With a high number of seats lying vacant at engineering colleges in the state, institutes are seeking permission to shut down courses that have fewer takers.
Close to 40% of engineering seats in the state remained vacant for the academic year 2014-15, and as many as eight courses are awaiting permission from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) to shut shop.
DTE officials said over the past couple of years, most requests for closures have come for the biomedical, petroleum, metallurgy, automation and instrumentation engineering courses.
While chairman of the AICTE SS Mantha said he is unsure of the exact number in Maharashtra, most colleges seeking closure of courses are from Amravati, Nagpur and Pune region.
“Not many students are willing to take up a branch of engineering such as biomedical or paper-pulp technology as there is not much scope for them. In July, some colleges, especially from smaller towns, also requested closure of courses such as mechanical, electrical and electronics engineering and information technology,” an official from the DTE said.
Students said they were reluctant about selecting some courses because of fewer placement offers. “I got admission for instrumentation course at Watumull Institute of Technology last year, but I chose not to take it up. I was unsure about the prospects of the course, so I took a drop instead,” Anshul Jain, a mechanical engineering student from Pune said.
But while shutting down a course may seem logical, no college is granted permission immediately. The management of the college should be prepared to bear the cost of the teachers’ pay and prove that the course has not been profitable for the institute.
“Another crucial criterion for approving closure is only if the course/branch has not managed to fill even 10% of the branches’ intake capacity,”Mantha added.
According to GT Thampi, principal of Thadomal Sahani College of Engineering, Bandra, the lack of investment in certain industries has led to disinterest among students.
Almost 40% seats vacant
For the academic year 2014-15, nearly 40% of engineering seats remained vacant across the state. Even popular city colleges such as VJTI, Sardar Patel College of Engineering and ICT, faced vacancies
Seats in courses such as paper and pulp technology and textile manufacturing also found no takers
Seats for bio-medical engineering courses in colleges such as MGM College of Engineering and DY Patil College of Engineering, among others, were also vacant
Overall, colleges in a number of states sought permission to reduce seats rather than go for a complete shutdown. As many as 13 colleges in the state saw course closures last year.