AICTE processing 104 applications from trusts, societies

Despite several thousands of seats falling vacant in engineering courses in Tamil Nadu in the last academic year, the State's educational entrepreneurs have not lost their zest for starting new engineering colleges.

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) officials say they are processing 104 applications from trusts and societies for starting technical institutions, including over 50 applications for engineering colleges.

The State has 502 engineering colleges and 22 schools or institutes of architecture for which admissions are through a single window system of counselling under Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions (TNEA).

Of the two lakh and more seats available under both government and management quota in engineering education, 42,000 fell vacant under the government quota and about 25,000 under management quota last year, say Anna University officials.

Last year, there were nearly 140 applications to start technical institutions but most of them were rejected initially for failing to obtain building certificates from the Directorate of Town and Country Planning (DTCP). Permission was granted to colleges in phases and the process continued even in the final stages of counselling.

“This year, the AICTE plans to complete the process of approval by April 30,” says an official here. The filing of online applications for academic year 2012-13 was closed by December 2011 and the processing of online applications with respect to all approvals for existing and new institutions would be over by March 31.

After the verification of documents submitted by the trusts and societies, the AICTE Southern Regional Office here has forwarded the applications to the headquarters in New Delhi for further scrutiny after which inspection teams will be dispatched to verify the claims of the applicants in all aspects.

“If the approvals for new engineering colleges are issued early by the AICTE, it will be easier for students and parents to personally visit the campuses and check the infrastructure and faculty qualifications,” says Rhymend Uthariaraj, secretary, TNEA. Last year, some colleges could not be included into the admission process as it was too late.

The AICTE is thinking of freezing the number of engineering institutions from 2014 as States like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have breached the 500 mark. In the past five years, 40 to 50 new engineering colleges are being set up each year in the State. “We have written to the Tamil Nadu government seeking its opinion on the necessity for new colleges,” says a senior AICTE official.

The previous Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) government had written to the AICTE not to approve new engineering colleges from academic year 2011-12 but the apex body for technical education continued to grant approvals (in the initial months of the AIADMK regime), pushing it past 500.

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