and some top private E-Schools and B-Schools have also introduced a Five-Year Integrated B. Tech MBA program. These programs were carved after getting regular feedback from the industry. These developments signify that management courses are crucial for the employability of engineering graduates. Even courses like Entrepreneurship Development are critical to help budding innovators successfully and commercialize their offerings.

Engineering is a broad discipline that applies scientific, economic, social and practical factors to the design, building, maintenance and improvement of structures, machines, devices, systems, and materials. It is typically divided into civil and structural engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, and mechanical engineering, with many further sub-specializations in each field.

Management applies social, economic, theoretical, and practical factors to the coordination, planning, organizing, staffing and leading of all aspects of an engineering organization, through the strategic direction of human, financial, technological, and natural resources. Management courses for engineering graduates can enhance their career opportunities by developing key management skills, help improve their communication and overall personality development besides improving their decision-making skills.

Teaching management courses to engineers will help them to speak business. This will help translate the language of their engineering discipline into the world of business and industry, creating greater cohesion with the people who make the financial and commercial decisions about the future of engineering projects.



Using management knowledge can advance their role as an engineer and help them fit into the wider commercial organization and then use their engineering knowledge to progress in their careers. When offered to engineer graduates, these management courses will help them strengthen their entrepreneurial skills as engineering management graduates don’t just want to climb the career ladder by working for someone else but become self-employed as well.

A degree in engineering with management knowledge opens up a gamut of new career opportunities for engineering graduates. Engineering Manager jobs include roles in project management, engineering sales and marketing, and senior management positions across many different types of organizations and industries.

Through the combination of business and management acumen with technical expertise, engineering management degrees will play a vital role in preparing the next generation of managers in the engineering sector. AICTE council, in its report on “Engineering Education in India – Short & Medium-Term Perspectives,” suggests that low enrolment, lower placements, and low employability are causes for concern in the engineering domain. Numerous researchers have already established the direct connection between employment generation and a nation’s economic development.

Combining these two, we propose that entrepreneurial acumen and spirit should be inculcated among engineering students from various disciplines to overcome the problems of employability and economic growth. In this domain, it is pertinent to mention that the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar has already started working and offers a wider range of management courses to students from various engineering streams to ensure their overall personality development and make them self-employable.

In this context, NIT Srinagar has signed an MOU with Mumbai’s Jani-IEF Entrepreneurship Foundation to offer entrepreneurship-related classes to students from a wide range of disciplines and domains. This will help skill engineering students precisely as per market requirements apart from being self-employable.

AICTE further identifies the need on the part of academic institutions to continuously monitor the future skill requirements and make suitable changes to content and pedagogy so that the graduating technical students have the right capabilities for the job-in-demand. For this, NIT Srinagar has already implemented an institutional mechanism for periodic industry feedback on the technology upgradation, market needs and its impact on job roles. Accordingly, it is constantly enhancing and upgrading its engineering students for the various engineering management, entrepreneurial and leadership roles. 

To conclude, it cannot be stressed enough that engineering students if they want to be market-ready and in demand, will have to work wholeheartedly towards acquiring management knowledge and skills. Therefore, they must treat managerial knowledge as important as other technical know-how of their concerned streams and branches.


(Prof (Dr) Rakesh Sehgal is Director, National Institute of Technology (NIT) Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir & Dr Tahir Ahmad Wani is Assistant Professor at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences NIT Srinagar) 

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