The governing body for technical institutes, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has now decided to allow industries and businesses with a Rs. 100 crore turnover to set up technical institutions of their own.
The council has already received applications from companies such as BHEL, BSNL and Bharat Forge, and it expects the list to grow in the next few days.
Such institutions will be allowed to admit double the number of students allowed at regular institutions, and will be able to start a single branch or a theme institute of their choice, according to the AICTE’s notification inviting applications to start new institutes for the 2013-14 academic year.
The measure is an attempt is to bridge the gap between technical education institutes and the expectations of those who employ their graduates, said AICTE chairman S.S. Mantha. “The low employability of recruits has always been a concern. We are now asking companies to set up training centres, employ their own teachers and train students in the latest technologies,” he said.
Many agri-based companies have also come forward to set up institutions. Such institutions can teach any technical discipline, including engineering, pharmacy, architecture and town planning, applied arts and crafts, and hotel management and catering technology. They can offer undergraduate or postgraduate or even diploma courses.
“Students in these centres can have access to a company’s infrastructure and will also learn to imbibe the best practices of the industry,” said Mr. Mantha.
He further explained that companies would be allowed to set up training centres only in the areas of their specialisation. For instance, BSNL will be able to train students on the telecom sector and then employ them.
The fee structure will be decided by the company and they might be allowed to take in around 600 students a year.
While most company heads have welcomed the move since it attempts to reduce training costs at their end and customise entry-level training as per their needs, heads of engineering institutions have a very different take on this.
Some experts say that with this measure, engineering colleges are now likely to face a lot of competition.
S. Vaidhyasubramaniam, Dean (planning & development), Sastra University said, “India needs industry participation in the two extremes of the educational value chain – research and skill development, but certainly not at the middle level where engineering colleges are placed. Advanced economies encourage these two aspects. Contrary to this, AICTE's recent announcement will do more harm than good.”