Saturday, October 01, 2011

AICTE told to consult States with surplus seats before sanctioning engineering colleges

The Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has asked the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) — the apex regulatory body for engineering colleges — to consult the States before giving permission for setting up new colleges.

According to Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, the AICTE would ask the State governments with a surplus of vacant seats whether recognition should be given to more engineering colleges in their State. He said this while addressing Members of Parliament at a meeting of the Parliamentary consultative committee.

Inter-region variations
This move is to address the wide inter-State and inter-region variations, particularly the location of engineering schools. While some States, particularly the southern States of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, and Maharashtra in the west have surplus seats, States in the eastern and North-Eastern region are underserved.

Over 70 per cent of the capacity in degree-level engineering education is concentrated in four States — Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra. The States in the past have protested against the lack of a consultation process while sanctioning new engineering and management colleges.

One area of concern common to many Members of Parliament was that the envisaged expansion of higher education should not result in a heightened rural/urban and rich/poor divide as also a divide among those who can speak English and those who cannot.

Poor student-teacher ratio
The members also said that until the standard of the secondary and higher secondary education sector, especially in government schools, was not improved the poorer sections would not be adequately prepared for good quality higher education.

Another concern was over the poor teacher-student ratio in colleges and declining standards of college education. A suggestion was made by some Members of Parliaments that the Centre should set up a Centrally-run college in every district of the country in the manner of Kendriya Vidyalayas or Navodaya Vidyalayas.

Common entrance test
The committee also discussed the proposed common entrance test for engineering students. At its recent meeting, the IIT Council agreed to the idea of a common admission test for all engineering schools from 2013, if States agreed to the idea. Admissions would take place on the basis of an all-India merit list, which will be prepared based on the combined weightage given to class XII exam and the common test.

The test will examine a student's logic and non-subject matters. Weightage would be given to the marks obtained in class XII boards after the results are equalised for which Indian Statistical Institute will put in place a mathematical formula for equalisation.

The Indian Statistical Institute's formula would be based on the data of various boards collected over the past four years to make it an efficient equalisation model.

Source: The Hindu, October 1, 2011

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