‘AICTE should be revived to help raise technical education to world standards, not just play a watchdog role’ says Prof Chandra

The second part of the interview with Prof Ashoka Chandra, AICTE’s Creator. (For first part read here)

Can AICTE regulate and also grant approval?

If regulatory role means ‘approval’, then MBA degree programmesare outside the direct purview of the AICTE. Norms and Standards can be provided by both AICTE and the UGC but in matters of technical education, which includes management education, AICTE has the responsibility to provide norms and standards for technical education and the UGC can take these recommendations and enforce them on their own institutions.

But co-ordination requires control?

Overall co-ordination of all technical education as defined under 2(g) continues with the AICTE. Co-ordination does not require direct control over all institutions, read 2(h).

Is AICTE passe

No, not in the manner it was envisaged at the time of drafting of the Act and what is provided for in the Preamble. Regulation was a relatively minor aspect – to be taken to the extent it helps to achieve the objective of planned, coordinated development, maintenance of standards, and improvement of quality, etc. Of the 22 subsections under Section 10 only a few were regulatory in character; all others were aimed at better planning etc. Approval was one sub-section, limited to non-university institutions and new ones. The spirit of Consultation with other agencies was reflected in many sub-sections.

What should AICTE do?

AICTE needs to play a more strategic role – – dealing with larger issues of technical education, its place in helping to realise national development goals, on strategic promotion of quality, capability and capacity of technical education system, on building international linkages and securing due recognition of its qualifications and graduated under the GATS, and so on.

The real focus has to be on transformation of the technical education system so that it is counted among the best in the world. So few of our institutions find international ranking at present. What strategies and policies would provide movement in that direction?

AICTE Act references

Preamble: Act to provide for the establishment of an All India Council for Technical Education with a view to the proper planning and coordinated development of the technical education system throughout the country…

Section 2(g): “technical education means programmes of education, research and training in engineering, technology, architecture, town planning, management, pharmacy and applied arts and crafts and such other programme or areas as the Central Government may, in consultation with the Council, by notification in the Official Gazette declare;

Section 2(h): “technical institution” means an institution, not being a University which offers courses or programmes of technical education, and shall include such other institutions as the Central Government may, in consultation with the Council, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare as technical institutions.

Section 10 (b): Coordinate the development of technical education in the country at all levels;

Section 10(k): grant approval for starting new technical institutions and for introduction of new courses or programmes in consultation with the agencies concerned;

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