"Poor quality engineering colleges is not Kerala’s unique problem. The situation is similar in Tamil Nadu and in Andhra Pradesh" said educationist R.V.G. Menon
The government should pass immediate orders mandating that only those who pass the GATE examination would be eligible to teach in engineering colleges in Kerala, chairman of the High Court-appointed committee on engineering N. Vijayakumar has said.
He was reacting to the observations of the High Court of Kerala recently on closing down poor-performance engineering colleges in the State. The observations were based on the report submitted by the Vijayakumar committee.
Quality of teaching
He told The Hindu here that while there cannot be any two opinions about the need to substantially raise the quality of teaching and learning in engineering colleges, it may not be practical to immediately close down poor-performance institutions as it would jeopardise the future of students studying there. Also, it may not be possible to accommodate students in such colleges in nearby institutions. Improving quality cannot be done overnight. A beginning can be made by insisting on the GATE as a NET-like qualification for teachers in engineering colleges, he said. Things in Kerala have come to such a pass that even a candidate who gets, say, a rank of 35,000 in the entrance examination is able to gain admission to an engineering college. The court’s observations on this issue have not come a day too soon, he added.
Tough action needed
Reacting to the court’s observations, educationist R.V.G. Menon said the government should act tough on the quality front by declaring that it would not from next year allot students to colleges that do not have a particular pass percentage.
“Poor quality engineering colleges is not Kerala’s unique problem. The situation is similar in Tamil Nadu and in Andhra Pradesh. It is time we raised the cut-off percentage in the qualifying examination from 50 to 60. Also, we need to immediately raise the cut-off level in the entrance examination from the present 10 marks,” he said.
The Higher Education Council should initiate a study on the academic and other background of students who fail to clear the B.Tech programme, he added.
Engineering colleges alone cannot in any way be blamed for their poor academic performance, national president of the Federation of Associations of Unaided Professional Colleges in India G.P.C. Nayar told The Hindu.
The quality of students they get is also vital. And that quality — the standards of a 12-year-long education process — is to be ensured by the government, he argued.
“If a 40 per cent pass percentage is insisted upon for continued functioning, then about 90 engineering colleges would have to be closed down.
“More than a lakh students would be thrown out of the B.Tech stream. All the same, I firmly hold that engineering colleges should do everything they can to substantially improve their standards. Only, do not put all the blame on them and force them to suddenly close down. That would be totally illogical,” Mr. Nayar added.