Engineering schools: The big churn – The Big Story News

In 2014-15, engineering establishments accepted by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) had round 3.2 million seats on supply—the best ever. From that peak, the entire variety of seats for undergraduate, postgraduate and diploma programs has been plummeting, right down to a decadal low of round 2.32 million in 2020-21. To AICTE chairman Anil Dattatraya Sahasrabudhe, the disaster in engineering training within the nation can be a possibility. “The variety of engineering establishments had grown exponentially, resulting in over-capability and a excessive variety of vacant seats. The latest pattern of engineering schools shutting down or lowering seats will result in consolidation and guarantee sustained high quality within the years to come back,” says Sahasrabudhe, now in his seventh yr as India’s technical training regulator.

In 2014-15, engineering establishments accepted by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) had round 3.2 million seats on supply—the best ever. From that peak, the entire variety of seats for undergraduate, postgraduate and diploma programs has been plummeting, right down to a decadal low of round 2.32 million in 2020-21. To AICTE chairman Anil Dattatraya Sahasrabudhe, the disaster in engineering training within the nation can be a possibility. “The variety of engineering establishments had grown exponentially, resulting in over-capability and a excessive variety of vacant seats. The latest pattern of engineering schools shutting down or lowering seats will result in consolidation and guarantee sustained high quality within the years to come back,” says Sahasrabudhe, now in his seventh yr as India’s technical training regulator.

Source: AICTE

In 2019-20, the AICTE accepted 153 new engineering establishments whereas closing down 53 others. Even earlier than the Covid-induced disruption in 2020-21, no less than 50 engineering schools have shut store every educational yr since 2015-16. This yr, 63 schools have gotten the AICTE’s nod to cease operations (see Open and Shut). The closure of those schools and diminished intakes of scholars will decrease the variety of seats by 146,000.

In 2020, the AICTE determined that no new engineering schools can be permitted until 2022 and the creation of latest capability can be reviewed each two years. This was in line with the suggestions of a authorities committee headed by B.V.R. Mohan Reddy, chairman of the Board of Governors of IIT-Hyderabad. The panel additionally advised that institutes take into account changing seats in conventional engineering streams, corresponding to mechanical, electrical, civil and electronics, to rising applied sciences. Now, the AICTE is giving clearance for brand spanking new engineering schools solely in rising disciplines or these arising within the backward areas. It has permitted states to introduce BTech programs in “extremely employable vocational disciplines”.

Engineering, by one estimate, accounts for round 80 per cent of technical training seats in India, however has had fewer takers through the years. The variety of engineering seats has diminished by 563,000 since 2019. Of these, 98,476 seats have been cancelled by the AICTE and the rest by the universities themselves after making an allowance for the present vacant seats and the anticipated fall in demand sooner or later. The complete accepted scholar consumption has fallen from 1.54 million (in 3,363 establishments) in 2012-13 to 1.28 million (in 2,978 establishments) in 2020-21. The complete enrolment in 2020-21 stood at 706,533 (see Fading Charm).

Sahasrabudhe says the AICTE is targeted on stemming the slide within the high quality of engineering training and enhancing the employability of graduates. A 2019 research by Aspiring Minds, an employability evaluation agency, advised that round 80 per cent of Indian engineering graduates have been unfit for jobs within the information economic system. Sahasrabudhe cites a number of causes for this: regulatory gaps which have allowed corruption to facilitate the bypassing of qualification norms for recognition and accreditation of schools, for instance; infrastructure gaps in establishments; poor high quality of academics and lack of trade linkages. The AICTE is battling these points via examination reforms, obligatory internships and induction programmes for college kids, steady revision of the curriculum and coaching of academics.

Challenges for schools

Engineering schools face their very own set of challenges. They are quick realising that college students are shedding curiosity within the conventional engineering topics. At the identical time, new norms and a tighter vigil by the AICTE have meant that many schools are unable to launch in-demand programs, corresponding to in machine studying and synthetic intelligence (AI). “The digital world has created an amazing demand for expert people in knowledge science, AI and machine studying. But we’re unable to cater to their wants because the AICTE determined in opposition to permitting new programs in schools that might not fill 50 per cent of their seats within the final educational yr,” says P. Selvaraj, secretary, Consortium of Self-Financing Professional, Arts and Science Colleges in Tamil Nadu. The state has 554 engineering schools.

The high quality of engineering training additionally suffered because the mushrooming schools didn’t rent correctly skilled and effectively-paid college. The pandemic prompted many personal schools to put off academics, and their topics have been handed on to the remaining college members even when they lacked the requisite qualification. Few engineering managements are keen to rehire academics forward of the brand new educational yr, beginning October 1, since on-line training has largely accomplished away with the necessity for sensible lessons.

College managements really feel the AICTE’s new lateral entry norms will solely trigger confusion and have dangerous penalties for college kids

The AICTE has warned engineering schools of punitive motion if they don’t cease the sackings and ramp up college power. It has requested schools to not insist on cost of your entire yr’s charges at one go in the course of the pandemic and accumulate it from college students in three or 4 equal instalments until the time normalcy is restored. It has additionally really helpful that establishments permit college students from close by schools, with out web bandwidth, to entry their services. Attendance rules may be relaxed in mild of the Covid lockdowns and poor web availability within the distant areas.

Row over lateral entry

Drastic conditions name for drastic measures—a latest round from the AICTE requested schools to permit college students with BE/ BTech levels lateral entry right into a BE/ BTech diploma in one other engineering self-discipline. It is a second diploma for engineering graduates who need to swap their core disciplines. The council says college students might full the extra diploma in two or three years “with out compromising on the credit score necessities within the core self-discipline and attainment of studying outcomes of the brand new programme”. Universities have been suggested to introduce mandatory provisions of their statutes.

College managements, although, are sceptical. They really feel lateral entry is a recipe for confusion and won’t profit college students. Some marvel if the choice is meant to replenish vacant seats in schools. “It’s a wierd coverage. Why would somebody take a double BTech diploma? The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 gives for making BTech interdisciplinary. Instead of permitting two engineering levels on the undergraduate stage, which can result in artificially hyped demand, the present undergraduate levels ought to be made extra interdisciplinary, and complete postgraduate programmes, corresponding to in techniques evaluation & design, ought to be inspired,” feels S. Vaidhyasubramaniam, vice-chancellor, SASTRA Deemed University, Thanjavur.

Sahasrabudhe says there was a requirement amongst college students for pursuing engineering levels in a further self-discipline, however universities didn’t have the mandatory provisions. “The variety of such college students will not be very excessive, however why flip them away?” he argues, stating that mechanical engineering graduates have been thinking about electrical or laptop science engineering and metallurgy graduates eager on mechanical engineering.

Vaidhyasubramaniam suggests introducing a generic postgraduate engineering diploma that’s undergraduate-impartial, corresponding to in techniques design and administration, undertaking administration or enterprise intelligence. This, he feels, will supply higher profession prospects given how companies are evolving. Besides, given the shorter two-yr time interval for the second diploma (an MTech course), it is going to add extra worth than a second BTech diploma.

With know-how evolving quick, corporations favour engineers with multidisciplinary expertise. “Robotics and automation are a mix of mechanical, electrical, electronics and laptop science engineering. The web of issues is each {hardware} and software program. Digital manufacturing entails mechanical, electronics and computing information whereas 3D printing is more and more being utilized in medication,” says Ok. Manivannan, director, trade and academia relations, Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation, a deemed-to-be college in Salem, TN. Citing an instance, he provides: “ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) has referred to as for proposals on administration and evaluation of Covid-19 testing knowledge of 480 million people by September 10. There is a necessity for professionals to combine the info and do predictive evaluation and forecast, all of which requires the usage of AI and knowledge intelligence. Skills from throughout verticals must be integrated to supply an answer.”

Dual function

Sahasrabudhe is obvious that engineering training wants a change whether it is to remain trade-related and generate jobs. “The AICTE’s efforts previously six years have been to play the function of each a regulator and facilitator,” he says. One of the focal areas is periodic revision of the curriculum. “To create a sturdy educational system, the AICTE has been getting ready a mannequin curriculum each three to 4 years by taking inputs from each establishments of nationwide significance and trade. At the identical time, universities have the autonomy to make selections relying on area-particular components. In many programs, curriculum revision must be an annual course of,” says Sahasrabudhe.

Conforming to NEP 2020, the AICTE is prioritising the duty of facilitating engineering programs in regional languages. It has created an AI device for translating course materials into 12 languages. “The transfer empowers those that did their college training in a single or the opposite of those regional languages. It has been established worldwide that those that be taught of their mom tongue have a greater considering course of and assimilate sooner,” says Sahasrabudhe.

From the 2021-22 session, 13 schools will start providing mechanical, civil, laptop science and IT engineering programs in Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Hindi. The technical phrases will stay in English. Teachers, translators and textbooks can be required for the train. In February, a pan-India survey by the AICTE amongst 83,000 engineering college students discovered 44 per cent preferring their mom tongue because the medium of studying, with Tamil topping the checklist. The survey was restricted to schools accepted by the council.

The AICTE has been making an attempt to widen college students’ trade publicity via internships, making them obligatory in all engineering schools beneath its purview. An AI-based mostly internship platform arrange by the council hyperlinks college students with corporations providing internships. “With such interventions and internships step by step changing into in style amongst college students and corporations, it wouldn’t be bold to estimate that 200,000-300,000 new jobs can be created yearly,” says B.V.R. Mohan Reddy, who can be founder and govt chairman of know-how agency Cyient. “Barely 300,000 engineering college students handle to get first rate jobs yearly. Internships have the potential to nearly double that determine. And the numbers will solely continue to grow.”

Internships are additionally anticipated to assist bridge the abilities hole. The 2019 employability survey by Aspiring Minds discovered that 95 per cent of Indian engineers couldn’t code appropriately. This is especially worrying since an enormous chunk of them work within the IT sector.

Perhaps the most important problem for AICTE is to transcend the piecemeal options it has relied upon previously to enhance engineering training within the brief and medium time period. Companies now need engineering researchers and graduates with a capability to know complicated technological processes and supply options. It is crucial, then, that engineering training in India aligns with this world pattern. As former AICTE chairman S.S. Mantha says, “To obtain this, we want a very autonomous high quality assurance physique that retains the federal government at an arm’s size and is manned by eminent individuals from trade and academia. As the nation transforms right into a digital economic system, the long run is unsure and one is more likely to encounter setbacks irrespective of how a lot one prepares or plans.” The proper coaching will assist.

2021-09-10 21:00:43

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