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Contours of Reforms in Engineering Education for Better Employability of Engineers Paper for Engineering Council of India 13th September

r 2012 at New Delhi. YP Chawla, Advisor, Tariff- Jt. Elec. Regu. Commn., National Jt. Secretary IIPE; 98107-08707 Abstract The Compulsions of new requirements of Skills of Engineers & Technologists, changing Industry manufacturing or processing practices, lean requirements of manpower, pressures on the bottom line & top line growth, are requiring reforms in Engineering Education. The young India in terms of demography, unless converted to a dividend, will lead to unrest amongst the youth. The Engineering Education needs a change to meet the International competitiveness in terms of quality of Engineer in order to maintain a skilled work force supply chain to the Industry across the globe. This Paper is structured as under: a. Importance of Engineering Industry & Engineers b. Demographic Shifts Advantage India c. Packaging Up-graded Engineers Skills in the Education d. Engineers Skills Requirements e. Challenges in Skills Development of Engineers f. Opportunities Skills Development of Engineers g. Engineering / Technology Skills and Industry requirements mismatch h. Current Pace of Change in Engineers Skills i. Technology aids E Learning & Distance Education for Engineers Skills j. Conclusion Skill gap exists among Indian engineering graduates is being debated for a past few years, making a strong case for the engineering colleges and institutions to reform the curriculum with a focus on employability and quality. Various sectors that require Skill Gaps to be filled in by the Engineers to meet the Global standards of Industry requirements are: 1. The Sectors of Economy with Skill Deficit, where India is dependent on Foreign Engineers for Technology. 2. Economic Sectors with high Potential for value addition to GDP Growth (ICT, Telecommunications,.) 3. Sectors needing high quantum of Engineers though the sector may be comparative less Productive for GDP Production. 4. Engineers for R&D areas, Technology Development. 5. Engineers for Energy Efficiency 6. Engineers to work on improving assets efficiency / productivity / health / safety 7. Engineers for Environment Management 8. Engineers for improving Farm Productivity. 9. Water Management Engineers. 10. Automation Engineers. 11. Health Care Electronics Engineers (Meditronics) 12. .. & so on, list is long ; areas are many ; so are changing contours of developing the Engineers & Technologists and the profiles of development of young breed of Vocational Experts. a. Importance of Engineering Industry & Engineers Contribution of Engineering Industry Sector towards GDP growth and contribution per person employed in Industry is one among highest in various sectors of Economy in India and many other countries. Engineers & Technologists of today face a challenge of fast changing technologies in various sectors, predominantly in the engineering sector. Todays Industry is requiring higher Skill sets, which may be capital Intensive and fast moving. This requires creating a new blue print for
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making our new breed of Engineers & Technologists, highly competent to worlds competitive level is an ideal and timely step of Engineering Council of India (ECI). The Computer Cost was exorbitant at the time of introduction of Computer Skills introduced in India, but Indian Engineers today are dotting the globe with these skill sets. A wealth of Engineers with right skills, attitude and aptitude is a high net worth human capital to create a high return on Skill development investment (forming a wealth of Human asset) developing another currency that is going to rule the World. Indian Engineers and Vocational aspirants with high English Speaking Population, (yet many Engineers from Small towns lack the same and other Soft Skills) are on the platform needing reforms in individual skills to compete with the World Bench Mark of Skilled human asset. Industry is now required to focus on the investment in Manpower Skills, collaborating with the education sector due to the existent competitive environment to meet the Critical skill shortage, which is accelerating the mobility of workers, work and the attrition in the Industry. b. Demographic Shifts Advantage India The demographic shifts overseas, are increasing the pressure to keep old workers engaged in the workforce longer and for additional requirements to sustain their economy, are leaning on the countries like India, China, Korea, Brazil, Philippines etc. China and Korea demographic strength is on the decline now. Indias Demographic strength is now targeted by Govt. of India, to be made into an employable Human Asset to help meet the requirements of growing Indian Economy and foreign Currency earning Human Capital by educating and training the Youth with todays Industry requirements and the global environment. The energies of young India are to be channelized to form a formidable force for the development. And avoid it going astray (may fall into trap of drugs which is now seen in the erstwhile vibrant Punjab youth) or get into Educated youth in have-nots category, or get into crime, and form a disruptive force to get into movements like Arab Spring etc. c. Packaging Up-graded Engineers Skills in the Education Bifurcation of the workforce by skills and demand is increasing every work place with development requirements and if not, for the Sustenance agenda. Continuous training and development of the workforce and maintaining a job-ready workforce has accordingly become the requirements of todays growth in the Industry. To meet this challenge of the requirements of the Skilled Engineers and workforce, to make them employable; the Educators, Industry & the Government; have to take up coordinated larger roles in their respective domain, to achieve the same. ECI has undertaken introspection and articulation of the aspirations, potential roadblocks, and opportunities in preparing the contours of reforms in engineering education, along with imperatives for Indias engineering sector to provide a context and a blue print, to develop a road map for all stakeholders to maximize the potential of this sector. The higher productive Industry (accordingly Skills & Education to suit their requirements) has to get priority. d. Engineers Skills Requirements The inescapable pressure to do more with less resources of various inputs (including employable Skilled Manpower) since the time of start of recession, has awakened employers to optimally
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utilize the skilled power of human resource, with right skill sets (including multiple skills). India like many other countries is facing over all GDP dip including the contribution by the manufacturing Industry as per the research data indicated Figure 1

Figure 1 Ancara Research Indian Manufacturing Sector and GDP Growth1 The GDP assessment of India is however under continuous revision by various research agencies. This has changed the Industry focus on reducing costs and to look at their workforce in new ways - inspiring creativity and innovation like never before and has awakened employers' interest to the very real power of the Engineering Manpower Skills & Talent. Employers have adjusted their mindset to ensure that they have the right work models and people practices in place to attract, retain and unleash the potential of the right people to succeed. Rapidly changing technology and greater global arbitrage has increased the individuals and the organizations choice of where (location), when and how work is performed, and with whom (by direct Manpower or by contracting). Automation and Robotics have Increased the productivity & speed, thus integration of various processes are the new requirements of the Industry today needing new skill sets, profile of the skills and multiplicity of these in Vocationally trained technicians and the Engineers to make them employable . The era of Socialist model of economy through employment oriented Public Sector model is gone. Even MNREGA on Socialistic pattern has come under review. Improvement in the bottom line and growth at the top line is the call of the day in the Industry or even in Govt. sector. With these requirements, the Industry is looking in for fresh work force inputs or retraining of the existing work force. e. Challenges in Skills Development of Engineers Quality of Education, Modular Continuing Education with multi entry / re-entry and exit options, could be an answer .Whether it is to meet the recession or productivity challenges or to meet the Skill requirements of the aging world, by young India. The Institutions need an overhaul in their curriculum to bridge the gap in the requirements of the Industry and the output of the Engineering Colleges in terms of Human asset. The borderless world is also seeking the man-power with needed multiple skill sets required in various countries. The migration pattern in this borderless world as of today is as per Figure 2

Ancara Research Indian Manufacturing Sector and GDP Growth

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Manpower Group Borderless Solutions to Todays Talent Mismatch - World Regions Find

Power in Talent Corridors.

Manpower Group. Borderless Solutions to Todays Talent Mismatch - World Regions Find Power in Talent Corridors.

Figure 2 Manpower Group2 Borderless Solutions to Todays Talent Mismatch - World Regions Find Power in Talent Corridors. f. Opportunities Skills Development of Engineers According to Borderless Workforce Survey 3(of more Source : Experis Human Group, 2012 Talent than 25,000 employers in shortage survey research results 39 countries and territories), It has been found that about 24 % employers have been looking for foreign talents to solve skills shortages in their Country specially in the Engineering Sector. The survey also indicates that U.S. companies were the most likely to seek help outside their borders with 75 percent of US Companies responding like Figure 3 Experis Human Group, 2012 Talent shortage that. China with 8 % is among the survey research , Shortage by countries countries surveyed, where employers were least likely to look externally. The global average of having difficulty in filling jobs and various countries facing these challenges in job filling difficulties are required to be focused and strategy of developing skills may be set accordingly. The analysis of the above survey is depicted as under, with India in the top 6 countries (Figure 3). The quantum of job filling difficulty over years is as per (Figure 4) A survey found that 44 percent of multinational companies have at management level and above as expatriate employees. Many forward-thinking firms adopt reverse expatriate strategies, assigning promising foreign managers to shadow executives in an organizations more mature business lines. The reverse expatriate observes operations and protocols and then applies

Manpower Group Borderless Solutions to Todays Talent Mismatch - World Regions Find Power in Talent Corridors.

Experis Human Group, 2012 Talent shortage survey research results

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lessons learned to his or her work in developing businesses. The process accelerates development and creates a more comprehensive and sustainable organization.

Source : Experis Human Group, 2012 Talent shortage survey research results

Figure 4 Experis Human Group, 2012 Talent shortage survey research Global Difficulty in filling jobs Various countries constrained by the talent mismatch in their countries have initiated the movement of talent across the world in direction is shown in Figure 2 and in quantum as in Figure 4 & Figure 5. A talent mismatch and its demography challenges In India , do not seem to be solved in the short term, unless the Educational Institutions, Employers and the Government work together , to create a more dynamic talent regionally across talent corridors in India. Stronger interaction and collaboration between Educators, Business and Government is critical for better anticipating the ever-changing demand for new skills and aligning Engineering & Vocational candidates with the appropriate training needed to equip them with these skills to match the Industry needs. Experis Human Group4 addressed the issue of Skilled Manpower by analyzing the current trend of Work culture, Source : Experis Human Group, 2012 fast technological Talent shortage survey research developments, results changing demographics along with turbulent economies across the world and ripples of un-employment amongst youth that Figure 5 Movement across the largest global economies ironically co-exist with the shortage of skilled manpower for various jobs. The mismatch of the skills required and the obsolete curriculum that is churning out a lot of Technicians and Engineers who are not fit for jobs, is leading to stretch assignments for the current workforce, which in many countries are above 65 years of age. This is a compulsion. This has initiated collaborations between companies and companies; and educational institutions. The unemployed educated youth or not with the required skills, and have nots in the unbalanced economies, have led to a rising unrest in Arab, Syria and has even influenced Russia. This is a serious challenge and an opportunity to address the issue of imparting employable skills to the Engineers.

Experis Human Group, How to navigate human age- Harnessing the Rising Power of Technical Professions
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Even China with a huge work force as of now, is under stress (possibly because of one Child policy) of shortage in Skilled power (bigger stress for China in coming 2 decades), which in 2012, is the lowest (8% Shortage) amongst various countries surveyed by Experis. The World has changes very fast in last 1 Year , most clearly in 2011 and is leading to a major impact in months ahead ( written most about US). The market forces between the developed world and the emerging economies have balanced as of now, the wealth being with the developed economies and the young work force with India, Brazil and Vietnam etc. The countries India, Brazil and Vietnam are also have increased discretionary income. g. Engineering / Technology Skills and Industry requirements mismatch Source: Experis Human Group 2012 Talent Engineering Shortage Survey Results sector has occupied a major role in the growth of Indian economy at all times including Figure 6 Global Technical Skills Deficiencies ( Hard Skills ) during the decline in the traditional manufacturing sector. The application of engineering skills throughout the economy (Engineering manufacturing & other Manufacturing, Computer & business services, Figure 7 Technicians & Engineers Shortage Construction, Public Utilities, Agriculture and so on.) and, in particular, importance of Engineering / Technology skills, to the development of technology-based industries and services. The Hard Skills shortage in Industry is reflected at Figure 6 and Figure 7 . Engineers are at 2nd Position in the list having difficulty in filling job by the employers as per survey by Experis Human Group, as in Figure 7 and yet Indian Engineers are employed in big numbers, because of employability due to maismatch of the skills they have been provided and the needs of the Industry. The contrast between the newer-technology, vs. the older traditional based Industry is important, as the output and the newer applications of the electronics sector grew faster than a normal manufacturing as a whole, it provided with much lower costs and helped improved in productivity. Alongside these trends, there have been enormous structural changes within the engineering manufacturing companies due to the development and application of new technology in processes and in products, putting pressure on both investment and the need to re-skill and
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manage change effectively. In addition, competiveness in many other developed nations, international competition and the development of global businesses had a serious impact. The engineering construction sector has also been affected by similar trends - international competitiveness, the need to control costs and improve response times, and the impact of new technology (in particular ICT). Most important has been the trend for large client companies to downsize, and outsource more work, especially more repair and maintenance activities, seeking support of contractor organizations, and more recently some of the operations work also. There has been a noticeable increase in smaller repair and maintenance contracts in contrast to the decrease in large engineering and construction projects. Political factors have also had an influence, including Government energy policy, Energy Efficiency, and health and safety issues. A Study by Board of Engineers Malaysia5 has set out two paths for Engineers and Engineer Technologists Figure 8 quoting a reference of an Engineering and Technology Spectrum of Cheshier (1998) indicating the career path movement of an Engineer from Field services to Technical Sales, to Production testing, to Manufacturing, to Product development, to product design and ending up in research at the end of the career. The study indicates the career path of an Engineering Technologist in exactly the reverse mode, starting from R&D and so on.. The Contours of Engineering Education in Malaysia (and to be a professional Engineer) in the above referred study with various entry and exit options. School leavers get into B Engg via 18 Months Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia18 Months pre university program or 12 months matric or 3 years Engg. Diploma and Figure 8 Two paths Engineering and Engineering Technology go on to B Engg or move to B Eng Tech. B Eng Tech is a route that can be entered after 2 Years certificate course with one year add on for 3 Years Diploma engg as per Figure 8 While developing this paper the ingredients of various inputs during engineering curriculum have been compared in various countries across the world. The importance given to the Scientific Skills developed in Engineering Education varies from 6% (UK) to 25% (Kansas- USA) compared to 17% Northern Lowa USA, while the Professional Skills vary from 39% in Northern Lowa USA , to 76% in Australia, limiting Generic Skills content to 0% in Australia, 3% Bradford in UK , to 44% in Northern Lowa. Board of Engineers Malaysia reported these figures in 2003 Study 6 which are broadly shown in :

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Board of Engineers Malaysia, Institution of Engineers Malaysia, Federation of Engineering Institutions The Engineering Path Blue Print for a highly competent engineering technical work force ( 2003)

ibid., Board of Engineers Malaysia

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Table 1 Education Level based Competency Ingredients % Distribution of Generic, Scientific & Professional Skills Contents in the Engineering / Technology Curriculum in various Countries Levels of Education Certificate S. Engineerin Engineering Course in US, No Skill Particulars g Degree Diploma in US, UK, UK, Canada, . in US, UK Canada, Australia Australia & New & Australia & Kuwait Zealand a b c D d 1 Scientific % 5-25 5-30 10-20 2 Professional % 40-90 60-80 70-100 3 Generic % 0-40 10-20 Almost Nil Data from McKinseys survey 7 used for a limited purpose of this paper, indicates that there are regional disparities in various competencies areas as per Table 2: Table 2 Regional Competency comparison of Professionals Region 1 Middle Management Front Line Supervisors Site Leadership S. No . a 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Competency Site Leadership Areas Region 2 Middle Management Front Line Supervisors i +++
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b Functional

c Technical Data Analysis Basics Six Sigma Competencies Safety & Health requirements Decision Making Effective meeting Management Customer Orientation Continuous Improvement Direction Setting Effective Communication Role Modeling Team Building

g ++

h High




Legend - Comparative Requirements level of Skills in two regions


From the Study by Board of Engineers Malaysia8 dated 2003, (with the fast changing Technologies , study data projected might have changed), one fact comes out , that there is no one solution to a particular set of Job requirements and all the Universities, might have different intake requirements, as such, the content inputs vary according to the Students Profile. Engineering Students from Metro Cities and those from Village background and unknown colleges
7 8

McKinsey & Company Identifying employee skill gaps ( May 2009) ibid., Board of Engineers Malaysia

/ universities the skill content might require a change topped up by the multiskilling concept as requirements of today; as such the contours of reforms in Engineering Education have to encompass all these variations. The content of the skills might change from College to college, proximity of type of Industry, geographic requiremets, that matches the Industry requirements and will sell better and also set trends for Campus placements or the value of the Output candidates. h. Current Pace of Change in Engineers Skills The engineering industry is now seen as being considerably leaner and fitter than it was two decades ago, and on the whole is more stable economically. In terms of GDP , output has grown and the productivity (GDP per head) has Figure 10 increased substantially, and is continuing to do so. The current practices of filling the skill gaps is as in the Figure 10 including the reforms of Engineering Education. The Industrys technology and operational ways to work in the Industry keep changing, much faster than the ability of the current academic and learning educational set up to keep up the pace. Technology based Curriculum get its death with advent of still modern technology (that keep changing every day) before a student pursuing a long 4 years engineering program or a Vocational Program of 2-3 Years duration, completes his / her program. Institutions may not have training capabilities in new areas of job growth as globalization, deregulation and competition change expectations of the Industry from the employees faster than the teaching institutions are changing now. The systems have to be self-healing through close Industry linkages for driving faster curriculum reviews, up-gradation, and faculty training at regular frequency and aligning the program as per the anticipated technology intended to be installed, best serve and to match Skill requirements of the Industry requirements. This is likely to give a better return on investment on Skill development. i. Technology aids E Learning & Distance Education for Engineers Skills While Technology is helping the Industry for improved productivity, it is helping the education sector also. A Technology-based program can act as alternate delivery methodologies likely to improve higher education efficacy, flexibility and capacity of skill development, however cannot fully replace a Contact Program in a classroom. Constraints of an individual l(full-time jobs, institutions within commuting distance, household responsibilities, the lack of public transport, financial resources etc.) can be overcome by all four kinds of classrooms working in tandem; physical instructor led, on-the-job classroom with employers, computer based learning and live satellite with two way audio / video. The lack of trainers in smaller cities can make the full exploitation of satellite delivery (whose two audio video may be more effective than e learning for first generation learners) a key complement to online degrees. The younger generation of learners is far more receptive to usage of technology and can be effectively deployed for education for them.
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j. International Standards of Skill Level The world is aging and has started looking to younger India and will continue doing so, provided India targets its Skill levels & Education Standards to the International Levels. Soft Skills requirements at various positions have so far partially met the requirements by many of Indian expatriates but need updation for many others from the new breed of Engineers from factories of Private Engineering Colleges interested in making money rather than producing developing quality Engineers.

Source : Borderless Search for todays talent Mismatch, World Power Find Power in Talent Corridors , Man Power Group, 2011 k. Conclusion Varied solutions may be required for diversified job requirements as is evident from different studies because, all the Universities / Skill development Institutions in India (and elsewhere) have different intake requirements. As such, the content inputs vary according to the Students Profile. The Individuals for enhancing the skill content might require a change in skill content topped up by multiskilling concept is the requirement of today. Thus, the contour of reforms in Table 3 Engineering Education has to encompass all these variations. All the stakeholders in India have to work towards the perception the world has, about Indias Competitiveness as shown in Table 3. The Institutions for Skill development going in for the reforms have to keep inclusions in their programs/ curriculam. The Skill requirements of the Vocational Stream, Engineers / Technologists are required to be dynamically modified to match the above challenges and make them ready for Global
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requirements to help achieving demographic advantage of India. Modular programs can best do this, with part distance learning, E learning / on line programs in addition to the on-site programs with entry and exit options. Any system of change in Course Curriculum by the university will not be at the same pace (even though it may profess a dynamic) as is the Industry requirements; this can be done by Industry based add-on programs developed with Industry partnership by viberant Engineering Institutions. Modular Programs are answer to the same to meet the fast changing technologies and be a part of Life Long Learning (LLL). The individual can build in a basket of credit based modular programs for himself / herself , as per the Industry needs and may supplement by another module where one feels deficient. In order to be aligned with global practices and satisfying the industry needs, it is essential that the vision of engineering workforce be enhanced and include various inputs on engineering technology component from the engineering fraternity. Opportunity to be professional engineer are also provided in some countries, as opposed to making engineering technology as an independent stream, which may not progress further or promoted within the engineering qualification framework. References: Aranaca- Research on Indian GDP Deloitte & US Council of Competitiveness 2010 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Experis Human Group, How to navigate human age- Harnessing the Rising Power of Technical Professions Experis Human Group, 2012 Talent shortage survey research India Brand Equity Foundation Role of Industry in Employment Generation in India Manpower Group. Borderless Solutions to Todays Talent Mismatch - World Regions Find Power in Talent Corridors. McKinsey & Company Identifying employee skill gaps ( May 2009) About the Author: Y P Chawla ; Advisor, Tariff- Jt. Elec. Regu. Commn., National Jt. Secretary IIPE,; 98107-08707 BE Tech. & MBA (Fin), PGDPM & PGDMM from Delhi University. Export Mgmt. from Oxford. Pursuing PhD. in Skill Gaps in Power Sector , Over 4 decades of Experience in diversified sectors covering Energy including Solar & other Renewable Energy, (Ex. BHEL), Water Sector, Agriculture, Infrastructure. Widely travelled in India & abroad including some Foreign Postings. Written Papers on diversified subjects- ( with web details) Skill Related Subject: 1. Approach to Zero Breakdown-A Challenge of Multi Management Aspects 2. Power Sector Project Management Challanges 3. Management Assets during the Challenges - Maintenance of Current Economic Meltdown 4. Sustainable Development Role of Engineering Managers and Technologists 5. Enhancing Skills and Faster Generation of Employment the role of Engineers & Technocrats 6. Business Excellence through Human Asset Management Building Competence Other Subjects 7. Indias Sustainable Green Growth Rural Sector thru Renewables 8. Israeli advanced water technologies- Sharing Tahal experience with India Eli Barak Director Marketing, Asia Operations & YP Chawla Marketing Director India Operations , Tahal Consulting Engineers Ltd.
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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

9. Renewable Energy for Inclusive Growth Role of NGOs 10. Iron Ore Beneficiation: Challenges to Iron & Steel Industry 11. Waste Management in Steel Plants, Base Paper: YP Chawla CEO Zoom Developers P Ltd 12. Coal Quality A New Paradigm 13. Renewable Energy for Inclusive Growth Role of NGOs 14. Poster Renewable Energy for Inclusive Growth Role of NGOs 15. Carbon Abetment 16. Integration of Solar Power & Hydro

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