Perhaps the oft-heard saying ‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ suit politicians best. Sadly, the only tribe that does not realise the import of this dictum is the political class. As leaders and lords, they deem it their right to take decisions on subjects about which they have little clue. Take the example of the Kerala Government’s decision to demolish a key flyover built over two years at a cost of roughly Rs. 50 crore, now that it has developed cracks. It is a sad moment for the engineer fraternity in the country. Not only because the demolition of a structure built by their peers brings disrepute to the profession, but because of the huge waste of precious (and scarce) public funds where there could be at least a second best alternative.
Another oft-heard dictum, “Prevention is better than cure”, might be equally valid here, though not for the flyover in question. The dictum would apply better to the practice to be adopted by the Government when recruiting engineers to its service. Ideally, a minimum of three years’ experience in the industry should be one of the eligibility criteria for a job in government. The engineering curriculum also needs to be improved to meet the changing needs of the times. Like it is done in the case of medical education, engineering students also should undergo practical training for at least one year before they complete the course. To ensure quality, we need to first train our minds to think quality. As the famous English writer John Ruskin said “Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. There must be the will to produce a superior thing.”
Together let us raise our voice for quality.