More than half of the undergraduate engineering seats in Maharashtra could stay vacant this year, said officials of the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE). “Though admissions are still underway and final figures are yet to emerge, the overall trend suggests that admissions will not cross 60,000 seats,” said Chandrakant Kunjir, joint director, DTE (Pune region) during a press conference in the city on Friday. There are a total of 1.5 lakh engineering seats available in the state.
According to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the demand for engineering has come down drastically in recent years. In the past two years, the AICTE has not given sanction for opening new engineering colleges in Maharashtra. This year, due to poor student turnout, at least 27 polytechnic institutes in the state have shut down and three engineering colleges have been ordered to close, DTE officials said.
“It is very clear that managements of engineering colleges will have to partner with industries and adopt self-financing models in the future Closing down colleges will not be a solution. We are working on how to help colleges with poor admission rate. One way is to link such colleges with industries. The laboratories in colleges will now need to transform into manufacturing units and develop products, which they can tie up or sell to industries, and build a self-sustaining model,” said Kunjir.
He said the performance of colleges will be reviewed every three months with respect to the awarded industry partnerships. He said, “A review will focus on the abilities of the college and its initiatives to address industry problems.”
Engineers without skills required for the industry are also not getting good jobs, said organisers of the press conference, including DTE officials and college representatives.
The DTE believes that the only way to tackle the shortage of skilled manpower is by facilitating more mutual interactions between industry and academia, which have been limited in the past.
One of the DTE’s immediate plans is to play the role of mediator between the two and form a common platform for regular interaction.
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