WITH thousands of engineering seats remaining vacant this year, the ministry of human resource development (HRD) has finally taken a step to check this worrisome scenario.
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has been asked by the ministry to seek the opinion of state governments on whether the Council should temporarily stop extending approval to new engineering institutes.
The number of vacant seats at engineering institutions across the country this year has made headlines and was also raised in the Parliament during the last session.
“The directive (to AICTE) to seek the opinion of state government was given about two weeks ago. The letter hasn’t been sent to the state governments as yet. It will be done within the next few days,” said a ministry official, who did not wish to be identified.
“The letter will go to the states where more than 10 per cent of the total seats have found no takers. Tamil Nadu and Madhya-Pradesh figure on that list.
“The idea is to ask them if they want the AICTE to stop extending approval to new engineering institutes for the time being,” said another ministry official.
The AICTE is the only authority empowered to grant recognition to technical courses run by different universities and institutes in the country. The number of engineering institutions which got the Council’s nod has been steadily increasing over the last three years.
The Council approved 2,388 engineering colleges in 2008, 2,942 in 2009 and 3,241 colleges in 2010. In 2010-11 AICTE recognised the highest number of engineering institutes in Karnataka (159) followed by Uttar-Pradesh (105).
So much so, that there is now a popular perception that a few states have more colleges than required. Though the Council does not maintain a count of vacant seats, reports of the growing problem have been trickling through media reports and also from the state governments themselves.
For instance, there are about 30,000 seats vacant in engineering colleges across Maharashtra.
In August, Tamil Nadu had reported that over 45,000 engineering seats had no takers. Similarly, AICTE Chairman S. S. Mantha had earlier denied any plan to put the approval process on hold for some states saying that the Council does not have the right to deny someone the right to set up an educational institution in case all requirements and norms are met.
But this move, which was announced at a meeting of the Consultative Committee of Parliament for the HRD ministry attended by members of the Lok-Sabha and Rajya-Sabha on Wednesday evening, changes a lot and is good news for states that have sought the Centre's intervention to contain the problem of vacant seats.
Article Source: Mail Today