(Un) Happy Engineer’s Day

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OVER the years, Kashmir has produced brilliant Engineers who’ve worked on various projects within Kashmir and outside of it. Senior engineers employed in Government services have also served Kashmir with their skill and expertise. Perhaps, this has been the reason for the raving preference that this profession still enjoys among youngsters here.

Statistically, India produces a huge chunk of unemployable engineers even as it is the country which outsources them the most. In Kashmir, people are still drawn to this profession without taking into account factors such as unavailability of jobs and obsolete curriculum. Every year, high school graduates choose to pursue engineering. In fact, they have the support of everyone from parents, to teachers and to the society in general.

This trend, apart from being uncritical, is also deeply detrimental. Students in Kashmir are extremely passionate and well versed. However, by expending their efforts on engineering degrees in absence of jobs; they’re only going to get themselves into a circle of Sisyphean labour. This does not imply that those who are passionate for it, must give up on it. On the contrary, such a situation calls for an aware and enlightened planning. Students need to get in touch with seniors working in different roles within and outside Kashmir. This is the only way one can acquaint oneself with the risks and the rewards of pursuing the profession.

Perhaps, outside Kashmir, there are better chances for engineering graduates. But the situation is absolutely dismal within Kashmir. Engineering graduates who wish to stay back have failed to find jobs that pay them well. Exams for government jobs have become an inaccessible dream. Many haven’t had the chance to even take a test, let alone qualify it.

There are serious administrative loopholes that have enabled this situation. We’ve unemployed engineers who are blaming themselves for their failures, when in reality, the situation is purely structural. Little to no efforts have been made to create jobs in Kashmir or to fill up those that open up.

We as a society must also realise that the veneration of permanent jobs that the past generations value so much cannot be possible in today’s day and age. In India as well as abroad, switching jobs is the norm and is even considered welcome because of better salary packages as one moves up the professional ladder. It has also become normal to switch professions according to ones needs and interests. Freelancing is in Vogue.

We need to be aware of these trends as a society and make conscious career choices. Additionally, most part of the responsibility lies with the government to ensure that more and more jobs are created. We cannot let efficient professionals think that they’re responsible for their failures. We cannot ignore the huge chunk of unemployed engineers that have been accumulating over the years. As a society, we have to grow financially and our young engineers who stay back in Kashmir should get the chance to earn and serve.

Tania Shafi

Nawhatta, Srinagar

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