Chennai: Engineering education in the country seems to have reached saturation point. Around 54% of undergraduate and postgraduate seats in private engineering colleges across the country, or 8.67 lakh seats of 16.07 lakh seats, went vacantin 2016-17, data put out by the Lok Sabha on Monday said.
In the 2017-18 academic year these institutions closed down around 96,000 seats and there are now 83 private colleges fewer, the data shows. All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) chairman D Sahasrabuddhe in April said 275 engineering colleges in the country had applied for closure.
In comparison, only 28% of seats (41,551) in government engineering colleges went vacant in 2016-17. In the current year, 6,151 seats were added in government colleges whose total went up from 411 to 429, the data shows.
The maximum vacancies were in private colleges in Himachal Pradesh (83%), Uttarakhand (74.23%), Haryana (73.32%), Rajasthan (69.68 %) and Uttar Pradesh (67.33%).
In absolute terms, however, Tamil Nadu topped the list with 1.55 lakh seats going empty followed by Andhra Pradesh (99,286), Telangana (87,454) and Maharashtra (78,468). Tamil Nadu has 526 engineering colleges, most in the country, followed by Maharashtra with 380 and Andhra Pradesh with 325.
Former Anna University vice-chancellor M Anandakrishnan, a former chairman of IIT-Kanpur, said many students appeared to have realised that education provided by most private engineering colleges was worthless. And, the number of jobs in the market was far less than the huge number of engineers being churned out every year.
He said 30%-40% of these colleges should be closed down. “Only then will the figures seem reasonable. Alternatively, 50% of the colleges should be converted into vocational training institutes, like China did, to provide skill based learning,” Prof Anandakrishnan said.
A senior TN IAS officer said the Centre was mooting a plan to allow engineering colleges to run other regulatory courses like arts and science but there was no update on that. “Very few private colleges can match or better the standard of government colleges. Most don’t have proper teaching staff and are unable to attract placement or research funding,” he said.
Source: Times Of India