We hear many people say often that “Mumbai is always under construction”. Work is continuously on to build towering offices and residences, roads and civic facilities, causing inconvenience to lakhs of Mumbaikars constantly. Notwithstanding the chaos, there is a rush of youngsters who are seeing a tremendous opportunity in the construction business and have set out to build their careers “brick by brick”.
In the last five years, the number of students taking admission for architecture studies at the University of Mumbai has increased by 45%, according to enrolment data for the first-year under-graduate courses at affiliated colleges only.
In 2008-09, 685 students took admission for the Bachelor of Architecture courses, whereas in 2012-13 there are more than 1,000 students who have taken admission for the five-year degree that will prepare them to seek employment in the multi-crore infrastructure and real-estate sector. The new SEZ policy that opens up the potential of this sector manifold will likely see enrolment climb further soon.
Prof Sushma Joglekar, chairperson of the board of studies, architecture, at the University of Mumbai said, “We now have 18 architecture colleges from half a dozen a couple of years ago. Four colleges were opened last year only. Mumbai is the hub of real estate and this naturally attracts students to architecture. The courses give them knowledge that is also applicable in other fields like designing, graphics and planning.”
Deepti Kapoor, coordinator of Hire College of Architecture, said, “The big growth in the real estate sector attracts youngsters, but not every degree-holder is successful. It takes at least 6-7 years for them to earn enough, unless they are brilliant or are from families engaged in the business.”
The number of students taking up law has also grown by over 30% in the five-year period. From 3,274 students pursuing three-year and five-year degree courses in 2008-09, the number has grown to 4,843 in this academic year.
As expansion in infrastructure and industry, health and education grows quickly, the conflicts and legal cases arising are bound to increase also. While corporate disputes have increased, there has been a rise in crime too.
Abhinav Anand, a second-year student of Government Law College, said, “I didn’t want to do engineering, it’s what every second person is doing. Legal education gives you an edge in your career, like if you want to get into administrative services. Also, the starting salary for an engineer is very low as compared to a lawyer.”
Daisy Alexandrea, principal of Rizvi Law College, explains that “students want to study something that is happening and dynamic. Every field is governed by one or another law. Advancements are happening now. Naturally, there is a huge demand for legal experts.”
Nevertheless, engineering remains the traditional favourite. In the five-year period the number of students pursuing Bachelor of Engineering courses in the University of Mumbai has grown from 13,932 to 20,851.
But the interest in the arts stream has seen a decline in University. Enrolment even at the higher secondary level has reduced considerably in last few years. Job-oriented courses like BSc (bio-tech), BSc (IT) and in the commerce stream BBA, BAF and BFM have been more in demand over the general science and commerce courses.
The fast-growing media industry is also attracting some youngsters. The number of students taking up BMM has grown three times, from 1,194 to 3,703 in five years. Academicians attribute this trend to the rising aspirations of youngsters, who are dissatisfied with the faults in the system and want to be a part of the process to change it.