Thursday, October 28, 2010

MHRD Consultative Committee discusses AICTE Reforms

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has introduced e-governance for transaction of all its business including online submission of applications-for transparency and clarity, easier & assured communication and fast processing of applications. This was stated by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Kapil Sibal while addressing the Members of the Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of HRD.

The subject of the meeting was "Reforms in All India Council for Technical Education". A presentation on the reforms initiated in the AICTE was also made in the meeting. The presentation outlined the following regarding the reforms.

Organisational reforms: To strengthen the organization and enhance the functioning and performance of the Council, the following measures and practices have been adopted:

• Improvement in security measures
• Introduction of e-governance system for transparency
• Website is being modified to make it more user friendly
• Office manuals for adopting procedures have been drafted
• Induction training/orientation programmes for incumbents are being drafted
• Proper records management, retention/weeding is being carried out
• Personnel are appointed on deputation basis
• Execution of work order for construction of permanent building at JNU
• Council approval for setting internal audit cell for finance as well as performance audit
• Council is also exploring the possibility of digitization of records

Online submission of applications all year round: The process for the approval of cases electronically started for the year 2010-11 from January 10, 2010. It provided facility for tracking of applications by applicants and emphasizes on self declarations by Institutions rather than inspections.

New Institutes/Integrated Campus: New Institutes can now start with enhanced intake capacity for more economic viability. Engineering/Technical institutes can seek an intake of 300 instead of 240. Similarly MCA / MBA / PGDM / Pharmacy / Art & Craft can seek intake of 120 instead of 60 and Architecture & Town Planning 80 instead of 40.

Norms for Land Requirement: Land requirement for engineering institutions in mega cities reduced from 3 to 2.5 acres and in metro cities from 5 to 4 acres.

It was also stated that the Council has so far accorded approval to more than 7000 Institutions to impart technical education to around 2.0 million students in the country.

Subsequent to the presentation, Members of Parliament expressed their views/concerns regarding the AICTE. Most of the MPs emphasized that while increasing the number of colleges/seats, quality of education must be a prime concern. Some MPs expressed their concern regarding corruption/malpractices reported about educational institutions. Some MPs raised concerns about the efficacy of the e-governance system and that glitches and delays had come to light regarding it. One MP questioned the reason for according the e-governance contract to a private party rather than NIC.

Some MPs talked about the revised land requirement norms, one MP was of the view that much larger land area must be mandated for educational institutions while one MP wanted uniform 2.5 acres irrespective of urban or rural areas and one MP wanted separate norms for hilly areas. An MP stated that the teaching of ethics, nationalism and of the Liberal Arts is also required in engineering education. One MP stated that the qualification for entering polytechnics be increased to plus two rather than the current class X. One MP expressed reservations regarding a common engineering entrance test for the whole country considering the disparities in the country.

Replying to the concerns of the MPs, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal at first stated that the subject of the next Consultative Committee could also be AICTE reforms, considering the deep interest in the matter. Regarding the concerns raised by MPs on quality and regarding reports of corruption in technical institutes, he stated that the proposed Prohibition of Educational Malpractices Bill and The National Accreditation Regulatory Authority Bill, seek to address the issues of corruption and quality respectively. He sought support from the MPs present for these Bills.

Regarding the concerns about e-governance, the Minister said that on the whole, the new system has found support and approval. He agreed that some problems/delays in its implementation had been experienced, but most of these problems could be attributed to engineering institutes not having computers of the quality that could upload the data as required and delays happened due to the time taken by the institutes to upgrade the computers. Regarding the project being undertaken by private sector parties instead of NIC, the Minister stated that he had been given to understand that NIC was not able to provide the solutions required for the Project.

Source: Press Information Bureau, Government of India, October 28, 2010
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