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The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the regulatory body for technical education intuitions in India, said that it will soon be closing down engineering colleges that have failed to fill in over 30 percent of their capacity for the past 5 years. The announcement was made by AICTE Chairman Anil Sahasrabuddhe of Friday, 11 August, 2017. “In the past few years, the ACRE has been actively working on reducing the quantity of engineering institutions across the country due to poor demand and falling quality of education”, he said at a summit.

Dwindling Demand For Engineering Courses

According to data collected by the ACTED (Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development) there are some 10,063 educational institutions approved by the AICTE in the country and these have an intake capacity of about 37 lakh students each year. These are not all engineering colleges, though. This means that about 37 lakh seats are available each year for students willing to pursue technical education including engineering courses, management studies, hospitality management, architecture, pharmacology, and other allied disciplines. Last year these AICTE approved institutions were together able to enroll a total of 19 lakh students, leaving some 48 percent seats vacant. Engineering collages have fared worse than others in this respect. Of the 29 lakh seats available only 15 lakh were filled. This year enrollments in engineering courses have fallen further.

Cleaning Up Technical Education

The AICTE seems to have embarked on a very focused mission to improve the quality of technical education for students starting March this year. In March and June, the AICTE along with the University Grants Commission released lists of fake engineering colleges – colleges that solicited enrollments from students and charged them the regular fees but were not recognized by the UGC. Apart from these, a list of fake universities was also released.

Apart from this, the AICTE has also recently decided to offer long modules on life skills for students enrolling in engineering and technical education courses. All the 10,063 colleges and educational institutions affiliated with the council will soon be offering these; some of the colleges have already started this year. This module will help the students enhance their communication skills and help them practical decision making, negotiating different situations and handling failure. Ethical and moral education will also be part of the module on offer to student, the blueprints of which have already been implemented in some of the IITs.

Closing down colleges that promise engineering education but are unable to fill even 30 percent of their capacity is another step towards cleaning up the environment. This is another attempt to cut down on quantity and focus on the quality of education available in the country. The AICTE Chairman Anil Sahasrabuddhe also said that the fee that is currently charged by the council for colleges that wish to shut down will be lowered. The students in the colleges that will be shut down will be accommodated in nearby engineering colleges and the continuity of their education will not be affected.