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Too many engineering colleges, too few students: MP govt decides to act

Faced with a problem of plenty and no admissions in engineering colleges in Madhya Pradesh, the state government has written to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to not give permission for more engineering colleges.

Madhya Pradesh has 215 engineering colleges with 1,01,535 students; over 58 per cent seats go vacant due to non-availability of students annually. In all, the engineering colleges in the state have over 98,000 seats vacant annually and several colleges are opting for closure.

Since a huge number of seats are already lying vacant with massive infrastructure of the engineering colleges going waste, the department of technical education has decided against opening new engineering colleges. The director of the department of technical education has written a letter to AICTE, which gives permission to new engineering colleges, that fresh permission to new colleges should not be given.

While the decision of the state government in not allowing new engineering colleges has been welcomed by the existing college owners, a former president of the Technical Teachers Training Institute of India, a government-run body, Shailendra Sharma, said a blanket ban on new colleges is not good.

He said those institutions that are very good should be allowed to come up as the quality institutes cannot be stopped from starting new ventures. He expressed concern over the growth of mushrooming private universities. Sharma said, “Quality and excellence in education can only develop through competition; we should not curb competition.”

Due to lack of admissions, dozens of engineering colleges in Madhya Pradesh closed last year as very few students took admission in bachelors courses in branches like computer, electronics, mechanical, and civil. Out of 215 colleges in the state, over a dozen colleges could not even get a single admission.

There were some 14 colleges, which could not get even a single student while 200 branches of various streams across 50 colleges had no takers. There are colleges where just two to eight students have taken admission. With just a few, or no, students, these colleges face the imminent decision of closure, leading to loss of jobs for scores of teachers and employees.

However, education experts and counsellors believe that poor quality of educational infrastructure and low demand of engineers from industry have led to this situation. Out of the total students who passed out from engineering colleges, just 15 per cent got jobs.

The poor quality of education and students over the years has diminished the image of engineering education in Madhya Pradesh. Out of 70 engineering colleges in Bhopal, just three colleges could fill hundred per cent seats.

Akhilesh Upadhyaya, a social activist, said, “There is a general apathy among well-to-do students of the state against the local colleges. Most of them migrate to big cities and southern states for engineering education as it helps them find jobs easily.”

He said, “Most of the engineering colleges in the state are running on the scholarship schemes of the state government for scheduled caste, scheduled tribes and OBC students. Hence, except for a few, they have not improved on the quality to attract genuine career-minded students.”

Madhya Pradesh is among the top six states of country with over 200 engineering colleges. Tamil Nadu has 527 engineering colleges, followed by Maharashtra (372), Andhra Pradesh (328), Uttar Pradesh (296), Telangana (284) and Karnataka (192).