AICTE allows small campuses for engineering colleges; student facilities compromised

Students prefer being a part of an institution with a huge campus

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has relaxed the norms governing the carpet area requirements of an engineering institution. As per the Approval Process Handbook released by AICTE on February 28, 2016, the minimum land required to open an engineering institute in metro cities and hilly regions has been reduced to 1.5 acres, and in rural areas it has been reduced to 7.5 acres from 10 acres. 

While the move is speculated to be a result of the non-availability and rising costs of land in these areas, it may also lead to a rise in the number of engineering institutes established every year. However, the handbook also states that the land area should accommodate academic, administrative and other essential amenities of the institution. 

Although the move by AICTE has brought the stakeholders in an engineering institute a moment to cherish, it has garnered an equally opposite reaction. With the benchmark of a 1.5-acre campus, AICTE has allowed engineering institutes to do away with the amenities and student facilities offered by a college with a large campus. Prof S K Gupta, the Dean of Student Affairs at IIT Delhi says, “Apart from the academics, it is important for the students to excel in various extra-curricular activities. A student cannot come to the college just to attend the lectures. The campus should be big enough for the students to have healthy discussions and groom themselves by engaging in various other activities.” IIT Delhi campus is spread across an area of 325 acres. 

Dr G. P. Vadodaria, the Prinicipal of LD College of Engineering, Ahmedabad explained, “There are a lot of engineering colleges with vacant seats. The assumption that new colleges would arise due to the relaxed land norms remains debatable.” He further added that the decision should have been taken keeping in mind the number of vacant seats available in the existing engineering institutes.

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