IITB Central Library 2.0 Service

Sibal dumps quality tech education

Posted on: December 31, 2010

By Indiatoday
Education minister Kapil Sibal may have brought good cheer for technical and management aspirants by announcing an increase in the number of available seats in tehnical institutes by as much as 50 per cent, but his plans could result in compromising quality standards.

On Thursday, Sibal unveiled new norms revised by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for setting up technical, management and architecture institutes across the country.

The new norms, allowing for an increase in the number of institutes and seats in various courses, will come into effect immediately.

“Overall, we are trying to put in place incentives for the expansion of the education sector,” Sibal said, adding: “We have moved to the era of ‘ self-disclosure’ from the institutes as far as infrastructure and facilities are concerned.” The reforms include sharply raising the number of seats in each class from 40 to 60, which is expected to adversely impact the teacher-student ratio.

Under the new norms announced by Sibal, all institutions completing more than one batch will be eligible to get two courses and programmes.

One course would mean the addition of 60 students. The earlier ceiling, which did not permit any increase after an intake of 540 students, has now been removed.

All these steps envisage an increase in the number of total available seats by 50 per cent and a sharp increase in the workload of the faculty members.

The same teacher will now have to teach a larger group of students and check more assignments. This is certain to bring down the quality of teaching and oversight.

Devang V. Khakhar, director of IIT Bombay, said the expansion of the technical education sector was a welcome step but asserted that quality of these courses would depend primarily on the kind of teachers the institutes appoint.

“There is a need for easing tangles for professional institutions. More than buildings and the number of students, the quality of the courses offered depend on the kind of teachers appointed by such colleges,” Khakkar said.

The reforms also include relaxing land requirement for setting up institutions from 3.5 acres to 2.5 acres in urban areas and introducing section 25 of the Companies Act to allow ‘ good corporates’ to set up technical institutions. No joint ventures can apply for this.

Until recently, postgraduate programmes could be started only where an undergraduate programme existed. But now, the AICTE will permit standalone postgraduate institutions to be started.

The whole basis of the reforms is pinned on “e-governance” and “self disclosure”. However, the biggest anomaly is that if there are any violations by the institutes that offer courses on the basis of the new norms, there will be no way to check them. The procedure for monitoring and adjudication has not been put in place to deal with these situations.

The AICTE acknowledged that it could not be expected to scrutinise all the 10,300 courses offered at 8,000 technical and management institutes recognised by it.

“We are depending on the media to highlight any cases of wrongdoing on the part of the institutes. We are in an era of self disclosure. It is not possible for us to go ahead and check on these institutes,” said a senior AICTE official who did not want to be named.

Asserted an official of the ministry of human resource development, “In the event that any institute is found not to be complying with the details that it has declared on its website, it will have to be penalised.” However, the official could not explain how this would take place in the absence of the prerequisite laws.

The Educational Tribunals Bill is still in the pipeline and the Educational Malpractices bill is also pending before Parliament.

The technical and management institutes recognised by AICTE offer a variety of courses like engineering, management, architecture, hospitality, pharmacy and town planning.

Sibal insisted that the institutes concerned will be required to have adequate infrastructure and teachers in place. But, the situation on the ground is certain to make this difficult.

Premier technical and management institutes, like the IITs and the IIMs are finding it tough to fill in the vacancies in their faculty.

Nearly a third of the faculty positions are vacant in the IITs.

IIT Kharagpur leads the list with 299 vacancies followed by IIT Bombay with 222 vacancies, IIT Roorkee with 194 vacancies, IIT Madras with 138 vacancies and IIT Delhi with 78 vacancies.

There are 69 faculty vacancies at IIT Kanpur, 65 at IIT Guwahati and 48 faculty vacancies at IIT Ropad.

Explained Gautam Barua, director of IIT Guwahati, “This could have an implication on quality as practical classes are an important part of engineering courses. Not only are more labs needed but more equipment and facilities such as computers need to be in place. The class size also matters because eye contact with students is important for the teacher.” In management courses, while practicals might not be included, the course is based on interactive sessions which include group discussions. So space and class strength make a difference.

“When you are increasing the number of students, the infrastructure has to be adequately balanced,” said an IIT professor.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow on Tweeter

Photos Gallery

Social Book Marking

Google Scholar Search

Visitors to this site

Visitors hit counter

blog counter

%d bloggers like this: