The rush to start technical institutes in the country is finally waning. The All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) received only 500 applications for new institutes this year compared to 2,176 last year.
While the council has tightened norms to approve new institutes, experts say that availability of seats has exceeded the demand and the era of everyone opening a technical institute has finally ended.
“The saturation is obvious with seats in technical colleges going vacant across the country,” said Dr KG Narayankhedkar, director, VJTI in Matunga. “Educational institutions have realised there is now a disparity in demand and supply unlike five years ago.”
In Maharashtra, last year there were 12,000 management seats and 22,000 engineering seats vacant after the admission process.
The state allowed management institutes to admit graduates who had not even attempted the common entrance test. Andhra Pradesh has the country’s highest number of technical institutes — 1,600, of which about 500 are in a single district Karim Nagar.
The AICTE, too, has made the scrutiny process far more stringent. The council is the apex body for institutes offering management, engineering, pharmacy, architecture, hotel management and fine arts.
“We have put in several scrutiny committees such as a vigilance and ethics committee that comprise academicians, social activists and architects,” said SS Mantha, officiating chairman, AICTE.
“These various committees will conduct surprise checks very often. Also, managements have to put up all documents such as land ownership in the public domain. All documents are available on the council’s website.” The last date for applications for 2011 was February 28, but the council has extended it to March 31. Officials said that the number of applications is unlikely to increase drastically.
“Several non-serious players just apply and then use various pressures to get an approval. Now, with so many committees, it will be not be that easy,” said an AICTE official.