India may be the biggest producer of engineering graduates across the world, but about half the number can't match Class 7 students of the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) when it comes to English grammar skills.
Nasscom, an IT industry body, pointed out this problem in 2011, when it stated that almost 50% of the engineers in India were unemployable. Only a meagre 25% of the graduates were found worthy of employment without in-house training.
An evaluation of the Aspiring Minds Computer Aptitude Test (ACMAT) on 55,000 engineering graduates — held in 2011 — has further accentuated this issue. Around half the engineering students were unable to differentiate between the words ‘had’ and ‘have’ in the context of a simple sentence. One-third were unable to answer entry-level math questions.
“Their poor English and Math skills indicate low learning levels,” said Himanshu Aggarwal, an IIT-Delhi alumnus who co-founded Aspiring Minds.
SS Mantha, chairman of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), does not agree. Though he expressed concern, Mantha said the sample size of 55,000 candidates was too small to arrive at a definite conclusion. Around 7,50,000 engineers had graduated in 2011.
The study showed that 47% were unable to write grammatically correct sentences, less than 48% understood moderately sophisticated words, and 52% were not even acquainted with simple English terms.
Hope, however, is on the horizon. Dilip Chenoy, managing director of the National Skill Development Corporation, said the government has joined hands with the industry to resolve the issue.
Q. There is a dearth of woman doctor in our state. We may have to recruit some from other states.
Only 47% of engineering graduates were able to select the correct answer women doctors.
Q Did you _______ cereal for breakfast.
Only 50% of the students were able to give the correct answer – have.
Main findings of the study
* More than 25% engineers do not even possess the English comprehension skills required to understand engineering school curriculum.
* Only 57% engineers can write grammatically correct sentences in English.
* Less than 48% engineers understand moderately sophisticated words of English.
* More than half of all engineers (52%) would not be fluent in a majority of words that are used with regular frequency at the workplace.
* Interestingly not more than 30% of engineering students, who undergo stress and exhaustion while preparing for entrance exams, were acquainted with the word “exhaust”.
* Around 50% engineers possess grammar skills no better than a class VII student.
Sample size: 55,000 engineers out of 1,20,000 who appeared for AMCAT in 2011.