Action against engineering colleges performing poorly remains only on paper almost a year after the Kerala High Court observed that such institutions should be closed down.
Ten colleges affiliated to the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) had come under the scanner for not even bagging a pass percentage of 40 for three years consecutively beginning from 2009. When the final year B.Tech. results were announced last year, the situation slightly improved but three colleges still figured under the below 41 percentage list. An engineering college based in Thiruvananthapuram could not even register a pass percentage of 35 last year. The situation this year was no different, with two colleges coming under the below 40 percentage category.
Senior officials of the university said on condition of anonymity that the Syndicate, which is the highest decision making body, has never recommended that the affiliation of the poor performing engineering colleges should be revoked. The majority of the colleges had not even received a stringent directive till date saying that their affiliation would not be renewed for the declining academic performance.
Interestingly, the affiliated colleges continue to be a major source of revenue for the cash-strapped university, often forcing the authorities to go slow on measures to check erosion of standards. A Syndicate member pointed out that an engineering college need to pay Rs. 10 lakh per year as institution recognition fee. The colleges also have to remit Rs. 1,000 per student a semester as student recognition fee. Rough estimates put this entire collection to about Rs. 3 crore a year.
The university’s existing quality controlling mechanism is also weak. A Syndicate inspection committee files a report every year after visiting the colleges. Even though the team recommends steps to improve quality, there is little follow-up or any serious action against poor performing engineering colleges.
Recalling a recent incident, a senior university official said that a sub-committee of the Syndicate had recommended that the affiliation of a college under the Institute of Human Resource Development should be revoked, as the authorities failed to implement measures to improve the academic performance. But the Syndicate later diluted the recommendation and finally decided to provide more time to the college to scale up its standards.