India – How good is the Education system?

India has 3393 Engineering Colleges, as per AICTE (http://www.aicte-india.org/). By most estimates, these colleges are churning out upwards of 750000 Engineers per year. When we administered a written test to a handful of fresh engineering graduates, even people with CGPA of 9+/10 scored 3/30! We checked again (and again) to confirm if the questions were “too tough”. No, it was not. Such a situation is really scary. Almost 95% of the resumes/profiles we get are unemployable.

Here are some articles touching upon the subject:

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-06-18/news/40049243_1_engineers-iit-bombay-batch-size

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703515504576142092863219826

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/AICTE-may-bar-new-engineering-management-colleges-from-2014/articleshow/12063375.cms

Some recent tough (funny?) experiences I had:

(A) Broadband/Modem password: After countless attempts, I was connected to a Tata DoCoMo “Internet Specialist”. The issue was that the password sync between the server/account and the modem at home was out of whack. So they gave me a generic (anyone-can-guess) password for the account. The conversation went like this:

Me: “Can I go ahead and change the password to a personal/private one?”

“Internet Specialist”: “Why?”

Me: “I would like to use a secure password”

“Internet Specialist”: “We would not recommend that …”

Me: “But your own password page asks me to change the password to a secure one, with one capital case, one special character and one number”

“Internet Specialist” (No Answer)

Me: “What does your other customers do?”

“Internet Specialist”: “No one changes this default password we have provided”

Me: “You mean to say millions of your customers use the exact same password!? That too despite what your own website asks people to do? (I.e. Change password to private one)”

(B) The “Concerned Department” Syndrome: One unlucky day, something happened in my brain and I decided to subscribe to Business Today magazine. I made the full payment in Dec 2014 and waited till March 2015, to see that I have not received a single issue! I called Business Today Customer Care 3 times, over a period of 3 weeks, which India Today Group also acknowledges, to cancel the subscription and to get 100% refund. I also sent countless emails to a ridiculously titled “wecarebg@intoday.com”. Because of all their proactive “caring”, I had to call them and remind them to respond to the emails, repeatedly. After weeks of “fun”, I am at a stage where I am not sure if I will get a refund … Hopefully, “The Big Man Upstairs” will help me here 😉

Customer Service Agent: “We will inform the “concerned department” and they will get back to you within 24 hours”

Me: “But it is already 5 days since …”

(C) HDFC Credit Card: I am a big fan of HDFC Bank and has been a loyal customer for the past several years. Whenever I log into my online HDFC Account, there is this popup which claims “You are preapproved for XYZ Credit Card”. After ignoring it for years, I decided to apply one fine day (Again, not sure what happened to my brain). After providing all the forms, after providing all the “extra forms” requested, after having someone come to my home to do an in-person verification, one fine day, I suddenly get “REJECTED” message. More than frustration, I was just plain surprised. As mentioned above, it was not that I needed a Credit Card. My momentary Brain-Freeze was the culprit. What transpired was that some HDFC Agent gave me a call on a working day at 10.23AM IST and since I did not pick up the call (probably due to this rare event called “Meetings”), decided to REJECT my application. No SMS, No email, No call on my land-line … Nothing.

Employability is going to be an even bigger problem in India, I feel. It is fine to have a large workforce. But quality and professionalism matters as well. All this Engineering/BPO wave will die down once Engineers start finding zero Engineering jobs and customers sternly bombard firms with complaints and they start losing accounts.

Will our Education institutions ensure folks are really equipped to join the workforce? Or all they churn out are this fancy-looking CPGAs who cannot distinguish an NMOS from a PMOS?

Time will tell …

Adios!

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