Engineering Mobility? The 'IT Craze', Transnational Migration, and the Commercialisation of Education in Coastal Andhra

Carol Upadhya


The region of Coastal Andhra Pradesh has been an important source of Indian software engineers, mainly because of the dense concentration of private engineering colleges located there. The outward mobility of educated youth, who work as IT professionals in different cities in India and abroad, has created a pervasive social imaginary that equates an engineering degree, a software job, and migration (especially to the US) with economic success and social prestige. Catering to and fuelling these widespread aspirations is a burgeoning education industry, ranging from small ‘English-medium’ schools to expensive ‘corporate colleges’. The paper argues that a regional culture of migration has profoundly shaped not only the education sector but also popular social imaginaries and mobility strategies. These recent developments are contextualised more broadly within Andhra’s colonial and postcolonial social history and a specific regional formation of caste, class, and capital.