AICTE may relax norms for self-financing colleges

The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will consider relaxing the academic and fees norms for self-financing engineering colleges, its chairman R.A. Yadav said on Sunday.

Jeppiaar, president of the Consortium of Self-financing Professional, Arts and Science Colleges in Tamil Nadu, presented a memorandum to Prof. Yadav, seeking a uniform fee structure for all engineering colleges throughout the country.

He also requested Prof. Yadav to relax the teacher-student ratio from 1:15 to 1:20.

Though self-financing colleges constituted 85 per cent of all engineering institutions in the country, Mr. Jeppiaar said, they were looked upon with mistrust by both the government and the people. And the AICTE norms on academic standards reflected this attitude.

As there was a severe shortage of qualified teachers in the country, it was almost impossible to maintain the present ratio of 1:15. Furthermore, he said, the AICTE had stipulated that the colleges have a minimum number of Ph.D professors on their rolls.

Prof. Yadav said due consideration would be given to the consortium’s requests. The AICTE, an expert-driven body, would go by the recommendations of the various committees set up to study these problems.

Even if the AICTE norms on the teacher-student ratio were ideal for the country’s long-term needs, he said he was willing to consider the demand for 1:20 for the near future.

As for the fee structure, he said the Supreme Court had ruled that State governments decide on appropriate fee structures. This was because of the inequities and regional imbalances in different parts of the country.

The financial viability of self-financing colleges, he said, was as much a concern for the AICTE as the ideal of sustainable and inclusive growth.

Prof. Yadav said engineering colleges were not using their infrastructure efficiently.

To promote effective utilisation, the AICTE was planning to allow polytechnics to be run in all engineering colleges in the second-shift after the daytime classes were over.

The AICTE chairman said he would ensure transparent and speedy processing of all matters concerning engineering education.

This year, proposals for starting 105 co-educational engineering colleges had been received by the AICTE from Tamil Nadu alone. Of these, 90 were cleared in the first stage, and Letters of Intent issued immediately.

For effective collaboration between the AICTE and engineering colleges, Prof. Yadav said he welcomed the participation of self-financing colleges in the council deliberations.

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