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AICTE moots engineering college clusters

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Damodar Acharya
Damodar Acharya

K. Ramachandran

Chairman's proposal to address problems of infrastructure, teacher shortage

  • One colleges to be designated as nodal institution
  • Nodal centre could offer post-graduate education
  • At the nodal centre, teachers can take course work and go back to their colleges for project work

    CHENNAI: The All India Council for Technical Education is thinking in terms of letting engineering colleges in each region to form clusters. One of the colleges could then be designated as a nodal institution. The cluster colleges could invest money and send expert faculty to the nodal centre to train fresh teachers.

    Such an effort would address the problems of infrastructure and teacher shortage in engineering colleges, says AICTE Chairman Prof. Damodar Acharya.

    Explaining the AICTE's thinking, Prof. Acharya, told The Hindu here on Friday that the Council was aware of the situation where the number of colleges had grown and there was a faculty shortage. Even the available faculty was not adequately qualified 50 per cent of them were mere B.E graduates.

    "Most of the colleges, rightly or wrongly, are in private hands. We cannot expect the private colleges to release their faculty over months or years to get additional qualifications... We will now ask 15 to 20 colleges in an area, say Coimbatore or Chennai, to form a cluster. One of the colleges could be a nodal centre, which can provide teacher training and upgradation," he said.

    "The nodal centre can do two types of training. One, train fresh teachers in lesson preparation, conduct of classes, classroom interaction, tests, etc. Secondly, we can take subject experts from different colleges, pool their expertise to improve teaching and thus raise education standards within the clusters," said Dr. Acharya, who was in Chennai to participate in an international conference on engineering education.

    PG education

    The nodal centre could offer post-graduate education where teachers from the cluster can take the course work and go back to their own colleges for project work. By taking the experts in each cluster, "we can also create a national list of teachers or subject experts."

    Individual colleges could lend the services of teachers even for a week or so to train themselves in modules offered by the subject experts. This way, "we can cover the entire country without the teachers having to stay away for long from their colleges," he added.

    Infrastructure

    The AICTE Chairman said the colleges could invest a few lakhs of rupees each in the nodal centre to create centralised infrastructure and teacher training facilities. Dr. Acharya noted that corporate recruiters had not been visiting all the colleges within a given region.

    The proposed nodal centre could serve as a platform to offer a large number of students to such recruiters.

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