Keeping in view the need to standardise hotel management education offered by private institutes that have mushroomed all over the country, a decision has been taken to grant them affiliation under the National Council of Hotel Management and Catering Technology (NCHMCT) that regulates the 24 government-run premier Institutes of Hotel Management (IHMs).
The government also proposes to grant a deemed university status to the NCHMCT which currrently functions as a regulatory body that draws up the course curriculum for the IHMs and seven food craft institutes besides conducting joint entrance tests and annual examinations for them.
With the country's tourism and hospitality sector witnessing a boom that is expected to continue till the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, the Union Tourism Ministry has initiated this move in anticipation of a stepped up demand for well-trained and skilled professionals in the hotel industry.
Since the NCHMCT, which functions under the Tourism Ministry, does not have the status of a university, the IHMs are currently affiliated to the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) which grants their students the graduate-level degree in hotel management.
While many private institutions that offer degree courses in the subject are affiliated to different universities, there are others that neither have a tie-up with any university nor the approval of any statutory educational body. All of them have varying standards of education and are often found lacking in training and infrastructural facilities. Hence, the need for better regulation and monitoring by a professional body.
Some of the five-star hotel groups, like the Taj Hotels and Radisson, have set up their own management institutes that offer degree courses in affiliation with prominent universities. But a large percentage of the senior professional staff for the hotel industry is picked up from the IHMs. Since the demand for seats in them far exceeds the supply, private hotel management institutes have proliferated in many states.
According to AK Misra, Secretary in the Tourism Ministry, the Governing Board of the NCHMCT has recently approved the scheme and guidelines for affiliation of private institutes. But it is not binding upon them to seek affiliation with the body. Those institutes which seek government recognition and parity with the prestigious IHMs can apply for it, he pointed out.
"Such institutions will have to undergo inspection by the NCHMCT to ascertain whether they have the required infrastructure, training facilities and qualified faculty to run a professional course of study. Besides, they will have to admit students through the common entrance test for the IHMs and follow the same curriculum as well as examinations," he said.
Meanwhile, talks are on with the University Grants Commission (UGC) to get the deemed university status for the NCHMCT which will have its own campus in Greater Noida adjoining Delhi within this year, Misra added.
The Secretary General of the Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India, Kamal Sharma, welcomed the development saying that there was a "very urgent demand" for skilled manpower in the hotel industry. The current accommodation capacity of the industry was slightly over one lakh rooms, with a shortage of about 65,000 rooms.
"By a thumb rule, about 1,600 staffers are required for every thousand hotel rooms. With many more rooms to be added to the existing capacity by the time the Commonwealth Games are held in Delhi, one can imagine the kind of manpower requirement the hotel industry will have in the coming few years," Sharma stated.
Email Hemendra Singh Bartwal: hsbartwal @hindustantimes.com