AICTE has served show-cause notices to 71 institutions in Tamil Nadu for various deficiencies, the major one being faculty shortage

Of the 324 technical and management institutes issued show-cause notices in the country, Tamil Nadu tops the list with 71 institutions.

In an interview to The Hindu Education Plus, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) chairman S.S. Mantha said issuing show-cause notices to colleges should not be viewed as a punitive measure but rather as an exercise to understand the deficiencies and bring about corrective measures and that this was the right step towards improving quality in higher education institutions.

The AICTE had issued show-cause notices to institutions offering engineering, MBA, MCA and polytechnic courses, after surprise inspections in May. Tamil Nadu topped the list with the AICTE sending show-cause notices to 71 technical and management institutions for various academic, infrastructural and administrative deficiencies.

Show-cause notices were issued based on two processes, one after reviewing the institution on receipt of complaints or PIL, and the other after surprise visits by AICTE officials.

“Institutions have been reviewed and show-cause notices issued to as many as 324. The process is still on. The colleges are being allowed to appeal. So it is too early to say what will be the outcome of the reviews. Last year the AICTE issued withdrawal notice to 30 institutions and some were also asked to reduce their intake,” Mr. Mantha said.

In Tamil Nadu, 140 institutions were served show-cause notices last year and four were debarred from admitting students.

Asked what was the major deficiency that the AICTE had noticed so far from the surprise visits made, he said it was shortage of faculty. Since the quality of faculty was the major determining factor in the quality of education, Mr. Mantha said this was a serious factor to be taken into consideration.

“Many of the institutions are not paying the University Grants Commission pay scales according to the Sixth Central Pay Commission norms. Interventions have to be made to address this basic problem. Most of the colleges have adequate infrastructure. So, this is not made out to be a major deficiency,” he said.

Student intake

Another major area of concern was the quality of intake of students. Since the “access to higher education is so large, many students from vernacular background get admitted to technical courses.”

Pointing out that the role of AICTE in addressing this problem was insignificant, he stressed that since the curriculum was within the framework of universities, they had to come up with viable solutions to address this chunk of students. They should also be provided additional coaching, he said.

Explaining the role of the States in improving higher education, Mr. Mantha said the States should ensure that institutions were given permanent locations to put up base. The AICTE had written to the State Governments to do a review of the education status in their respective States and give a review report within a year’s time to enable the council decide on approving additional colleges from 2014.

On affiliation, he said affiliation as such was not bad, but what could be done within the ambit of affiliation should be critically decided. When it came to large number of affiliations, he said that in that case the university would only be concerned in conducting examinations and declaring results. “With 600 or 700 affiliations what can you expect ?” he queried. “There is an optimal number which a university can handle and this should be preserved,” he added.

With regard to improving and sustaining quality, Mr. Mantha said the observations made from colleges through the surprise visits would be consolidated to find out where the colleges lacked. “We will try to understand what is ailing the system and then bring in methodologies to improve it. The AICTE is allotting more money for schemes for the colleges as well as polytechnics to bring in improvements,” he said.

[The list of institutions issued show-cause notices could be found at http://www.aicte-india.org/

downloads/Schedule_

Date_&_Time_Institutes_

SCC_300512.pdf]