Left with a large number of vacant seats, engineering colleges have approached the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to reduce intake by almost 1.3 lakh B.Tech and M.Tech seats from the new academic year starting July.
According to the AICTE’s provisional data, 83 engineering institutes that collectively offer 24,000 seats have applied for closure. Another 494 colleges have sought permission to discontinue some undergraduate and postgraduate engineering programmes, which would reduce the national intake by another 42,000 seats. That apart, 639 institutes have requested the regulator to reduce their intake by 62,000 seats collectively.
These applications represent a proposed cut of almost 1.3 lakh B.E/B.Tech and M.E/M.Tech seats. The AICTE hasn’t taken a final decision yet but sources told The Indian Express that it is likely to accept all requests for winding up of colleges. It had decided last year to facilitate closure of technical institutions even if applicants are not able to procure No Objection Certificates from the state governments.
The AICTE is also expected to approve about 80 per cent of requests for partial or complete closure of selected engineering programmes. The final figures will be available in the first week of May.
In addition to the above, the technical education regulator is also expected to impose penalty on colleges with poor admissions over the last five years.
Technical courses, including engineering, where student admission has been less than 30 per cent in the last five years consistently will have their seats reduced by half from the new academic year. Programmes where admissions have been zero during this period will be closed immediately, the AICTE had announced in its approval handbook late last year.
Engineering makes up 70 per cent of the technical education seats in India. Management (MBA), pharmacy, computer applications (MCA), architecture, town planning, hotel management and ‘applied arts and crafts’ form the rest.
Last December, The Indian Express had published the findings of its three-month-long investigation, which found there were no takers for 51 per cent of 15.5 lakh BE/BTech seats in 3,291 engineering colleges in 2016-17. The investigation found glaring gaps in regulation, including alleged corruption; a vicious circle of poor infrastructure, labs and faculty; non-existent linkages with industry; and the absence of a technical ecosystem to nurture the classroom. All this, it found, accounted for low employability of graduates.
The AICTE’s decision to reduce the intake in courses with poor admissions by half from the new academic year is aimed at addressing the above mismatch.
According to sources, the final figures for the reduction in engineering seats (M.Tech and B.Tech) will be offset by applications for setting up of new colleges and capacity expansion of existing institutes.
This year, AICTE has received 64 applications for establishment of new institutes — a proposed addition of 15,000 seats — and 247 existing colleges have applied for expansion, which would add up to 25,000 seats approximately.