Low employability skills among the B. Tech. graduates seem to be exposing the falling quality levels in engineering colleges across the State.

Engineers from Kerala figured 10 in terms of employability in the IT services sector among 16 states surveyed as part of the National Employability Report 2011 prepared by employability assessment company Aspiring Minds.

A study by the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) had found that the outturn rate in engineering colleges or the percentage of students graduating from among those enrolled, which was almost 90 per cent for the 1991 intake, has been coming down and currently stands at about 55 per cent. It means one in every two students either drops out of the course or fails in the examinations.

The study by Sunil Mani, Professor, Planning Commission Chair at the Centre for Development Studies in Thiruvananthapuram, and Arun M., who did his M.Phil. at the centre, had revealed that liberalisation of education has not brought in the expected benefits for Kerala.

Stating that the failure to ensure standards had led to the non-employability of engineering graduates in the State, K. M. Chandrasekhar, Vice-Chairman of State Planning Board, said too many engineering colleges had come up in the State over these years. Lack of accreditation was another reason for the declining standards, he said.

Jayasankar Prasad. C, Director of Kerala State IT Mission, said the intake capacity for B. Tech. programmes had rocketed from 1,000 nearly 20 years ago to over 50, 000 today.

“Managements were now finding it difficult to fill the seats and hence they compromise on the quality of students getting admitted to various courses. Colleges also lack good faculty members,” he said.

But Dr. Prasad reminded that most of the surveys on employability were looking at the IT employability factor. “The excessive focus on IT is also a problem. There was little talk on employability skills when the IT sector registered an exponential growth earlier. With recruitments coming down following the recession, companies started looking at the employability factor,” he said.

M. Mahadevan, who had served as Principal of the government engineering colleges in Kannur, Kottayam and Barton Hill in Thiruvananthapuram, said that most of the engineering graduates lack soft skills that hamper their employability prospects.

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