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1.78 lakh Teachers in Professional Colleges to Lose Jobs

News Click | Tarique Anwar | 03 Mar 2018 |

Teachers’ body approaches SC against AICTE’s ‘Draconian’ diktat on staff-student ratio.

The table below is tentative number of professors who shall get affected and lose their jobs:

Throwing the whole professional education system into chaos, an estimated 1.78 lakh techers in private engineering, MBA, hotel management and other professional courses will be thrown out after AICTE, the regulatory body that looks after these colleges changed the faculty-student ratios. Teachers of these colleges have rushed to the Supreme Court seeking withdrawal of the new ratios. Their petition may be heard on March 9. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) declared that faculty-student ratio will henceforth be 1:20. Earlier, the ratio was 1:15 in private and self-financing engineering colleges for B.E/B.Tech/B.Arch, MBA, MCA, hotel management and 1:20 for diploma in engineering courses. The faculty-student ratio of 1:15 for engineering & technology and other programs such as MBA, MCA, HMCT, M.Pharm has been “irrationally decreased to 1:20”. For diploma, the earlier 1:20 ratio was converted in to 1:25.

The Private Educational Institutions Employees Association (PEIEA) of Tamil Nadu along with other self financing college teachers’ associations of Telengana have approached the Supreme Court for stay and withdrawal of AICTE’s new faculty-students ratio. “The total numbers of jobless professors after implementation of new ratios in all AICTE-monitored courses shall be around 1.78 lakh (one lakh faculties in private engineering colleges alone). It is stated that the new faculty-student ratio is not only going to create a defective education system but is also going to be liable for a loss of a massive amount of intra-national brain drain. Students presently opting for B.E/B.Tech or other technical education will not opt for it in future due to scarce quantity of teachers at engineering colleges. These students will opt for science and arts degrees, which cannot develop and stimulate the knowledge of students similar to the level of engineering or other technical education. Naturally, as a result of this anticipated downfall, the youth shall lose in global competition and nation shall also lose many crores of its technically qualified human resource,” PEIEA President KM Karthik said in his petition. Further, the professors – said the petitioner – who are retained are also going to come under the thumb of the management of private institutions and shall be intimidated to work for less salary because of the fear of being replaced by those who lost their jobs.

The new faculty-student ratio is way beyond the prevalent norms in other countries (see Table below for top 10 universities of the world).

There are almost 3000 self-financing/private engineering colleges across the nation. Most of them were just allowed to start and run at will during the last one and half decade. The jobless situation for engineering graduates attributed to automation, contracting, outsourcing and privatization of the industry is allegedly diminishing the craze for engineering education. “Even under this prevailing scenario, the trusts operating self-financing colleges are increasing the fees received from students and reduce the salaries earned by professors. The educational institutions feel the business will not yield the same old profit margin and decided to wind up the business and move on for other businesses. Before the educational trusts could exit the business, the AICTE indirectly helps the trusts to reap good profit by implementing a great reduction in number of professors,” said the petitioner. He said with an aim to meet the requirements of affiliations and inspections, several private engineering colleges are in the practice of appointing “fake” staff members. “The private institutions are not even following the earlier ratio of 1:15. The fact has been stated by the chairman of the AICTE himself,” he said.

It is learnt the AICTE decided to reduce the faculty to help the institutions from financial burdens. It raises a big question as to whether the AICTE has monitored or cross verified the institutions’ bank statements along with the faculties salary paid statements. The answer is negative. “It is clear that even after demonetization and digital economy initiatives, the AICTE is not bothered to digitise the student fees and staff salaries in the institutions and remains content only on oral statements of institutions. Issues are meager importance are being promoted by the AICTE and grave important issues summarily disregarded,” said Karthik. In implementing new faculty student ratios, the AICTE – according to the petitioner – has broken the transparency that it followed all these years. The matter was allegedly not released in public domain prior to deciding and thrust over the society in an autocratic manner. “The AICTE had acted on the advice of associations of college managing trusts. Every trust in no more a non-profitable service organization, and largely a money churning family owned organization. Some AICTE’s officials had acted in nexus with these trusts making a secret society and the new draconian faculty student ratios are only a result of the meetings in these secret societies,” he alleged. During the academic year 2015-16, the total number of staff in all the approved institutions of AICTE was about 7,00,000 (as per the records of AICTE). It is further stated that for engineering & technology colleges alone, the number is a staggering 5,78,000. Even if the number is taken as an approximate of 5,00,000, said the petitioner, the same accounts for 5,00,000 families with direct benefits from employment in these private engineering colleges. – Courtesy


AICTE directive sets alarm bells ringing

The Hindu |  P. Sujatha Varma | VIJAYAWADA |  February 27, 2018 |

Teaching staff fear large-scale job losses; managements unfazed


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The All India Council for Technical Education’s directive to technical institutions to reduce faculty-student ratio has triggered unrest among the academic faculty who fear losing their jobs. Technical education institutions were required to maintain one faculty for every 15 students in the past. Now the AICTE wants it to be one faculty for every 20 students.

Plea to Modi

The pan-India phenomenon has resulted in members of the All-India Private College Employees Union petitioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to ensure continuation of the old system. In Andhra Pradesh, members of the teaching faculty are coming together to form Private Engineering Colleges’ Lecturers’ Association to oppose the decision. “Interests of the teaching faculty will be hit if this is implemented. Apart from this, another norm allows colleges to replace an additional 10 % of the teaching staff with visiting faculty from the industry. This will further hit our interests,” says Sai Krishna Kota from Gudlavalleru College of Engineering. Citing cases of a few colleges that have short-listed teachers to be shown the door, he says the association will press the government not to be hasty and try and relocate the ‘excess’ faculty in other departments. Some of the lecturers have estimated that the council move will deprive nearly 20,000 college teachers of their jobs in A.P. and Telangana. The ‘affected’ section in Telangana has already formed an association which plans to move court, said sources. The managements, meanwhile, have welcomed the move saying this would call the bluff of the colleges that had been presenting inflated number of teaching faculty. “The AICTE directive will not change anything as most colleges already have 1:20 teaching staff,” says Gadde Rajaling, Chairman of the Lingaya’s Institute of Management and Technology.

Salary burden

Moreover, with the 6th pay commission coming up, it would be impossible to pay higher salaries to excess faculty, he said. Pointing to the fact that the teachers will have to take not more than 15 hours of teaching per week, he said it would in fact bring in transparency. Ratna Raju, Principal of V.R. Siddhartha Engineering College, said the institution being an autonomous one, it offered many elective courses apart from the regular ones. “There is no need to downsize the teaching staff since we have always maintained this ratio and ensured high standards,” he said. Teachers in engineering colleges apprehend that the downsizing will start immediately after the exams. – Courtesy

AICTE rules out moratorium on new engineering courses

The Times of India | B S Anil Kumar | TNN | Feb 9, 2018 |

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has rejected the state government’s request that no new engineering courses be granted to any of the existing engineering colleges in the state, for the time being.  The AICTE regional council committee, chaired by AICTE south-western zonal committee chairman T G Sitaram, however, agreed with the state’s argument that no more new engineering colleges should be set up in the state, at least for now. Generally, the AICTE central committee seldom makes changes in the decisions taken by the regional committees on state-centric issues.  The state government, in its perspective plan for engineering education, submitted to the AICTE, had pointed out the large number of vacant seats in engineering colleges and the deteriorating quality of engineering education as the reasons for batting for a moratorium on new colleges and courses. The regional committee, which met here on Wednesday, questioned the rationale behind the state’s demand that no more courses should be sanctioned in existing colleges. As per the AICTE norms, only those institutions having accreditation of the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) are eligible to apply for new courses.

The NBA accreditation has to be obtained department wise and only 15 colleges in the state have so far acquired accreditation for their courses. Among them, majority are in private sector. The regional committee, according to sources, asked how it would be possible to deny new courses to NBA-accredited colleges since the norm was applicable to engineering colleges across the state. Education department principal secretary Usha Titus who represented the state at the regional committee meeting, however, argued that the AICTE should stop the practice of sanctioning new courses to all NBA-accredited institutions. “Rather than blindly reciprocating to the applications from NBA-accredited institutions, AICTE should sanction courses on need basis. If the AICTE is not in favour of rejecting applications for new courses in the state, it should at least ensure that strict norms are followed while sanctioning new courses,” she said. According to sources, applications of at least two engineering colleges, including one in government sector, for new courses are pending with the AICTE whereas nobody has approached AICTE with the request for permission to start new engineering colleges.- Courtesy

With WiFi campuses, cell phones will return to engineering colleges

The New Indian Express | Rashmi Belur  |  Express News Service  |  03rd February 2018 |  VTU : With WiFi campuses, cell phones will return to engineering colleges

BENGALURU: Students of engineering colleges under the Visvesvaraya Technological University will now be able to flaunt their cellphones in the open after more than a decade of keeping the phones hidden. A 2005 directive which instituted a blanket ban on the use of mobile phones in campuses is set to be withdrawn after instructions by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) which ask all engineering colleges to have a WiFi enabled campus. The ban was enforced amid rising complaints of exam malpractice with the use of mobile phones and had been made applicable for both students as well as faculty. While inside the college campus during working hours, mobile phones had to be kept switched off. Now, VTU will revisit this rule, confirmed Vice Chancellor Dr Karisiddappa. “As AICTE asked college campuses to be WiFi enabled, it is the time to revisit our own circular issued long ago where usage of mobile phones was banned.” The move will bring relief to thousands of students who faced the risk of having their cellphones confiscated if found switched on.

However, according to officials from the university, the decision to withdraw the order has to be placed before the Executive Council. “As the decision to impose blanket ban on mobile phones at college campuses was passed by the Executive Council, now even to withdraw the same, it has to be decided through the Council,” explained a senior official of the university. In an official circular issued by AICTE, on January 15, 2018, based on instructions given by the Ministry for Human Resource Development, all Higher Education institutions, universities should be WiFi enabled campuses by August 15, 2018. Meanwhile, this move by both AICTE and VTU has been appreciated by the principals of affiliated colleges and also by students. Dr K Mallikarjun Babu, principal BMS college of engineering Bengaluru, said, “Mobile is a powerful tool and why should we think that it spreads only wrong messages? We are waiting for the university to relax the ban and simultaneously are thinking of placing it before the Academic Council and relax the ban as ours is an autonomous institute.” Rahul M Bogase, a third-semester student, said, “It is not that we need wifi to use mobiles, many of us carry laptops and we need wifi at campuses to use them. And we are responsible students and we know how to use technology right.” – Courtesy

Click here View / Download the AICTE Circular, 4 pages, pdf – Provision of WiFi Services in the Campus

Petition in Kerala High Court against Engineering Colleges Cutting Short B.Tech Courses To Start Technical Education Leaving Students in Limbo

Live Law |  Akanksha Jain | January 18, 2018 |

A petition has been filed before the Kerala High Court challenging the decision of the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to allow engineering colleges imparting B.Tech degree courses to be converted to institutions providing technical education in absence ofany clear-cut guidelines for such colleges which will leave the students in limbo. The petition has been filed by Dijo Kappen, who has held several important offices, including Kerala University Academic Council Member and senate member, and impleads the AICTE, APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU) and Director of Technical Education. The petition came up before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Antony Dominic and Justice Dama Sheshadri Naidu, which directed the respondents to take instructions on the issues so raised. Advocate Santhosh Mathew argued that the petitioner is aggrieved by the decision taken by AICTE and KTU to permit colleges imparting B.Tech degree courses to be converted to technical institutions offering technical programmes, without conducting a proper study about the needof more educational institutions imparting technical course in Kerala.He relied on AICTE’s Approval Process Handbook for the year 2018-19which talks about grant of approval through a single application for conversion of diploma level into degree level and vice-versa.It is to be noted that there are altogether 118 colleges offering under-graduate courses for Engineering and Technology in the unaided private sector.

Dijo submitted that on the commencement of a college, an affidavit is signed by the institution along with the application submitted to the KTU for affiliation.Due to inferior quality of infrastructure provided in various engineering colleges, a large number of seats were lying vacant but the data is not made available on KTU’s website, he claimed.The petition said the management of Pinnacle School of Engineering and Technology, Anchal, Kollam, sent a letter to KTU informing their inability to conduct B.Tech programme as per the guidelines of AICTE,based on which the university in December last year decided to granttransfer to first and fifth semester students of that institution toother affiliated institutions of their choice.Similar was the case with a “large number of Engineering Colleges whichare taking steps to stop the B.Tech programmes and after transferring the students to other self financing colleges, steps are being taken bysuch Institutions to convert the Colleges into Technical Institution offering technical programmes”.The petitioner said the Kerala High Court had in year 2011, on a petition filed by Ernakulathapan Charitable Trust, issued variousdirections to the state government to improve the state of affairs of engineering colleges. An expert team was ordered to be constituted to conduct inspection in all the engineering colleges in the state andsubmit reports and also restricted further affiliations.“It is due to the indiscriminate permission granted by the AICTE,universities in the State of Kerala and the state government that 118engineering colleges were permitted to be established in the State of Kerala, in the self-financing sector. A perusal of the percentage ofpass would reveal that many engineering colleges are having a passpercentage of less than 25%. This makes it crystal clear that the Institutions were functioning without proper instructional and infrastructural facilities. By permitting the engineering colleges toshut down without any clear-cut guidelines students of such institutionswhich are planning to close down are left high and dry and are forced torun from pillar to post to get admission in other self-financing colleges,” the petitioner said.The petitioner now sought direction to the government to first formulate clear-cut guidelines before permission is granted to engineering colleges to stop the existing B.Tech courses and convert the same to diploma courses.As an interim relief, he has sought direction to the state government and the KTU to conduct a detailed study of the existing instructional and infrastructural facilities of the 118 engineering colleges impartingB.Tech degree course and submit a report before the high court.Other interim reliefs prayed for include direction to the respondents“to ensure that the Institutions which are closed down due to lack ofinstructional and infrastructural facilities are not granted permission to start new courses, including technological programmes, without obtaining permission of the court and that the AICTE furnishes a list of new applications received for conversion of B.Tech courses to diploma courses for the academic year 2018-19”. Courtey   /     Click here to View / Download the Petition, 18 pages, pdf

Engineering colleges may run BSc courses, if they have a justifiable proposal

The Times of India | K Sambath Kumar | TNN | Jan 9, 2018 |

TRICHY: All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) member secretary Alok Prakash Mittal said that the body will consider giving permission for engineering colleges to run BSc courses, if they are grossly vacant over poor enrollment, but they must provide a concrete proposal. Speaking on the sidelines of a workshop on Smart India Hackathon-2018 in Trichy, the member secretary said that, those colleges who have closed their programs over poor patronage, despite having the infrastructure, can make a request to AICTE. It’s not that the AICTE will instruct engineering colleges to close the program, but if colleges have additional infrastructure with them, they can use it for anything, he said. The AICTE has set norms specifying required infrastructure to run a program.

However, representatives from the self-financing engineering colleges said there are no specific orders from AICTE to allow BSc programmes. To which, the member secretary said that AICTE is ready to do what is in the interest of technical education. “They body is in favour of any development for the progress of technical education in the country,” he said.  To the question thrown by secretary of consortium of self-financing professional arts and science colleges in Tamil Nadu P Selvaraj, whether AICTE will declare it officials, the member secretary said that the college has to give justification for such a move and is perhaps ruled out for the upcoming academic year.   Executive committee member of the consortium MA Maluk Mohamed said that, the move will be in the interest of utilising the infrastructure that lay unused in many of the engineering colleges. “Except for 4-5 colleges in Trichy almost all among the total 53 engineering colleges in Trichy have less than 70 per cent of required student strength, he said. – Courtesy

No plan to merge technical colleges in vicinity: HRD

Press Trust of India | New Delhi, Jan 4 (PTI) |

New Delhi, Jan 4 (PTI) The government is not planning to merge two technical colleges if they are in the vicinity of each other, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satya Pal Singh clarified in response to a written question in the Rajya Sabha that the “All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) is not toying with the idea of merging two colleges in the vicinity of each other”.

“However, as per provisions under the approval process, the private technical institutions with large number of vacant seats may apply for voluntary closure of the courses or reduction in intake,” Singh said. – Courtesy

AICTE blinks, revises student-faculty ratio

The New Indian Express | S Mannar Mannan  |  Express News Service  |   02nd January 2018 |

COIMBATORE: Following strong opposition from teachers to the All India Council for Technical Education’s (AICTE) move to reduce the faculty-student ratio from 1:15 to 1:20, the council has decided not to consider adjunct faculty members in calculating the ratio. In the 2017-18 academic year, the AICTE allowed technical institutions, including engineering colleges, to employ people from industry as adjunct faculty or resource persons to provide students industrial exposure and improve their employability. According to the rule, at least 80 per cent of the faculty members should be regular, full-time people; the remaining can be adjunct faculty/resource persons. However, from the academic year 2018-19, adjunct faculty/resource persons will not be included in calculating the faculty-student ratio. Only regular faculty members will be counted for computing the ratio.

This decision was taken after the academic community, particularly teachers, strongly opposed the AICTE’s recent decision to reduce the student-faculty ratio from 1:15 to 1:20. Academics argued that this would affect research work. However, in the case of Architecture and Planning, adjunct faculty or resource persons up to 30 per cent are permissible, as the programme requires exhaustive practical field exposure, AICTE said. In all other programmes, under exigent conditions like delay in recruitment or relieving/retirement of regular faculty members, adjunct faculty/resource persons up to 10 per cent of the requirement may be availed. This too is allowed only for a period not exceeding one academic session. However, T D Eswaramoorthy, secretary of All India Federation of Self-Financing Technical Institutions, said, “If adjunct faculty is not considered while calculating the ratio, many colleges will not employ adjunct faculty. From the industry side, people who are interested in sharing ideas and teaching will not get opportunity.”

Stiff opposition

Teachers had strongly opposed the AICTE’s recent decision to reduce the student-faculty ratio from 1:15 to 1:20. Academics argued that this would affect research work. – Courtesy

Govt suggests Aadhaar-linked biometric attendance for faculty at technical institutes

Deccan Chronicle | Prakash Kumar | DH News Service | New Delhi |  Jan 1, 2018  |

The Centre has suggested all technical institutes to install Aadhaar-linked biometric devices for recording attendance of their regular faculty members online

The Economic Survey 2016-17 had suggested the introduction of biometric attendance system in “all primary schools,” identifying “teacher absenteeism” as one of the main causes of the fall in learning outcome. A “successful testing” of a biometric attendance registration project was carried out by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry in Manipur in consultation with the state government. An Android-based mobile tablet along with biometric finger scanner was distributed among the teachers and other staff at government schools in five districts. The device was also built to record attendance of students as well as monitoring the financial and physical progress made on Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) funds. “We will expand it across all the states,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar told the Lok Sabha on July 21, while concluding a debate on the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017. –  Courtesy

Six states urge AICTE to disallow setup of new engineering colleges there from 2018

Money Control News | Dec 28, 2017  |

Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana have also petitioned AICTE to impose a temporary ban on capacity expansion in existing institutes.

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As the trend of large number of vacant seats in technical programmes continues, six states are said to have written to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) urging it to disallow establishment of new engineering colleges in these states from 2018, reports Indian Express. Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana have also petitioned with AICTE to impose a temporary ban on capacity expansion in existing institutes. Engineering makes up for 70 percent of technical education seats in India. AICTE Chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe has agreed to the suggestions of four of the six states (Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana) who have backed their plea with reasons and proposed a perspective plan. Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh still remain under consideration.

There are 3,291 engineering colleges(and 15.5 lakh BE/BTech seats) across the country, 51 percent were vacant in 2016-17, according to AICTE data. In 2016-17, more than 50 percent of the engineering seats in Madhya Pradesh were vacant while three quarters of the BE seats were vacant in Himachal Pradesh. According to the AICTE enrolment data,  crisis in engineering education was at its worst in Haryana at 74 percent engineering seats being vacant in 2016-17. In its letter addressed to AICTE, the technical education department of Haryana has estimated that almost 70 per cent of its BTech seats were left vacant even in the current academic year. Reasons for the vacant seats include bad infrastructure and no regulation which led to there being little to account for in terms of the technical labs and faculty. This, and the fact that a BE or BTech degree fails to generate employment anymore has meant there has been a devaluation in the preference of students vying to pursue the degree.- Courtesy