Wanted – Engineers to the Nation
Back in the cusp of India’s independence when the IITs were conceived, the vision was to create educational institutions that would provide the nation with an elite corps of technologists who would take up the architecting of new India. While the IITs did emerge as premier institutes of technological learning, for the longest time they were also pilloried for losing the cream of their graduates to better employment opportunities abroad.
The jury was divided on the accuracy of that claim even then, but that notwithstanding, the fact remains that today, 56 years after IIT Bombay was established, while students are no longer contributing to “brain drain”, a large percentage still take up jobs in the non-core sector.The issue perhaps comes into the sharpest focus in the month of December every year with the commencement of the placement season, the best time for Fundamatics to takes it up as its thematic focus. Not since Prof Sukhatme presented his empirically-researched report on the “brain drain” issue in the 1980s, have we come across such a well-researched paper as the one presented here by Professors Sohoni and Kathuria. We decided to depart from the norm and carry a more academic paper. An alternative view to Sohoni and Kathuria is provided by a piece from Prof. Ali Contractor. There is an article from the campus student magazine, ‘Insight’ although we are fairly sure that too only skims the surface of student responses.
Few know that the entire placement process is undertaken by a group of selfless, extremely hardworking student volunteers without whom there would perhaps be no placements. Unfortunately as we go into print, the placement team is still too busy to be disturbed. We promise to follow up with a detailed in-depth perspective from the placement office in the next issue.The editors are well aware that the complexity of the placement process is of a magnitude that cannot have any easy answers. Nor do the views and opinions expressed here reflect the entire gamut of perspectives on the debate. Continuous critical self-reflective analysis however, is what makes any educational institution reach true greatness. Our intent is not to take sides, but to widen the scope of the debate within the larger Institute community.
A common theme running across the issue, be it with the placement debate or our interviews and opinion pieces, is the concept of ‘leadership’ albeit in a serious, non-buzzword fashion. There are liberal doses of humor, with an excellent satire from Alibaba while Ab ki baar, Grumblebee has moved on from MGPL to a new estate – Moody Sarkar Unlimited (MSU) – with a completely new set of dramatis personae. There is some exceptional poetry from our resident Tinkerbee and Karthik K S S. In short, with winter well and truly here, this is just the companion you need on a lazy weekend to curl up on the couch with a steaming cup of coffee. I hope you will all agree.