It transpires that 95 percent of newly minted engineers in India can’t code, which means they lack the skills to develop software. With automation, information technology and artificial intelligence radically changing business structures, such engineers are ‘virtually unemployable’ in the market, so says a recent survey by Aspiring Minds, an employability assessment company. While it finds IIT students still competent, most of engineers churned out by small, local engineering colleges have poor skills. There are some 800 such engineering colleges across the country, and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is reportedly mulling about shutting these down. These colleges have long been under the scanner anyway, what with their outdated curricula resulting in plunging admissions and vacant seats year after year. With the Aspiring Minds survey covering nearly 37,000 engineering students from over 500 colleges, it was found that most of these would-be techies often study outdated syllabus and ‘lack in-depth knowledge in their respective areas of specialisation’. By employing varying standards of exactness, the tests revealed that more than 60 percent students failed to write compilable code, 31.01 percent could write functiolly correct code ‘with few anomalies’, while only a miniscule 2.21 percent students wrote code that was ‘functiolly and logically correct’. As per AICTE data, the number of BE/BTech students who passed out last year stood at nearly 8 lakh, with less than half getting jobs through campus placement. There needs to be more follow-up surveys to find out how and where the rest were absorbed, if at all. What the country is faced with is thus a colossal waste of human resources, which should have been in the vanguard of turning it into the world’s manufacturing centre to rival Chi. Considering the turmoil government-run engineering colleges in Assam are presently going through, their authorities and the State Education department need to pull up socks urgently. In its rush to push engineering students for affiliation to the Assam Science and Technology University (ASTU), Dispur needs to apply its mind more on how to equip these techies with relevant knowledge and skills.