MISCELLANEOUS

AICTE to reduce intake in technical institutes

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The general council of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on Monday ratified its week-old decision to reduce the sanctioned intake in technical institutes across the country by over 38,000 for the coming academic year. Also, the Union Human Resource Development Minister, Arjun Singh, impressed upon the Council to stick to the mid-course correction it had embarked upon after its "murky recent past.''

Addressing the first meeting of the reconstituted general council, Mr. Singh said AICTE must carry out its twin mandate of regulator and facilitator to help the country achieve its rightful status in the new globalised world. According to him, short-cuts adopted by AICTE in the recent past to meet the growing demand for professional education had led to distortions and at times even corruption.

At the meeting, there was a general acknowledgment that the indiscriminate opening of colleges over the past four years had eroded the credibility of AICTE and eroded public confidence in it. While the reduction of sanctioned intake is a bid at course correction, it is also being seen as a clear signal of AICTE moving from a "control mode'' to a "facilitator mode'' as none of the colleges — which had been found wanting on various counts — had been asked to shut down.

The Council sought to portray its decision to cut down the sanctioned intake as a "wake-up'' call to institutions to pull up their socks. The decision was taken in response to complaints from students and parents about the poor quality of education being provided in many of the professional colleges that had opened between 2000 and 2004.

Over these last four years, in the engineering stream itself the number of institutions had nearly doubled from 776 in 2000 to 1,343 in 2004. And, the number of students went up from 1.87 lakh to 4.77 lakh over the same period. But in the absence of quality control, the last academic year saw as many as 90,000 seats remaining vacant in engineering courses.

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