With almost half the seats in technical education falling vacant for the last few years, the Union government has tasked the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Delhi to prepare a national perspective plan to project the requirement for education programmes in engineering, management and architecture, among others, over the next 10 to 15 years.
A perspective plan maps the current situation of the industry and jobs and uses that to predict the demand for technical courses in future. The plan will help the All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in deciding how many new institutes to approve and how many new seats to add in a year.
Last year, AICTE had set up a committee under the chairmanship of Professor H P Khincha, former vice-chancellor of Vishveswarya Technological University, Belgaum, to draft a national perspective plan. Since this required data collection on a large scale, the committee suggested that AICTE take out a tender seeking the private sector’s help in collating data.
The government, however, has now stepped in and given the task to IIT-Delhi. According to the order issued on May 28, the institute will coordinate with an IIT/ IIM/ NIT in each state to prepare a state perspective plan and then, based on the state plans, draft a national perspective plan. IIT-Delhi has four months to finish this.
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In India, the largest chunk of technical education seats (70 per cent) are in the engineering discipline. Management (MBA), pharmacy, computer applications (MCA), architecture, town planning, hotel management and ‘applied arts and crafts’ form the rest. Of the 15.5 lakh BE/ BTech seats in 3,291 engineering colleges across the country, over half (51 per cent) were vacant in 2016-17, according to AICTE data. Last year, again, half of the 14.76 lakh engineering seats had no takers.
An investigation by The Indian Express last year, to find out why engineering seats were going unfilled, had 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 that can nurture the classroom. All this accounted for low employability of graduates and, therefore, an abysmal record of job placement. In short, a steady devaluation of Brand BE/ BTech.
Last year, AICTE announced that technical courses where student admission has been consistently less than 30 per cent in the last five years will have their intake reduced by half from the academic year starting July 2018. This move, along with the efforts to come up with a national perspective plan, are aimed at addressing the above mismatch.
The Council also announced that henceforth, it will not permit establishment of a new college if the state government has refused an NOC (No Objection Certificate) to the applicant, based on a perspective plan.
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