Over half of engineering seats lie vacant: AICTE data
Nagaland’s lone approved engineering institute doesn’t have a single student, latest data shared by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) show, as tech colleges in several states struggled with more than 50% seat vacancies in 2016-17.
Besides Nagaland’s 100% vacancy for its 240 seats, the other states with a low-enrolment record are Himachal Pradesh at 75%, Haryana 72% and Uttar Pradesh 64%.
The poor admission rate has prompted several states to ask the AICTE, the country’s technical education regulator, to ban all moves to create more seats in engineering colleges.
This comes at a time states such as Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Rajasthan submitted plans to the AICTE, which reports to the Union human resource development ministry, not to set up new technical institutions.
“Many new engineering colleges are coming up every year. The AICTE grants them approval if the infrastructure and faculty requirements are in place. But one needs to examine the demand and supply,” said a ministry official, requesting anonymity.
According to experts, the poor enrolment could be attributed to a near-stagnated job market for engineers or availability of a glut of career options for students from non-engineering fields.
“While the industry is moving towards automation, our institutes are still following obsolete syllabus. Our institutes need to do some soul-searching and align their teaching and curriculum with the requirement of the industry. Naturally, students will stop taking up certain courses if they are unable to find jobs,” former AICTE chairman SS Mantha said on Thursday.
All these factors, including an adverse job market, have contributed to low campus placements and an eventual decline in students willing to study engineering.
The regulator is said to be taking a clutch of measures to ensure more seats are filled so that institutes do not have to apply for closure. Scholarship schemes, named Pragati and Saksham, are being floated to motivate and assist girls and differently-abled students.
The AICTE is providing 10 supernumerary seats under the Jammu and Kashmir special scholarship programme. “Technical institutes have been granted permission to run vocational courses on their campuses,” said another official, who doesn’t wish to be named.
The regulator’s data reveal that Manipur is a rare case as it has no vacancies at all. After Nagaland, Meghalaya has the biggest number of vacancies at 47% in the northeastern region, followed by Sikkim and Tripura with less than 40%. With 18 colleges, Assam’s vacancy record stands at 34%.