Most often, movies are taken as a wishful depiction, a fiction that usually doesn’t exist in the real world. But when it comes to career selection, or most suitable word would be career-imposition, movies have brilliantly burlesqued on the predicament of our society where a boy is wished to be an engineer and a girl to be a doctor. It is not altogether a bad practice, as the elders know what’s better for their children but not everyone conforms to their wishes. Not everyone has the same habits, same mental level or not everyone masters in one particular skill. The child’s caliber, acceptance and choice matters. This is just a beginning of what we term as career dilemma – a hard choice sometimes made by the student and at other times imposed on him.
Another plight of our conservative society is female education that has always remained a hard nut to crack. While looking at the developments in the recent decades, the things have changed over the time for the betterment, from no education to primary education and in the developed and pseudo modern cities, education up to graduation or post-graduation level. And from here starts the problem, a corruption and fraud to the state. Not everyone, but most of girls in every family, town or city, after getting a degree are eschewed from pursuing their professional career. All the money, the subsidies, scholarships are turned futile overnight. A country where there are meagre educational resources, a few public affordable (and somewhat standard) institutes, and this brazen act is not less than a crime. This act not only wastes government’s spending but also deprives another potential candidate who could have set some career goals, dreams to fulfil with a seat.
While above were the dilemmas created/imposed by the individual himself, the other side of the coin is also gloomy. The growing population; comprised mostly of the youth between 20s and 30s and halted progress in the industrial and services sector has concentrated the job market. Coupled with bad governance, nepotism, institutional incompetency, the unemployment rate is soaring. As engineers are not alienated in this society, in fact they are the most vulnerable to these adverse impacts. As mentioned earlier, the wishful thinking of the elders contributes to the great number of engineers every year; it also contributes to the great number of unemployed individuals in the country every year. As we are fond of following the trend, and education sector is no longer less than a business enterprise, the private sector has further aggravated the job sector. Unchecked increase in engineering colleges and universities has flooded the market with thousands of engineers. Not going far, just take the example of our very own institute, which yesterday successfully organized its 23rd convocation. Almost 2400 engineers were awarded the degree of one the most prestigious institute of this country, sadly not even the 10% of them are employed (estimated).
Whereas unchecked private sector is one the reason of unemployment, if we look from the perspective of UET, an intense competition has forced Uetians to be on the back foot. Private sector, not all but most of them, though unchecked has provided its students with the internationally recognized quality of education, best technical facilities, research grounds and career development that has given them an edge over UET, which too is moving towards the quality education under new administration, but at a slower pace. LUMS is such an example which has started its own engineering program and has compelled the industries to recruit its graduates. The domination of private sector is also evident from the rankings issued by international forums and organizations.
As impacts of one problem doesn’t confine itself to one point only, rather it’s a chain process that gradually effects the other sectors as well. When not having jobs in hands, engineers tend to change their career altogether. Denied by industries, they look forward for teaching, marketing and many others, thus creating a concentration there. And the trendiest of the career shift is civil services. Considered as one of the prestigious sector in Pakistan after armed services, every year thousands of candidates try their luck in the competitive exam. The soaring number of applicants every year; and most of them from engineering and medical background, is an evidence of a circumstantial career shift. The declining result every year has many reasons and one of them is the candidate’s potential and will, who has just opted to look for a better job option going against his skills and interests. How could you expect one to nail such a high level exam without pouring his efforts and heart in it? Here again, exceptions are present. Not everyone comes in search of an alternative, lucrative job option, some come by their choice and passion too and they secure a prominent position too. Many Uetians did it in the past.
So concluding the above discussion, as it is perceivable that engineering has taken a back seat in the recent years owing to job concentration, over flooding of graduates, the change in attitude is need of the hour. We have to give up on the societal trends, taken as norms of making boy an engineer and girl a doctor, or taking the degree just to frame it and hang it on the wall. A check on private institutions is indispensable for HEC to tame unemployment. Quality education, personality development, career development bureaus, job bureaus in the university need to deliver more in this competitive environment.
Best of luck to all graduates of 2012 session and prayers for their bright future ahead.