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Ailing engineering colleges get 3-year ‘lifeline’ to perform

The Times of India | Shoeb Khan | TNN | Oct 11, 2017 |

JAIPUR: In a major respite to poorly performing engineering colleges across India, the All India Council for Technical Education has relaxed its proposal of closing down such colleges which have an average of 30% and below enrolments in the last three years.  The new proposal, exclusively shared with TOI by AICTE member secretary Alok Prakash Mittal, says these colleges will now be observed for next three years and if their enrolments remain less than 30% in coming academic years too, they will be closed down. In Rajasthan, 50% of the colleges were falling in poor performer category.  “Our earlier proposal was subjected to extreme legal vetting. It was also realised that they (institutions) should be given time to perform for the next three academic sessions.Still, if they didn’t meet the benchmark of 30% enrol ments they will face closure.The new proposal will be formally discussed in the executive meeting to be held in this month. ,” said Mittal, while talking to TOI on the sidelines of his lecture in a private university in Jaipur on Tuesday.

He argued that they (poorly performing institutes) are not generating enough financial resources to meet the quality of education and to provi de facilities to students. “In the present academic session off 36 lakh seats in technical institutes, 20 lakh seats were filled leaving the rest vacant,” informed Mittal.   This year 122 engineering colleges have applied for progressive closure including 10 from Rajasthan. The revised proposal will give a new lease of life to the technical institutes facing a dearth of students in Rajasthan and in the country for atleast three years.   Elaborating on steps taken by the AICTE to promote technical education in the country, Mittal says that AICTE funded Smart India Hackathon event in 2017 providing a platform for students to provide IT solutions to the Central government ministries. “It had been a great success as many of the solutions suggested by the students has been executed successfully. It has instilled confidence among the students,” said Mittal, who announced that next season-2018 the AICTE will allow students provide hardware solutions to the ministries in Hackathon. “Our plan is also to add management solutions in the Hackathon to widen its reach,” said Mittal, who hinted that in the coming year’s states can also hold state departments specific Hackathons.  Keeping in the line with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to create an ecosystem for job creators, the secretary has informed that AICTE is revising the model curricula by adding `Startup’ policy in it. The curricula will be ready to be implemented from the next academic session. The secretary believes that every institute follows up 80% of their curricula and will promote the startups among students. “The AICTE also gives financial support to Start-Ups on the basis of the merit. A team of experts evaluate the startup’s feasibility before shortlisting them for support,” said Mittal.- Courtesy

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AICTE to crack down on institutes offering technical education without approval

Prakash Kumar |  DH News Service | New Delhi | Aug 14 2017 |

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is gearing up for a crackdown on the institutes offering technical programmes without its approval in different parts of the country.

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is gearing up for a crackdown on the institutes offering technical programmes without its approval in different parts of the country. It has decided to collect information about such institutes from the general public and take “appropriate legal action” against them. As the Council’s regulations revised in 2016, such institutes are liable to face “punitive and criminal action” for violation of the AICTE Act. “Let people inform us about such institutions. We will conduct an inquiry and take legal action against them. We have issued a public notice inviting people to come forward and inform us about institutions offering technical programmes without obtaining any approval from the Council,” an AICTE official told DH.

To offer technical education in the country, the institutions need to have the mandatory prior approval of the AICTE in accordance with the section 10 and 11 of the AICTE Act, 1987 and Regulation 2016, the official added. The move comes as a large number of institutions continue to offer technical programmes without any approval from the AICTE despite several requests were made to the States to put a check on such institutes in the best interest of students. “We have requested the State Governments and the Universities operating in different parts of the country to ensure that the institutes seeking a grant of affiliation from them have obtained a prior approval of the AICTE to offer technical programmes,” the official said. Any Institute not having prior approval from the AICTE and offering degree, diploma or certificate programmes in technical education are liable “to punitive legal/criminal action” in accordance with para 9 and 10 of the AICTE regulations, 2016 as notified in the Gazette of India on November 30 last year, the official added. – Courtesy  /   AICTE Notification : Public Notice – Prior Approval from AICTE

AICTE conducts surprise checks at 41 engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu

The New Indian Express | Express News Service  |   21st May 2017 |

CHENNAI: The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) inspected 311 engineering colleges across the country recently. Of these, 41 colleges were in Tamil Nadu, the Chairman Anil D Sahasrabudhe told a conclave on  ‘creating competent engineers for a new India, with innovative minds and entrepreneurial capabilities’ on Saturday. He also announced that from the coming academic year, the first three to four weeks, engineering colleges will have no classes. The period would be used to focus on soft skill development and also socialisation of students. Especially for the ones who hail from rural background and after joining college, feel out of place. Sahasrabudhe said a surprise inspection was done in 311 colleges which was three per cent of the total number of colleges in the country. “Of the 311 colleges, 41 colleges were from Tamil Nadu. In the first round when we checked, 187 colleges were having deficiency. Deficiency may range from minor to major deficiencies. More than 60 percent had deficiency,” he said. When show cause notice was given to the colleges, some of them who had minor deficiencies rectified them. They were given two to three month’s time to rectify. There were 45 percent vacancies in all colleges in every State.

He also said 28 colleges on their own applied for closure, of which six had no admission.  Sixteen new institutions had come up in Tamil Nadu of which eight were  pharmacy, two are for engineering and two for government polytechnic and four for post graduate diploma. Prist University got approval from AICTE for Chennai and Madurai campuses. Amrita School of Engineering is to open a new college with 300 seats. In the MGR Film institute, the diploma courses will be closed and will be upgraded into degree courses. Speaking on soft skill development and socialisation during the first month of the engineering classes, he said that during orientation day, there is not much interaction with students. Students coming from rural areas feel out of place as they might not be speaking good English. Also there are students who have inhibitions to talk to others.“First three to four weeks there won’t be any class at all. Teachers will focus on soft skill development so that those who are not fluent with English or do not know English,” he said adding therefore a student’s ability to express is important. He may express his ideas in his language. This will help develop his self confidence. “We will also teach physics, chemistry and mathematics which they learned in Classes XI and XII. After this they will start their regular course,” he said adding that teachers will be trained in this. Initially, they will be trained by IIT experts. – Courtesy

Anna University cuts intake for courses in 44 engineering colleges across Tamil Nadu

The New Indian Express | S Mannar Mannan  |  Express News Service  |   16th May 2017 |

COIMBATORE: Inspection teams of Anna University, which visited private engineering colleges across the State, have found that select courses offered by 44 engineering colleges are not supported by adequate faculty strength and infrastructure. The university has therefore decided to reduce the number of students allowed for these courses. Ahead of the new academic year, Anna University had sent separate inspection teams to around 530 self-financing engineering colleges to check whether they have adequate faculty strength and infrastructure, including classrooms, laboratories and libraries. The visits, which began in mid-February, were completed recently.  The university had sent notices to the colleges short of the required faculty and infrastructure, asking them to rectify the shortfalls. They were also asked to send compliance reports. Based on the compliance reports, the university has taken a final call.  “As per the Supreme Court order, we have to complete the affiliation process before May 15.

The final decision on extending the affiliation of engineering colleges was taken during a meeting on Saturday,” said a highly placed source in the university.  “The university has decided to reduce the intake of some courses offered by 44 private engineering colleges, as they were found short of faculty and infrastructure. Some of them have rectified the deficiency highlighted by the university and they have been granted affiliation and allowed full intake,” the source added.  Meanwhile, 11 existing private engineering colleges did not apply for affiliation this year. “These colleges will be closing down from this academic year. Existing students could be shifted to other colleges,” the official said. The university has completed its affiliation process and is now awaiting the extension of approval process by the AICTE. – Courtesy

More than 220 educational institutions across India seek AICTE nod for closure

The New Indian Express | S Mannar Mannan  |  Express News Service  |   04th March 2017 |

COIMBATORE: Not all institutions offering engineering and management courses attract students like the premier colleges to which students make a beeline. This was once again proved when a whopping 221 institutions of technical education across the country applied to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for closure from the coming academic year.  In the last five years, the apex regulatory body for technical education had permitted the closure of 507 institutions — 122 in 2016-17, 125 in 2015-16, 77 in 2014-15, 111 in 2013-14, and 72 in 2012-13, according to a senior AICTE official.  In Tamil Nadu, there were 30 closures in the last five years — 12 each in 2014-15 and 2015-16 and three each in 2013-14 and 2016-17. In 2012-13, no institution was closed down in the State.

On the other hand, the AICTE received 477 online applications to open new institutions. There were also 10,337 online applications for extension of approval from existing institutions.  Information in this regard, specific to Tamil Nadu and separate figures for engineering and management colleges, were not immediately available, the official said. Commenting on the scenario, T D Eswaramoorthy, secretary of All India Federation for Self-financing Technical Institutions, said, “In the last couple years, a large number of technical institutions in Telangana were closed as the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University is following rules strictly.”  “In other parts of the country, the majority of colleges closed were part of groups. Some managements had opened many colleges to overcome the earlier restrictions on the number of students a college could admit… The promoter of a technical institution has to spend around Rs 25 crore in the first four years. The break-even point can be reached only in the 12th year,” he added.  –  Courtesy

Self-financed technical institutes unite to fight ‘AICTE bias’

Deccan Herald | New Delhi, Feb 13, 2017, DHNS |

Self-financed technical institutes have launched a front to fight against what they describe as “the AICTE bias” against them, saying the technical education regulator has framed all the rules for them and let off the deemed and private universities which also offer technical courses.

Demanding for a uniform set of regulations for all higher educational institutions offering engineering and other technical programmes in the country, the unaided private colleges on Sunday announced formation of an All India Federation of Technical Institutes (AIFTI) to carry forward their fight. “While there are government committees in states to fix the maximum tuition fee that we can charge from students, there is no such rule for the deemed universities and private universities offering technical programmes,” said Pradeep Kumar, vice president of the newly-formed AIFTI, at a press conference. The regulations of the All India Council for Technical Institutes (AICTE) require self-financed institutes to have a minimum area of 60,000 square feet to offer just one course, while the deemed universities and private universities can offer any number of courses in just 20,000 square feet area,” V K Verma, chairman of Shri Ram College of Technology, Bhopal, said.

Money power
“If you have money, you can get a degree in a technical programme without attending any classes and taking examination. There are many deemed universities and private universities in the country ready to offer you such a deal if you pay for it. There is no one to monitor their functioning,” the AIFTI vice president said. More than 8,000 self-financed institutes have been offering technical programmes approved by the AICTE in various disciplines.  Of them, over 4,000 institutes offer undergraduate degree programmes in technical education. A total of 554 self -financed technical colleges are operating in Karnataka while 1,201 such institutes are operating in of Tamil Nadu. Deemed and private universities offering technical programmes get their approval from the University Grants Commission.

“While deemed universities offering technical courses have to submit some details to the AICTE, the private universities offering technical courses are completely out of the ambit of the university,” AIFTI president R S Munirathinam, who is also the founder-chairperson of the RMK Group of Institutions in Chennai, said. About 127 deemed universities are operating in the country, besides a total of 176 private universities under the states. While 37 of the total deemed universities are fully run and managed by the government, 11 are government-aided and 79 are fully private deemed universities. “There is no regulation to fix their intake while the AICTE regulations require us to admit a maximum 180 students per course. We do not want such discrimination. We want one rule for all,” Munirathinam added. –  Courtesy

Not just tech: English labs to give campus cutting edge

The Times of India | TNN |  Jan 20, 2017 |

HYDERABAD: Hoping to fix the weak English skills of students pursuing technical and professional courses, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has now made it mandatory for colleges to set up standalone language laboratories within their their premises.  In its approval process handbook released for the 2017-18 academic year, AICTE has listed multiple requirements under ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’. The standalone language laboratory — where colleges are expected to conduct language tutorials for students — figures in the essential list.  Experts say the move is aimed at preparing students for interviews and group discussions during campus placements. “There are a lot of students whose English language skills are weak. As a result, they are unable to crack job interviews and other competitive examinations. Pronunciation is a major issue among many engineering students,” said placement officer at Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology NLN Reddy.

It may be recalled that in 2015, nearly 500 students from Telangana and Andhra were deported from the US, resulting in a major crisis. Among the various reasons for deportation cited by the US border security officials was the students’ poor English skills. The AICTE’s move, experts say, could address this issue. As per its norms, lessons and exercises have to be recorded on a weekly basis so that students are exposed to a variety of listening and speaking drills. The language laboratory sessions will have to include word games, quizzes, extempore and debates. The labs must have 25 computers for every 1,000 students and a faculty who is proficient in English.  Apart from this, an institution-industry cell is another must-have for institutes beginning the new academic year. –  Courtesy

Nod for polytechnics to turn into engineering colleges

The New Indian Express | S Mannar Mannan  |  Express News Service  |  18th January 2017 |

COIMBATORE: THE All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has decided to allow polytechnic colleges to be converted into engineering colleges after meeting necessary requirements. It will also allow conversion of engineering colleges with insufficient patronage into polytechnic colleges. To be eligible for the conversion, the institution concerned should have been in existence for at least five years, the AICTE said in its approval process handbook for 2017-18. Institutions offering courses in pharmacology have also been allowed to similar conversions, provided the requirements.

“Polytechnic colleges which have been in existence for long would like to upgrade themselves into engineering colleges. Now they have been allowed to convert diploma-level institutions into degree-level institutions,” said an office-bearer of the association of engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu. –  Courtesy

AICTE turns the heat on errant engineering colleges

The New Indian Express |  By S Mannar Mannan  |  ENS  |   24th November 2016 |

COIMBATORE: Cracking the whip on private engineering colleges exploiting students by charging exorbitantly, the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has fined around a dozen colleges in Tamil Nadu. The fine amount ranged up to Rs 2 crore. The apex regulatory body has also warned private colleges of withdrawing the affiliation if they fail to pay the fine. This is the first time that the AICTE is taking such stringent action against private engineering colleges for collecting exorbitant fee from students. Sources in the AICTE have confirmed this and said the move followed complaints by students. The AICTE conducted a thorough enquiry by sending its team to verify the complaints and found that some colleges have collected exorbitant fees. Based on the enquiry findings, the AICTE has taken the decision, sources added. The AICTE has also taken similar action against institutions in other parts of the country.

According to AICTE Approval Process Handbook 2016-17, no technical institution is entitled to receive from students any other fee, in whatever name or manner, in addition to the fee fixed by the State fee regulatory committee. If any institute violates this, they are liable for penalty of twice the total fees collected, reduction in student intake, no admission in one or more course for one academic year, and withdrawal of approval of one course, or of the institution. A senior official in Anna University, who also confirmed the development said, “AICTE had fined around a dozen colleges.” “The AICTE has given three months time for private engineering colleges to pay the fine amount, and warned that if they failed to pay the fine, their approval would be withdrawn. In some cases, the AICTE has issued warning to private colleges not to collect higher than the fee fixed by the State-level fee fixation committee,” the official added. Sources also added that a few of these private colleges which were fined are planning to move the Court challenging the AICTE decision. –  Courtesy

AICTE Call on 21 New Technical College Applicants this Week

The New Indian Express |  By Express News Service |  11th April 2016 |

COIMBATORE: The fate of over 400 applications to start new technical education institutions in the country will be decided by the Standing Appellate Committee of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in the coming week. The AICTE has started online application process for starting new technical education institutions, including engineering and technology, pharmacy, architecture, town planning, applied arts and crafts, management, MBA, PGDM, HMCT and MCA degree programmes, from January 21. The apex regulatory body for technical education has received hundreds of application for starting technical education institutions. From this, the AICTE has rejected 408 applications from trusts and societies to start new technical education institutions for various reasons. This includes 21 applications to start new technical education institutions in Tamil Nadu. These trusts and societies were given another chance to appeal against the AICTE decision and told to appear before the Standing Appellate Committee from April 12 to 15.

Apart from this, the Standing Appellate Committee of the AICTE will also hear the case of 40 applications for change in site of the institution, which was also rejected by the apex body.  In addition to this, the Standing Appellate Committee will also look into six applications for converting women only institutions into coeducation institutions. Those applications rejected by the Standing Appellate Committee of the AICTE will not have the chance to start new technical education institutions during this academic year. They have to apply afresh during the next academic year to start their institutions. Meanwhile, the Standing Appellate Committee of the AICTE will also look into the cases of 176 existing technical education institutions in the country, including at least 17 from Tamil Nadu, which have applied for closure of their institutions. – Courtesy       /           Approval Process 2016-17_​Schedule of Standing Appellate Committee (SAC)