R. Ravikanth Reddy

It was aimed at inter-linking the colleges through electronic classrooms

Committee set up to revive the project has not met even once

HYDERABAD: Like the falling engineering education standards in the State, a project that envisaged improvement of technical education is in doldrums, thanks to official apathy and equally unconcerned engineering college managements.

The Society for Networking for Excellence in Technical Education (SONET) launched a few years back to tide over the shortage of quality faculty in the burgeoning number of engineering colleges is now direction less and literally with no work worth mentioning. The project, formed with a corpus fund of Rs. 10 crore and colleges paying Rs. 5 lakhs to Rs. 10 lakhs depending on the strength of students, aimed at inter-linking all the engineering colleges through electronic classrooms. It was proposed to record the lectures of experts in various subjects of engineering and air them to all the colleges. Nearly 250 colleges were part of it.

In fact, nearly 500 hours of lectures were also recorded. But in the last four years not much was done in this direction despite the growth of engineering colleges on a record scale and huge shortage of faculty.

“Every meeting on technical education discusses shortage of faculty and more so quality faculty. But no effort was made to address the issue genuinely,” says a teacher earlier involved with the process. The fault apparently also lies with the colleges that refused to be a part of the project paying a few lakhs every year. In fact, some approached the courts and many others did not even bother.

Rajeshwar Reddy, representative of private engineering colleges association blames the colleges as well as the officials. “It would have solved quality and shortage issue if some sincere efforts were put in involving a more dynamic economic model,” he said. He argues that the Government could create corpus fund from the enormous funds generated through the conduct of EAMCET and colleges could supplement further. He proposed this idea to the SONET committee consisting of K.C. Reddy, APSCHE Chairman and Principal Secretary, Higher Education Asutosh Mishra, that met six month ago. They only talked about reviving SONET and in fact constituted a revival committee that has not met even once. Dr. Reddy says colleges would respond if the government revives SONET and gives it some shape. “The AICTE can also be involved since it operates a similar project involving national level technical institutions,” he says. Interestingly, SONET office is still paying rent for the premises despite being non-functional.