As a result of “faulty” admission policy of the Himachal Pradesh government, there is a shortage of students in almost all technical institutes - both government and private.
General secretary of the Himachal Pradesh Private Technical Institution Association (HPPTIA) NR Chaudhary said: “There are five government and 21 private polytechnic institutes; two government and 15 private engineering colleges; and as many as 11 private universities for technical education in the state, but due to faulty admission policy of the government almost all the institutes are facing shortage of students.”
While speaking to Hindustan Times, Chaudhary also lashed out at the fixed attitude of the technical education board officials and the bureaucracy. “Thousands of Himachali students are seeking admission in neighbouring states, while the engineering institutes here are facing a hard time owing to non-availability of students, who are a major source of finance required to maintain and run the institutes,” said Chaudhary.
“Notwithstanding the lengthy admission process and unrealistic conditions for appearing in the Polytechnic Admission Test (PAT) and the Joint Entrance Examination (main) for admission in a technical institute in the state, most of the students of the state prefer joining engineering institutes in neighbouring states, where there are no such hassles,” he added.
“The technical board and universities are charging heavily for prospectus, sometime Rs 650, while the cost of printing of the prospectus is not more than Rs 20. The technical board and universities are earning crores by selling prospectus every year,” claimed Chaudhary.
“On the basis of percentage of marks obtained in the entrance examination, students are called to attend councelling. The whole process requires a lot of time and money,” he said.
“At first the board and the universities fix qualifying percentage, but relax the criterion when they fail to find eligible candidates to fill the seats. However, the decision to relax the percentage criterion happens so late, by the time students take admission outside the state. They can't risk their career after all,” Chaudhary claimed.
He alleged that the government and the technical board and the bureaucracy knew it all, but turn a blind eye to the issue every year.
“The government must realise that the people with low income can afford technical education of their children only when it's available in their native place, otherwise the students will be deprived of the technical education,” he said.
“Relaxing the entrance test criteria will be in great interest of the students seeking technical education. If it does not happen, the private technical institute owners will move the court,” he warned.
However, rejecting Chaudhary's claims outright, director of technical education Rajeshwar Goel said: “Only 5% seats are vacant in government technical institutes, as some students who got admission in polytechnics also qualified in degree courses and shifted to engineering colleges. Also, in some cases, some students change their course stream.
He further said the state was following norms set by various regularity authorities for admission, including the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the apex court's guidelines, to maintain the quality of technical education.
Chaudhary contend: “In diploma courses there are 10,700 seats, including private and government institutes; but, only 4,038 seats could be filled. “There are 7,980 seats in degree courses; while seats in the government colleges are filled, only 2,629 students could be admitted in the private colleges,” he added.
Chaudhary said due to faulty admission process nearly 12,000 students in academic session 2013-14, both diploma and degree courses, sought admission in neighbouring states, which were also following the AICTE norms.