Putting an official figure to the failure of technical colleges in Punjab, the state government on Thursday acknowledged that 64% seats are vacant in various courses in these colleges. While Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree saw many streams going blank, entire batches of Master of Computer Application (MCA), and Master of Business Administration (M BA) also saw zero takers in the academic year 2015-16.
While 75% seats lie vacant in the 66 colleges affiliated to Maharaja Ranjit Singh State Technical University, Bathinda, as many as 56% seats are vacant across the 115 colleges affiliated with Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar.
State technical education minister Madan Mohan Mittal stated this in a written reply during question hour in the Vidhan Sabha, and it led to an uproar in the House with MLAs cutting across party lines demanded regulation of the state’s technical education system.
Many of the colleges that fared worst in admissions are in the vicinity of Chandigarh in SAS Nagar district. Some drew a blank in all streams of engineering; while mechanical and computer sciences remained near the bottom. Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Ferozepur, Bathinda, Patiala and Mansa districts also have many such colleges.
Surya World Technical Campus in Rajpura, for instance, has only two students of electrical engineering against 60 seats, with its five other courses going without any admission in 2015-16.
There are many other such private institutions with single-digit strength, with the once-prestigious Institute of Engineering and Technology at Bhaddal being no exception.
Government-aided Beant College of Engineering and Technology at Gurdaspur also has only three students in its BTech (information technology) and eight in B Tech (mechanical engineering) against 63 seats each in these courses.
Another prestigious government-aided institute, Guru Nanak Engineering College, Ludhiana, faces shortfall mainly in part-time and evening courses.
Mittal was cornered by MLA Manoranjan Kalia of his own party BJP as the latter wanted to know the reason for such a situation and sought the minister’s explanation.
Mittal replied, “The seats are now empty on such a large scale as students who were coming from other states now find institutions coming up in their own regions”.
The minister also passed the buck to the Centre on regulating of private technical colleges.