Of the 13 lakh-odd students, who took the Joint Entrance Examination this year, only a few thousands will make it to the premier technical institutes across the country. The remaining students, who are aiming to secure a seat at an engineering college in their respective states, should brace up for a tough fight. It is because the number of engineering seats up for grabs is likely to reduce from 1.8 million to 1.6 million this year. Around 34 technical institutes have already shut shop, and another 227 institutes may face closure after failing to adhere to the guidelines issued by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). 

AICTE is likely to inspect these institutes in the coming months. The closure will widen the gap between the number of engineering aspirants and the number of colleges and seats available to accommodate them. “It is a worrisome trend,” said a student in Maharashtra, who had taken JEE and Maharashtra CET. He could not get through JEE and said that he had pinned his hopes on making the cut to a premier engineering college in Maharashtra, but there are around 1.3 lakh seats for around 2.5 lakh students who have cleared MH-CET this year. The number of seats available for engineering in states such as Andhra Pradesh and Telangana is mostly half the number of candidates.

Are you wondering why these public and private institutes for imparting engineering and technical education face closure? It is because they lack in infrastructure, faculty, and have a poor strength of students. AICTE panel visits such engineering colleges across the country for inspection. If deemed necessary, the panel initiates appropriate actions, which could also mean the closure of these institutes. 

The committee comprises faculty members from the Government colleges/state universities/NITs/IITs, etc. Some well-known faculty from the private colleges are also included in such committees. 

Speaking to PaGaLGuY, Prof Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE, said, “If the panel observes that the institutes are lacking on the specified parameters, they are given an opportunity to appeal before the Standing Appellate Committee headed by retired high court judges or the Vice-Chancellor. And if found wanting, a penalty is imposed that ranges from reduced sanctioned seats, no admission for a year, to the closure.”

And it is mostly the students enrolled in such institutions who are at the receiving end of AICTE’s strict action. AICTE Chairman said, “In the case of latter, students are shifted to other colleges under the same university so that they are not affected.”

But the mid-session transition is not easy for students who have to move to another Institute to save a year. Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official from Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute, Mumbai, said, “We get transfer students from rural parts of the state because of inadequate facilities in their institutes. Students sometimes find it difficult to cope up with the difference in teaching methods, and the amount of work it takes to get an engineering degree.” 

It may be difficult for a student in the short run, but the closure of such institutes bodes well in the long term. An aggrieved engineering student from Mumbai, said, “SAI Institute Engineering and Technology, Aurangabad is a classic example. They have six institutes on one campus but not even a single student or faculty who cares two hoots about what is being taught there. They don’t care about attendance either, one comes- enrols, gives all the exams, and leave with a degree. There are other examples of this kind elsewhere as well.”

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