Thursday, May 23, 2013

Private B-schools up the ante against AICTE's regulations

Business schools' cup of complaints against the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is full. Unhappy with the council's alleged non-cooperation towards private B-schools, about 40 deans and directors of such institutes will approach Minister for Human Resource Development M M Pallam Raju to appraise him of their hardships.

The delegation, to be led by the Education Promotion Society for India (EPSI), would suggest various steps to Raju to create an environment conducive for management education in India. "We would request the ministry to ask AICTE to change its policies, and not be prejudiced against PGDM (post-graduate diploma in management) institutions. AICTE is also not facilitating private institutions financially; nor is it helping them with research. Also, in many schemes, AICTE does not consider private management institutions, despite the fact that in most rankings, 90 per cent of the spots are accounted for by the private sector," EPSI said in a statement to Business Standard.

B-schools say institutions that have accreditation with international bodies, no governance woes and have been functioning well for years could be exempted from yearly regulatory filings. These institutions could be asked for regulatory filings every five years.

"Private B-schools are not questioning AICTE's relevance. But the way AICTE is functioning has led to a lot of problems. For instance, what is the need for good B-schools to have annual compliances? Why do established B-schools have to go through annual inspection? Why do we need to file voluminous reports year after year, giving basic infrastructure details? Can't AICTE classify the good and bad institutions?" asked Pritam Singh, Director, International Management Institute, New Delhi.

B-schools say AICTE spends more time in regulating these institutions than facilitating their growth. "AICTE can do more for faculty development and funding of institutions. More than 90 per cent of the AICTE staff is busy with a regulatory role, rather than facilitating B-schools do better," says Singh. B-schools are also unhappy with AICTE conducting a management entrance test. Last year, AICTE commissioned the Common Management Admission Test (CMAT), an online computer-based test.

H Chaturvedi, Director of Birla Institute of Management and Technology and Alternative President of EPSI, said PGDM institutions could quickly innovate and improve the quality of their programmes due to the autonomy enjoyed by them.

B-schools say AICTE's portal is creating hassles and customer service and responses from AICTE, too, aren't prompt. In 2010, then minister for human resource development Kapil Sibal had launched the portal to introduce transparency, accountability and efficiency in the decision-making process for B-schools.

Also, the term of the All India Board of Management Studies, formed by AICTE to look into B-school matters, has ended and a new board is yet to be announced. "The board was formed in November 2009 and its term ended in November 2012. There is no representation of private B-schools on the board. There are only two management professors; the rest are industry people or AICTE officials," said the dean of a B-school.

B-schools said they were not demanding de-regulation of management education, as that might encourage non-serious players to enter the sector. They said they wanted autonomy in deciding the curriculum and the fees. They added admissions should be based on merit and qualified faculty should be recruited. "PGDM institutions have been working smoothly for more than three decades. Some PGDM institutions existed even before the AICTE came into existence as a statutory body in 1989," said Chaturvedi.

AICTE Chairman Shankar S Mantha refuted all these claims. "I do not think any of the points raised by B-schools are true. AICTE is doing its best to improve the system. The basic mandate of AICTE is to look at the norms and standards being implemented by colleges, and that process would be done by AICTE. B-schools cannot dictate terms to AICTE on how it should function," he said.

Source: Business Standard, May 23, 2013

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