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Don’t get alarmed. Because actual enrolment has been on the decline since 2012-13, coming down by 1.86 lakh.
According to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), nearly 200 ‘substandard’ engineering colleges have applied for closure. Though these colleges will not enrol new students, they will continue to function till the current batches graduate. However, for elite institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) or the National Institutes of Technology (NIT), there has been increase in intake.
Now, AICTE has also decided that by 2022, at least 50 per cent of all the programmes in technical institutions have to get their accreditation from the National Board of Accreditation (NBA). At present, around 10 per cent of the programmes are accredited in India.
Since 2016, the number of engineering seats has been on the decline every year. According to AICTE, it is around 75,000 annually. In 2016-17, total intake capacity at undergraduate level was 15,71,220, of which total enrolment was 7,87,127, which is just around 50.1 per cent. In 2015-16, total intake was 16,47,155, of which enrolment was 8,60,357, which was 52.2 per cent.
“This year too there will be round 80,000 seats less. Around 200 colleges have applied for closure as they were having very low admissions in the recent past,” said Anil Sahasrabudhe, chairperson, AICTE.
The closure of the engineering colleges will, however, not impact the current batches as the colleges would continue to function till the already-enrolled students complete their courses. “The colleges will continue to function till the current batches graduate. However, these colleges will not enrol new students from this year. So, effectively, these colleges will seize to function as engineering institutions from about three-four years from now,” said Sahasrabudhe.
While the intake capacity decline started since 2014-15, enrolment has been on the decline since 2012-13, reaching 7.87 lakh in 2016-17 from that of 9.73 lakh in 2012-13.
Based on 2016-17 AICTE data, in India there are 3,415 institutions which offer architecture and engineering courses at undergraduate level. During this period, around 50 institutions had closed down.
The decline in seats won’t affect the demand-supply equation for engineering and architecture programmes, as per AICTE and ministry of human resource development (HRD). According to a senior HRD official, majority of the institutions which are going to face closure or have applied for closure have less than 20 per cent enrolment in last three years. “Many of those, in fact, recorded nil admissions. So, even the aspirants don’t prefer these institutions as they are substandard. On the other hand, IITs and NITs have increased their seats and there will be more opportunities here as the new IITs shift to their own campuses. Right now, they are functioning with 300-400 capacity,” the official said.
Many institutions that will continue to function may need to cut down on the number of courses they offer as majority of the programmes offered are yet to be accredited.
“Just around 15 per cent of engineering programmes offered in the country are accredited by the NBA. AICTE, as part of its various quality initiatives, has decided that by 2022, majority of the courses will have to be accredited by NBA,” said Sahasrabudhe.