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Computer Engineering Now the Most Popular Engineering Discipline, Has Highest Student Enrolments

Total student enrolments in computer engineering at undergraduate level (UG) have gone up over 18 per cent in the past five years from 7.43 lakh in the academic year 2014-15 to 8.8 lakh in 2018-19.

Fazil Khan | News18.com

Updated:September 28, 2019, 9:44 AM IST
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Computer Engineering Now the Most Popular Engineering Discipline, Has Highest Student Enrolments
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New Delhi: Every year, more and more students are opting for computer engineering as their preferred engineering discipline, while student enrolments in previously popular programmes such as mechanical, civil and electronics engineering continue to decline.

Total student enrolments in computer engineering at undergraduate level (UG) have gone up over 18 per cent in the past five years from 7.43 lakh in the academic year 2014-15 to 8.8 lakh in 2018-19, as per the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) released by the Ministry of Human Resources Development last week.

During the same period, the number of students opting for mechanical engineering saw a decline of nearly 20 per cent from 9.76 lakh in 2014-15 to 7.82 lakh last year. Similarly, electronics engineering has seen a fall of more than 20 per cent in student enrolments in the past five years, while the same for civil and electronics engineering disciplines has shrunk nine and 17 per cent, respectively.

Across all courses at UG-level, almost 23 per cent of all engineering & technology students in the country are pursuing computer engineering as of 2018-19, followed by mechanical (20.3 per cent), electronics (16.3 per cent) and civil engineering (13.9 per cent).

At least 962 universities, 38,179 colleges and 9,190 standalone institutions in the country (both private and public) took part in the survey of the total 993 universities, 39,931 colleges and 10,725 standalone institutions listed on AISHE portal. Students’ enrolment is taken on a rolling basis, meaning all the students enrolled in a discipline (total of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year students in an engineering course) as on September 30 of the academic year of the survey.

This is the first time that computer engineering has emerged as the discipline with the highest number of enrolments since the ministry started conducting the survey in 2011-12. Over the last four surveys, between 2014-15 and 2017-18, mechanical engineering had the highest number of students among all the engineering & technology programmes, followed by computer engineering at the second spot in three of them.

Professor Anil D Sahasrabudhe, chairman of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), a statutory body and a national-level council for technical education, under the HRD ministry, believes that people naturally gravitate towards the disciplines where there are more jobs available and a good number of jobs still continue to be in the domain of computer engineering.

“If you look at the history of around 10-15 years, there have been ups and downs in terms of which discipline is on the top. Sometimes it’s electronics, sometimes mechanical and so on. So, I think this keeps shifting depending on where there are more number of placements happening,” he said.

In addition to this, with new and emerging technologies, computer engineering is seen as a course which offers future prospects of jobs as well.

“All the jobs in new areas, which are being talked about in the industry are not yet created but are likely to be created in the future such as in the domain of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality, etc. have a very strong natural content of computer science. These are areas which are going to create huge number of jobs in the next 10-20 years,” Sahasrabudhe added.

Other than the more sought after engineering & technology courses, disciplines such as agriculture engineering, food technology and dairy technology have seen substantial increase in student enrolments, although absolute numbers of students remain low.

So, while the number of students in agriculture engineering has seen a 41 per cent growth from 15,077 in 2014-15 to 21,262 in 2018-19, enrolments in food technology surged almost 93 per cent from 6,965 to 13,434 in the past five years. Likewise, enrolments in dairy technology grew 45 per cent from 2,085 in 2014-15 to 3,023 in 2018-19.

However, overall number of students going for engineering & technology courses at UG-level are on a decline. For instance, there were as many as 42.27 lakh students enrolled in these courses across the country in 2014-15, which has come down to 38.52 lakh in five years, registering a fall of nearly 9 per cent.

Not just engineering, the survey reveals that fewer people are now opting for professional courses, both at UG as well as post graduate (PG) level.

As per the survey, enrolments for professional courses (B. Tech., MBBS, etc. ) at the UG-level have decreased about 8.6 per cent from 83.87 lakh in 2015-16 to 76.65 lakh in 2018-19, while for PG-level, it has seen a decline of 31.6 per cent from 18.07 lakh to 12.36 lakh during the same time.

Reflecting the same, enrolments in B. Tech. and M. Tech have shown a fall of 11 per cent and 53 per cent, respectively, between 2014-15 and 2018-19.

In contrast, academic courses have seen an increase as far as student interest is concerned. At the UG-level, students in academic courses increased from 1.96 crore in 2015-16 to 2.09 crore (6.7 per cent), while at the PG-level, it went from 24.46 lakh in 2015-16 to 27.38 lakh last year.

Overall, an estimated 3.74 crore students are enrolled in higher education in the country across streams and disciplines compared to 34.21 crore five years ago.

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