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Changing trends in Professional Education

 


Dr.T.P.Sethumadhavan

Courtesy: http://education.mathrubhumi.com

Entrance exam season has begun. Plus two students are busy with entrance examinations for the professional courses. They have to write a series of examinations during this summer. There is a growing apprehension among the students and parents regarding the choice of professional courses. Questions like, which course is best , which course has more career potential  are often raised by them. Plus two students with Mathematics and Biology are in a dilemma regarding the choice of medical, engineering or agricultural courses. Moreover reports on impact of economic recession make the issue more complex.

Kerala entrance examinations for Medical, Agricultural and Engineering courses for the current year will be held from 25th to 28th May 2009. Students should not select a course based on the compulsion from the parents. It should not be based on existing vacancies available in the government sector. Try to dream about the research and development that will take place after 4-5 years.  Students’ aptitude and interest must be given adequate weightage.

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Medical courses

In Kerala more number of parents are interested to admit their children to medical courses. But the number of medical seats available when compared to engineering are less than 10 percent. So competition is very high. As per WHO recommendations, 500-1000 number of population needs a doctor. But this ratio cannot be achieved easily in the state due to scarcity of doctors. In order to achieve the above status it will take, minimum a decade. Cuba’s achievement in this regard is really commendable in having a doctor per 500 number of population.  Thus it is clear that there is better employment potential for doctors in the state, hence Biology students can give first choice to MBBS course. Moreover potential of doctors in the state will further improve if the concept of family doctor is implemented in rural areas. There exist enough vacancies of doctors in the department of health services.

Dental graduates have only limited number of posts in the government sector. But they can start private clinic under self-employment venture. Recent decision to reduce the duration of the BDS course will affect the career prospects of Dental graduates within the country and abroad. As per the directions of Dental Council of India, the state Government has been compelled to reduce the duration of BDS course to five years with effect from 2008-09. Previously it was four and a half years of study period with one year of internship. With this decision, duration of BDS course will become five years without having internship. During the one-year internship period, the student acquires more skill and confidence to work independently. After completing internship he/she can practise with confidence. While overseas dental education is giving due importance to skill development and hands on training programme with internship and externship in leading hospitals, dental graduates under the new stream without internship will find it very difficult to adjust with the new situation. Recent decision taken by state government to retain internship programme in the state is a welcome suggestion in this regard.
Dentistry is one of the important professional courses having immense career potential in United States and Europe. In USA Dental surgeons are earning more income than any other professionals. In United States patient has to pay huge fee for dental ailments. Now a days more number of dental graduates from India are interested to pursue higher education from USA or UK. During their study period they are preparing for dental licensing examination.  In order to complete the licensing examination successfully, a student must be required to undergo externship in United States/UK under the guidance of a licensed dental practitioner. A student without undergoing internship will find it very difficult to successfully complete the required externship programme and licensing examination.
Ayurveda degree programme BAMS is acquiring momentum in the country and abroad. Now a days people are more interested to pursue ayurvedic treatment than modern medicine for chronic cases. Ayurveda doctors have enough potential in European countries, UK and United states. As part of health tourism this sector can exhibit spectacular growth within the country and abroad.
Homoeopathy is emerging as one of the promising areas in the health sector. Being cost effective, homeopathic treatment can be easily accessible to lower income groups. Government is making all efforts to popularize this system in the state. Homoeopathy is more prevalent in Canada, European countries and United States.

Even though Nursing, BPharm and BSc MLT have been excluded from entrance examination in Kerala this time , these courses have better career potential within the country and abroad. Globally nursing has emerged as one of the key areas generating more employment. Almost all countries are facing scarcity for nurses. Developed countries face difficulty in meeting the ever-growing demand for nurses. Since the demand gap is very high, Indian nursing schools can exploit this situation. International Council for Nurses (ICN) and Florence Nightingale International Foundation have revealed that developing countries can play a key role in reducing this global problem. Potential for nurses are more in USA, England, Canada, NewZeland, Ireland, Switzerland, Scotland, Australia, Wales and in certain African countries. BSc MLT students can start accredited laboratories under self-employment sector. They have umpteen opportunities in Middle East countries and abroad.

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Agricultural courses

Basically compared to other courses, agricultural courses are also not free from unemployment. But there is enough potential for pursuing specialization and research abroad. They can choose MBA programme for better career options. They can also join for specialization in Agri business management, supply chain management and retail management at National Institute of Extension Management (MANAGE), Hyderabad or Indian Institute of Managements where almost 100 percent placement is assured. Agricultural graduates can undertake research in agricultural universities. They can apply for agriculture research scientist examinations.

Among agricultural courses Veterinary science, Dairy science, Agriculture and  Forestry have more opportunities under government and private sector when compared to fisheries and agricultural engineering. Veterinary graduates have umpteen number of opportunities in Canada, European Union and United States. Moreover agricultural graduates can specialize in Bioinformatics and Biotechnology, which are having immense potential within the country and abroad.
Engineering courses

In the engineering sector existing priorities must be redefined. Nano technology, Mechatronics and Bioinformatics are emerging as the future promising technological areas. Global economic recession has started affecting some of the potential employment sectors in the country. It has not even spared the IT industry.  In order to overcome this crisis, major IT companies are taking stringent economic measures like freezing of increments, allowances, etc. Moreover they have started retrenching employees with poor work efficiency. Their major objective is to reduce the number of work force. But recruitment will be reduced in the coming years.

During 2007, more than 65 percent recruitment in the IT industry was through campus recruitments. Now it has been reduced to less than 20 percent. As a sequele to retrenchment, IT industries are more interested to select experienced candidates rather than fresh graduates. Satyam scandal has made a black mark on Indian IT industry. It is clear that future may not be smooth for IT industry in the country – at least in the short run.
The major preferences for the students were to join IT; Computer science or related engineering courses till 2008. Of the 30000 Keralites passing out from the engineering colleges of the state or from nearby states, more than 40 percent is from IT related disciplines. Their sole objective is to get in to a pioneering IT company. But the situation is changing day by day. Major new generation courses like Mechatronics, Nano technology, Biomedical science; Bioinformatics, Electronics & Communication, Mechanical Engineering, Dairy technology, Environmental engineering, Maritime engineering and BTech in Fashion Technology are emerging as the major placement oriented courses.  Civil, architecture and Chemical engineering graduates can pursue post graduation abroad for better placements.
In order to overcome the major threats in the employment sector, engineering students should acquire better skills in their respective fields and knowledge on management principles. Recently more number of engineering graduates has started taking MBA from the best business schools within the country and abroad. Industries have started preferring engineering graduates with specialization in management for technical and managerial post.

Now in order to get better placements, students have to face tough competition. Only those with better skill, work experience and specialization can sustain in the job market. NASSCOM has revealed that, more than 75 percent of engineering graduates in the country have poor knowledge and skill. So in the emerging job market, engineering graduates may not get a mere walkover; but an assessment based on work efficiency and performance. So merely joining the course and passing out with low marks will land the students in tears. From the first semester itself they have to work hard and earn good marks.

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