AICTE allows industrial companies to create engineering schools arouses mixed reactions

AICTE extended the ban on new engineering schools for two years due to declining BTech enrollment, but proposed four exceptions.

The total number of approved admissions to AICTE accredited engineering institutions increased from 26.95 lakh seats in 2012-13 to 23.66 lakh seats in 2021-22. (Representative image)

April 20, 2022 – 10:48 am IST

NEW DELHI: The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has allowed industrial houses with an annual turnover of Rs 5,000 crore to establish engineering colleges while extending the moratorium on new colleges for another two academic years, 2022 -24.

This decision is one of four exceptions to the moratorium listed in AICTE’s recently released approval manual.

Opinions are divided on this. While one section says this will bridge the gap between academia and industry, other sections believe it will lead to more privatization of engineering education in the country instead of improving quality.

‘Quality Education’

“A good, high-quality industry with a high turnover of Rs 5,000 crore per year for the past three years is naturally a profit-making business. Therefore, they will not be interested in making money from educational institutions, but in contributing to the cause of society by providing high quality education. Institutions that may not be running engineering schools but have been running many educational institutions (in science, medicine, law and architecture, etc.) for a long time have naturally proven themselves in teaching engineering. high quality. If such institutions, trusts, corporations come forward to provide engineering education, it is naturally assumed that they are well ranked in the fields in which they provide education. And they will do the same in the field of engineering,” said AICTE President Anil Sahasrabudhe, explaining the decision to allow more private colleges.

Anil Sahasrabudhe, President of AICTE, New Engineering Colleges, Industrialists, Academics, Engineering Courses, Privatization in engineeringAnil Sahasrabudhe, president of AICTE (file photo)

“Since the 1980s, there has already been privatization (in the training of engineers). More than 70% of engineering schools are private. Hundreds of poor quality colleges close every year. With the new guidelines, private actors will compete to provide good quality education and these people will not do it for the money. There will be no marketing. Their pockets are already full because they have earned money from the industry. If they are setting up a college, they are not doing it for profit, they want to have good quality employees for their organizations. We enable proven organizations to open new colleges,” he added.

Read also| ‘Where in the world can you see such a course?’: IIT Madras director on MTech degrees, new courses

AICTE Committee, BVR Mohan Reddy

In 2018, AICTE formed a committee under the chairmanship of BVR Mohan Reddy, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad to work on a “short to medium term perspective plan for training in engineering”.

In 2019, the panel advised the technical education regulator to stop approving new engineering schools and add more seats from the 2020-2021 academic year with some exceptions. The panel said the decision can be reviewed every two years thereafter.

In October 2021, a second committee formed to review the moratorium recommended extending it for another two years, from 2020 to 23, with some exceptions. This committee was also led by Reddy. The total number of approved admissions to AICTE accredited engineering institutions increased from 26.95 lakh seats in 2012-13 to 23.66 lakh seats in 2021-22.

In its latest approval manual, AICTE allowed four exceptions to the moratorium: state governments are allowed to establish government or aided engineering schools in districts that do not have them; they can also open polytechnic schools; charities with more than 25 years of experience running educational institutions and with a minimum enrollment of 10,000 students and ranked in the top 100 of the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) were permitted; finally, any industry with a minimum annual turnover of Rs 5,000 crore was permitted.

Rajesh Rohilla, Head of Training and Placement at Delhi Technological University (DTU), said new colleges to be opened by big businessmen will have better infrastructure, better funds and pay better salaries to teachers compared to colleges run by small businessmen. .

“Big companies won’t go after the money because they already have a huge amount of money. Now they have the opportunity to serve society. In terms of facilities, government colleges have few constraints when it comes to funding and other decisions. New private colleges won’t have to depend on others for funding and they can bring innovative and impactful technologies. It is certainly a good decision by AICTE and it will have a positive impact,” he said.

MSB Sudheer Babu, Director of Employability Program at Tech Mahindra Foundation, said higher education in India faces the major challenge of connecting universities to industries. Calling it a “good move” on the part of the government, he said: “It will help connect student and industry requirements. The reputation of big business will be at stake and they will work to improve education. AICTE should also give some flexibility to industries to decide on their curriculum and other aspects.

University and industry, Engineering training, Privatization, AICTE new engineering schools, BVR Committee According to experts, the decision to allow large industrialists to open new engineering schools will bridge the gap between academia and industry. (Representative image)

Education Marketing

Other scholars aren’t so sure.

“If these business houses use the university as another source of money, then the goal of education will be defeated. It depends on the mindset and policies of industrial companies,” said Saikat Mitra, Vice Chancellor of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology (MAKAUT), West Bengal. “On the one hand, there are many private actors who set up a university just to make profit and on the other hand, there are many private actors like Tata and Birla who provide quality and affordable education. Industrial houses should have a policy of service to compatriots, this will help to elevate technical education and develop manpower.

Chennai-based education campaigner Prince Gajendra Babu is more adamantly opposed. “The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is oriented towards market needs and does not consider education as a vector of socio-economic development but as a means of employability. It is very wrong to link employability to obtaining a degree, because it kills the spirit of education. Allowing private companies to open colleges only serves to commercialize education. No matter how much money they invest, they will try to get that money back,” he said.

Read also| AICTE lets Architecture Council set BArch admission standards

Education as an industry

A professor at a college of assisted engineering in central Mumbai affiliated with the University of Mumbai said AICTE’s decision was “absolutely unwelcome, illogical and irrational”.

“Concrete steps must be taken by AICTE to strengthen engineering education, not just close and open colleges. I have an engineering background and I don’t think this decision will ever encourage any measure of quality improvement. This decision will allow large private players to enter engineering education and they will only be interested in profits instead of instilling good skills in students. Most industrial houses now see education as an industry and AICTE’s decision is simply to encourage that,” they said on condition of anonymity.

“Emphasis must be placed on teacher training”

Nandini Mukhopadhyay of Jadavpur University, Kolkata said the change would do nothing to improve the quality of engineering education.

“It will lead to more privatization. The salary of teachers in private colleges is not regulated and it is very low compared to that of teachers in public colleges. Thus, teachers who do not have a secure and well-paid job will not be able to provide quality learning to students. Emphasis should be placed on teacher training to improve the quality of education in private colleges,” she said.

Meanwhile, AICTE has released the revised academic calendar 2022-23 according to which classes for first-year students of technical courses will start from August 1, 2022.

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