In the second week of January 2017, the Medical Council of India (MCI) proposed that all medical students should take a National Exit Test to get the ‘doctor’ title. Later, even the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) proposed that engineering students should take a similar test after completing their course. The exit test for graduating engineers will assess their employability skills and it will be conducted for students of all institutes across India, be it private or government engineering colleges.
PaGaLGuY spoke to graduates from different engineering institutes across the country to know if an exit test is good idea or a bad.
Akhil Shukla, alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Patna, said, “In a way, we already have one exit test of sorts in place, in the form of a BTech (Bachelor of Technology) project. It is the final project and carries significant credits.”
Shukla is not sure how the exit test would help. He added, “It’s a repeat of the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), six hours of an exam day defines what a person is? I don’t think that’s fair. There’s so much unaccounted luck involved. If the exit test has questions from first semester, and a student does not remember that topic after seven semesters? How does it make sense?”
He ended stating that how is it that people of a past generation want to decide the future of the present generation. Another IITian with a similar view point, Vinit Sharaswat, alumnus of IIT Indore, said, “I think it sounds good, but doesn’t the Graduate Aptitude Test of Engineering (GATE) serve the same purpose?” He added, “It will be good if companies accept the exit test scores, and recruit candidates on its basis. Then companies won’t have to conduct their own tests because during placements students are taking a separate test every day for various companies.”
Ayush Kedia, alumnus of IIT (Indian School of Mines) Dhanbad, said, “The overriding reason behind this exit test is the high unemployment of engineers and I perceive it to be a good initiative. There are many institutes who just give degrees for the sake of giving a degree, and same goes with the students. The scores will reflect the education being offered in institutions, acting as a report card for them as well, and it will force them to put in more effort from their side.”
He continued, “Graduating engineers will also be tested on aptitude and critical reasoning. This will be beneficial as most companies conduct tests on these above-mentioned dimensions. Even the non-technical skills will be heeded to by students and institutions.”
When candidates appear for an interview, they are tested mainly on aptitude. Because when one can learn the work, if he/she is smart. “Also, students will not take engineering for granted,” added Kedia.
While giving an example of his alma mater, Aditya Patle alumnus of the Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology (MANIT) Bhopal, said, “Not even 50% of the graduating engineers get a decent job. Among these 40-50% students, 80% are from IITs or NITs. Most of us either end up having Rs two-three lakh per annum packages or we can choose to stay unemployed.”
He continued, “It means that apart from technical knowledge, something else is lacking. By the time placement season ended at MANIT, we had enough companies lined up for recruitment. However, since they didn’t find suitable candidates, only a handful were picked.”
Will the exit test actually help determine employability?