Despite the craze for engineering seats, one area, students don't seem to be aware of, is the plethora of opportunities for students with a diploma from a polytechnic institution. Listen to Suganthi R. (SR), the Director of Rajalakshmi Polytechnic institute at Thiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu who explains the entry procedures and opportunities in her interview with AllCareerGuru (ACG).
ACG: Welcome Ms Suganthi. Tell us the entry qualifications for polytechnics.
SR: Tenth standard is the minimum qualification required. Students after 12th can get directly into the second year of the three year course.
Earlier, Mathematics was a required subject for entry, but recently there have been relaxations made to allow those without Mathematics into a number of polytechnic programs. In most private polytechnics, there is not even a cut off of minimum marks except a pass percentage in their school exam.
For Government polytechnics, there is a centralized counselling. Most polytechnics do not get their seats filled up and almost always have vacancies. Some institutions offer incentives such as form of free bus service etc.
ACG: What about the fees structure?
SR: The fees structure varies between Rs.12000 and Rs.17000 per semester. For scheduled caste and scheduled tribe students, there are liberal Government scholarships available.
ACG: What are the typical branches/specialisation in the institutions?
SR: Most institutions have 5-6 branches, and now there is a lot of emphasis for getting NBA (National Bureau of Accreditation) accreditation for institutions which ensures a certain standard.
Most institutions have specialisations in Civil (with possible specialisations in architecture), Electrical, Electronics and Communication, and Mechatronics with specialization in automobile engineering, tools and dying, refrigeration and air-conditioning, agriculture (where there is emphasis on farm equipment).
ACG: What about placements?
SR: Hundred percent of those who clear the programs get placement particularly in Tamil Nadu. There is a lot of demand in automobile and other industries particularly in Chennai and Pune areas. According to the company law, the employees these firms hire should have a minimum of diploma in the specialisation. Hence these firms prefer diploma holders to engineering degree holders due to the low initial cost of hiring.
For some specialisations like oil, gas and chemical engineering, there are several opportunities abroad including in Dubai and Canada.
ACG: What about the salary structure?
SR: Typical starting salaries used to be below Rs.10000 per month, but they have increased now. Someone who is sincere and hardworking can easily raise to much higher levels within 5 to 10 years. For example, one of our 2016 graduate is earning in the range of Rs.50000 per month now.
ACG: What about opportunities for further education?
SR: After the first year, good students can enter the second year of Engineering. There are also students who finish the diploma, start working, and register for distance or part time Engineering degrees while they earn.
In summary, rather than spending a lot of money in a not so great engineering college, students will be better off doing a diploma in a good polytechnic college, get a job, start earning and enhance their qualifications and move up in life.