For technical institutes in India, The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is the most feared thing in the world once a year – during the annual inspection when its inspectors make trips to institutes to certify them with a pass or fail grade. They work like secret-service officers and have little to do with AICTE’s daily functioning. Not many in their immediate environment even know about their AICTE link. PaGaLGuY however managed to meet one who disclosed a bit about his hush-hush job.
There are, at any given time, some 40-50 inspectors with AICTE and a couple travel for a single inspection. An architect is also thrown in to check for infrastructure. “There is no advance intimidation about our travel. A day before, we are called or emailed. The travel agent is notified that day itself,” the inspector informed. All inspectors are either professors or hold a senior job in some institute.
AICTE’s inspectors are spread across India and cannot choose the institutes that have to examine. The issues and complaints regarding the institute is also communicated to the inspectors just before the trip so that there is no scope for ‘internal discussion.’ Once on the site, the team checks for various parameters such as infrastructure, classrooms, seats, student-faculty ratio etc. “Faculty and infrastructure is always an issue with MBA institutes,” said the inspector. “People set up institutes everywhere without bothering about amenities. It is all about making money,” the inspector added.
The team has to send a feedback to AICTE on the day of inspection itself so that there are no second thoughts. This is done via a written mail on the state of affairs and photos. Videos are also captured and sent to AICTE headquarters.
When asked whether institutes go out of their way to please the inspectors to win favour, the inspector admitted they do sometimes. And do inspectors ask for favours in return for a ‘yes’ label, the AICTE person replied “obviously not.” But he did admit that “kabhie kabhie institutes do extend their hospitality and we accept.” Citing an example, he said that once he had visited an institute which was located a couple of hours away from a famous temple. “The institute offered us its vehicle and we accepted since they knew the route best.”
The inspector admitted that some of AICTE’s rule are outmoded and need to change with time. For instance, laptop is a foreign word for AICTE’s rules, computers is more familiar. Here is an article to demonstrate this fallacy. AICTE’s inspecting methods are also quite time-worn – imagine going around an institute with a video camera and expecting to shoot the truth.AICTE inspectors love their job because it involves travelling and meeting new people. They all have permanent jobs elsewhere and do this for “the love of doing a good job for the country,” as this inspector put it.