Tamil Nadu

Shortage of teaching faculty hits private engineering colleges

The absence of inspections by the AICTE and Anna University, in view of the prolonged impact of the pandemic, has emboldened a number of private engineering colleges to force their truncated strength of teaching faculty to handle subjects unrelated to their area of qualification.

Having eased out staff in substantial numbers over the last year, citing financial crunch due to the pandemic, managements of private engineering colleges have failed to restore the strength of their teaching staff ahead of the next academic year, since the need for handling practical classes does not arise in online education, a senior professor of Anna University said.

The decline in the quality of teachers is bound to reflect poorly on the National Board of Accreditation (NBA), which is a signatory to Washington Accord that implies recognition of accredited programmes by other signatories. The colleges are indeed in a fix, since going by the announcement made by the AICTE in 2019, approval will not be extended to programmes of technical institutes that fail to get a quality assurance certificate and accreditation from the NBA, a functionary of a private engineering college management in Tiruchi said.

Some engineering colleges are apparently in the process of appointing faculty for monthly salaries as low as ₹5,000, despite the AICTE specifying decent remuneration, a teacher of a private engineering college in Tiruchi said, requesting anonymity. Even “reputed” private engineering colleges do not pay more than ₹25,000 a month to teaching faculty, he said.

The Madras High Court had, based on a petition filed by K.M. Karthik, a Tiruchi-based activist, directed the AICTE to file a detailed report on fixing minimum wage for teachers of private institutions. But college managements say they have not received any communication on salaries for teaching faculty from the AICTE.

As has been the case over the last decade, most private engineering colleges are dependent on consultancy firms or brokers for enrolling students at least to the extent of sustaining the program. With the government permitting colleges to collect 75% fees initially, existing teachers fervently hope that the managements will pay their salaries on time. They stress the need for the AICTE to play a pro-active role in ensuring the adequacy of teaching strength and sufficient salary.

“The decline in student strength in colleges is a cause for the grim situation. Nevertheless, the managements will have to pay the teachers reasonable salaries on their own volition,” M. Chidambaram, former director of NIT-Tiruchi, said.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 5:05:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/shortage-of-teaching-faculty-hits-private-engineering-colleges/article35712029.ece

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