The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has done it again. A fresh salvo by the government body banning all part-time MBA courses has got concerned MBA colleges in ruffles. The ban which comes into effect from the next academic year has put a second spoke in admission to MBA courses this year. (The first being the AICTE circular dated December 28, 2010 which pressed for various radical changes like a state machinery to carry out GDPIs and a cap on college fees.)
As of now, admissions to many part-time MBA programmes are on hold.
According to AICTE’s Joint Director, Regional Office (Western), Dr Dayanand Meshram, the ban on part-time MBAs has come about because it has been seen that MBA institutes, in the garb of providing part-time MBA education are running other programmes and that too are of sub-standard quality. They are not following the norms which were made clear when permissions were granted to conduct this course. Quality has been taking a back seat in many of these part-time programmes, said Dr Meshram.
The notification however does not talk about an outright ban but urges colleges conducting part-time courses to renew permissions for the same every year. In this way, AICTE can also make sure that the standards of education are maintained, explained Dr Meshram.
Ironically, while this notification was also issued in December 2010, it did not make news till a few days ago. Some directors of b-schools, which Pagalguy spoke to also did not know of the notification. AICTE website states that colleges have till March 31 to renew permission for their part-time MBA programmes.
This move is expected to hurt about 400 colleges all over and roughly 15-20,000 students who opt for this programme. More than anything, it will affect working students who opt for a part-time MBA for better future prospects. One student who had decided to enrol in a three-year weekend MBA course in Mumbai this year is clueless on what his next step should be. I have a job right now but it’s nothing great. Since I cannot remain without a job and don’t have the money to go for a full-time MBA, a part-time course suits me best. After three years of MBA and my work experience, I was sure I would get a better job but now it seems my MBA may never happen, he said.
Part-time MBA programmes are also within the reach of students from the middle-strata of society. B-Schools in Mumbai approximately charge Rs 30,000- 50,000 as fees annually for a part-time course. Hence a three-year part-time would totally cost the student Rs 1-1.50 lakhs. While a full-time two year MBA course will make the student poorer by Rs 3-15 lakhs.
B-schools are as perturbed
Prof Dr Uday Salunkhe, Director, Welingkar Institute of Management said that his college had already advertised for the program in October 2010 and conducted the process in December 2010. However, we have put things on hold in view of this latest announcement by the AICTE. We have already written to the AICTE offices iterating the facts and have asked them to review their decision. Especially as the programme we are referring to in this case is the three-year Part-Time Masters Programme affiliated to the University of Mumbai and has been in place since 1988 at Welingkar.
Dr Salunkhe added that he had also shared with AICTE that the fees for these programs are regulated by the State and basic eligibility requires 2 years of Executive level work experience after graduation, making the program a “value for money” proposition for working executives seeking to progress in their career.
Prof Prabir Pal, President of the Association of Indian Management Schools (AIMS) told Pagalguy that he had just heard of this fresh notification and was planning to take action. I don’t know why the AICTE is coming out with such notifications which are detrimental not only to the colleges but also to the students. I will discuss this part-time MBA issue with other members of my association and plan a course of action, Prof Pal said.
AIMS has been in the forefront fighting AICTE out in the court rooms across the country. In fact, only yesterday, the Supreme Court granted a stay to the earlier AICTE circular (dated December 2 which had banned all the entrance tests except for CAT and MAT and put a cap on fees. This notification had also made it mandatory for all admission processes to be conducted by a state-machinery and not by the individual colleges, as was the case earlier. The stay has been granted till March 22. Last month, the Bombay High Court offered an interim relief to a group of 52 B-schools and allowed them to go ahead with admissions. Even Orissa High Court had granted a stay on the same circular.
Krishna Sheshadri adds
While speaking on the ban on part-time MBA courses, Suresh Ghai, Director, K J Somaiya Institute of Management and Research said that the course has participants from the railways to the armed forces. This course imparts important skills and Mumbai institutes are in the best position to offer these skill enhancements in the form of a degree. The degrees offered are all Mumbai University degrees and are regulated by them. All classes are monitored by the university. We have spoken to the vice-chancellor of Mumbai University and requested him to speak to the AICTE accordingly. Also the move is unfair to the students.