Poor response to Mechanical, Electrical and Civil engineering streams from students who moved to Computer Science related courses has led to severe shortage of qualified Computer Science teachers.
Colleges are finding it difficult to recruit new faculty members required for Computer Sciences. Several colleges have started a combination of courses with Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Data Science in a new stream format as the existing Computer Science Engineering (CSE) has a very high demand.
“Finding qualified teachers is a huge problem, given the shortage while good faculty are being poached at better salaries,” agrees the correspondent of an engineering college. All the seats of AI and ML stream are taken in his college but he is finding it extremely difficult to find teachers now.
Seat taken percentage
This year in Computer Science Engineering (CSE), 17,596 seats were filled out of 19,101 while in CSE – (AI & ML) 6,377 were filled out of 7,759. In Information Technology (IT), 4,872 seats were taken as against 5,350 seats. The seat taken percentage in all computer related courses is above 85%.
On the other hand, Electrical Engineering was opted by just 2,991 out of 7,142 available seats with 41.88% and Civil Engineering was chosen by 2,391 of the 6,243 seats registering 38.31%. Mechanical was the worst hit this year with just 28.18% seats filled and only 1,663 seats taken out of 5,902. So the obvious shift was towards Computer Sciences.
How did the colleges get permission for additional seats and new courses? An official explains that the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has been giving permission for new courses and additional intake based on what is uploaded on the college website rather than personal inspection. “It’s been three years since there is no inspection by the AICTE at all,” he said seeking anonymity.
In fact, when JNTU-Hyderabad (JNTU-H), the affiliating university, refused permission for additional intake in these courses, some colleges got a ‘favourable’ order from the High Court that questioned the varsity’s role when the AICTE had permitted them. However, the varsity moved the Supreme Court and got a stay on the order stating that JNTU-H had the right to affiliate after inspecting the facilities.
JNTU-H Vice Chancellor Katta Narsimha Reddy acknowledged the shortage and said that the varsity has allowed 1% of the staff to be engaged in inter-disciplinary courses to overcome the shortage. As per the first year syllabus, teachers from Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry should suffice. “From second year, they will study engineering subjects and if colleges fail to recruit Computer Science teachers, the courses will not be renewed,” he warned.
Director of National Institute of Technology (NIT) Warangal N.V. Ramana Rao advises colleges to send their staff for Faculty Development Programmes (FDP) being conducted by IITs and NITs to ensure they acquire the necessary skills. This is a rigorous programme aimed at strengthening the faculty skills in emerging tech areas but, teachers from Telugu States refrain from attending. A senior professor said colleges were unwilling to send their lecturers for FDPs as they fear poaching of these skilled teachers by other colleges offering better pay.
Telangana State Council of Higher Education (TSCHE) Vice-Chairman V. Venkataramana said that TSCHE has prepared a perspective plan to plug these gaps in academics. TSCHE can partner with top universities like NTU, Singapore, MIT, USA or the IITs in India to bridge this gap.
There are several online courses offered by top universities of the world and varsities can utilise these by offering some credits in these new areas of study. He reminds that IT Minister K.T. Rama Rao had declared 2019-20 as the year of Artificial Intelligence in Telangana acknowledging the growing role of AI.