AICTE plans to allot unique Enrollment numbers to every Post Graduate Diploma in Management (PGDM/PGPM/PGDBM, etc) student in every approved Indian business school and put them on its website in a bid to streamline MBA admissions. Think of it as a Unique Identification Number project for all MBA students in AICTE-approved b-schools of India. The move would end up curtailing a common type of admissions-related fraud rampant in Indian b-schools, until of course, new loopholes are uncovered.

As a way of regulating quality of education, the All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE) controls the number of approved PGDM seats in every complying b-school. But in the vast landscape of privately-controlled management institutions in India, it is a rampant practice to admit more students than the approved limit, thus fooling students into sub-standard educational institutions.

This is how the racket operates. Let’s say, a b-school has 60 seats approved by AICTE. Using that as a marketing-pitch, the b-school will admit many more than 60 students and accommodate them in batches that are named PGDM, but are affiliated to local universities or distance-education universities such as Sikkim Manipal University, Madurai Kamraj University, Yashvantrao Chavan University and so on. Often, the students in these batches will not come to know that they are not in the AICTE-approved batch until they receive their degree at the end of two years. Observe a few private b-schools in your city, and you’ll be shocked with how common this malpractice is.

How would AICTE’s enrollment numbers help? If you are a PGDM student and your name does not feature on the AICTE website under your b-school’s enrollment numbers, then you have clearly been fooled by your b-school. AICTE on its part will smell a rat whenever a b-school submits a list of students more than its approved limit. No b-school will of course, send such a list. But this move will put pressure on private b-schools to get their act together.

Observe the AICTE notification below, especially the grey box at the bottom. While the idea is a smart one, it relies completely on the student’s initiative to verify the existence of his enrollment number in order to be an effective system. So if enough PGDM students across the thousands of AICTE approved b-schools in small towns and cities do not know about this initiative, they will never check for their name on the AICTE website and that will allow b-schools to continue their racket scot-free. I am hoping that very soon, AICTE will run large eye-catching advertisements in newspapers to inform PGDM students of their role in this initiative.


Added Later: The Director of a Private Business Institute in Bangalore, who does not wish to be named told us that this initiative was taken by AICTE last year too, however, in practice very few institutes sent the names of the students of their PGDM program to AICTE. After July’s cleanup of the corrupt AICTE top-brass and a more promising Human Resource Development Minister (Kapil Sibal) at the helm, we expect better results.

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