The Demand-supply ratio for engineering and management institutes in India is not balanced. There are almost 3 lakhs seats remain unfilled in the engineering and management collages in India. AICTE is planning to stop taking application for opening new institutes from 2014.
With supply outstripping demand for engineering and management seats, the country may stop new professional colleges coming up from 2014. This firm stand was taken recently at a meeting of the All-India Council for Technical Education, the country’s inspector which grants permission to new professional technical colleges. The decision follows requests from several states that want the Council to reject fresh proposals for more colleges.
While many states wanted the AICTE to immediately stop accepting applications, the process of setting up a college, like buying land and building the infrastructure, starts two years before a college trust approaches the AICTE for permission. “So, we have decided that two years from now, we will review the situation and may stop accepting proposals for all new technical colleges,” said AICTE chairman S S Mantha.
States such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra told the AICTE to not to clear proposals for new institutes after waking up to the fact that the number of vacant seats in engineering and management colleges has risen dramatically over the last three years. India is now home to 3,393 engineering colleges that have 14.86 lakhs seats; today there are 3,900 management schools with a total student intake of 3.5 lakh. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh have about 70% tech institutes. When admissions closed last year, AICTE estimated that nearly three lakh seats were unfilled.
Despite the AICTE’s decision, many states have decided not to allow colleges to start this year, with the state governments and the council embarking on a collision course.
This year, the AICTE received a total of 204 applications for new engineering institutes and 86 for MBA colleges. “This year, we saw an interest in colleges again wanting to invest in engineering education. However, applications from the southern states, which have witnessed the expansion, are down to a trickle,” added Mantha. Andhra Pradesh, which has the largest number of engineering colleges in India, has dispatched merely eight applications this year and a similar number for starting MBA colleges.
However, over time, with no plan, growth has been skewed, but if AICTE’s optimism is anything to go by, the country will now see professional colleges springing up in areas like the north-east and in central India, which are yet suffering from low enrolment in the professional education sector.
Closer home, edupreneurs (education entrepreneurs) from Maharashtra are bullish on the growth in this sector. Maharashtra has a rich pool of 348 engineering institutes and 408 MBA colleges. And the fact that 34,000 seats did not have any takers last year did not play spoilsport. The AICTE received 30 applications to start engineering colleges and 15 for MBA institutes from Maharashtra this year (see box).
“We have received the highest number of applications from Maharashtra. But, we have an impressive 307 applicants (almost 50% of the entire pool) for starting polytechnics (colleges that offer diploma in engineering) from across India,” added Mantha.
However, overall the slowdown is perceptible: two years ago, the AICTE received 2,176 applications to start new professional degree colleges and this time around, the number stands at a paltry 362. And two years from now, there may be no new colleges that will come up.