The Gujarat education department has cut down nearly 10,000 diploma and degree engineering seats in government and grant-in-aid polytechnic and engineering colleges across the state for the 2020-21 academic session.
In a Government Resolution (GR) issued on February 7, the state government announced the decision of “revised intake” by reducing and closing down nearly 7,400 seats in 69 branches in 23 government polytechnic colleges, and over 2,500 seats of 29 branches in 11 engineering colleges “for effective administration” of these technical institutes.
The decision is also attributed to an increase in vacant seats in 2019 due to the addition of seats due to the implementation of reservation of 25 per cent seats for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS). Within a year, the education department has reduced EWS seats in many cases to half.
“The department conducted an analysis of seats that went vacant in engineering colleges and polytechnic over the past three-four years. In 2019-20, there was a huge number of vacant seats in engineering colleges and polytechnic institutes, as a result of which the enrolment in several government colleges declined drastically,” the GR stated.
Citing the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) guidelines, the GR stated, “According to AICTE, it is mandatory for every institute to have NBA (National Board of Accreditation) accreditation for 50 per cent of its courses before the 2022-23 academic session, on the basis of which sanctioned student-faculty ratio (SFR) is calculated. So it was neccessary to reduce the current intake and take a decision on the revised intake.”
The department is also attributing the cutting down of seats to the “huge” vacancy after 25 per cent seats for EWS were added in 2019-20. “Due to the increase in EWS seats in 2019, nearly 3,000 seats were vacant in government and grant-in-aid engineering colleges. There were certain branches in colleges running in two shifts where only one, five or not a single student was reported in the past three years,” said Anju Sharma, Principal Secretary. “If there is demand, these seats would be open for admission,” she added.
It is estimated that in 2019-20, nearly 10-15 per cent seats in government and government-funded engineering colleges remained vacant, while the percentage doubled for EWS seats.
Data maintained by Admission Committee for Professional Courses (ACPC), says that of nearly 13,500 seats in government and grant-in-aid engineering colleges, nearly 2,200 remained vacant, while among 6,150 EWS seats, nearly 1,900 seats were alotted to students, while the remaining were vacant.
In government engineering colleges with total 8,970 seats, the number of vacancies rose from 107 in 2015-16 to 455 in 2016-17 to 652 in 2017-18, rising from 1.19 to 7.27 per cent, not substantial when compared to the vacancies in private institutes.
Meanwhile, the Congress accused the state government of cutting down seats in government and grant-in-aid colleges to promote private institutes. “This is another attempt in the education sector to promote self-financed institutes that charge exorbitant fee from students. When 55-65 per cent seats in self-financed colleges remain vacant every year compared to 10-15 per cent in government and government-funded colleges, the decision to cut down its own seats by the government is certainly questionable,” said Manish Doshi, Congress spokesperson.
Among branches worst affected by this decision are electronics and communication (EC) engineering and electrical engineering degree and diploma courses.
“The case of electronics and communication engineering is different in Gujarat, while at the national level, EC is second to computer engineering. In the past three years, EC has less takers among meritorious students while a few years ago, it was in high demand. One of the possible reasons is parental pressure to opt for computer as it is a branch that pays better compared to EC,” said a faculty at LD Engineering College in Ahmedabad.
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