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Technical Institutes Push for a Regulator

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With the Apex court’s rule rendering AICTE to be an advisory body and not regulator, many technical institutes of the country agree on the need to be regulated

All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE) – the apex regulatory authority for technical education in the country is now merely an advisory body. The Supreme Court, on April 25, 2013 ruled that AICTE will not have the authority to control or regulate the university affiliated professional and technical colleges of the country.
The judgment has left most institutes across the country to function without any supervisor and might lead to disarray in their functioning soon.
Most institutes in the country agree that there should be a regulatory body in place to put a framework in place and to ensure that institutes under its supervision adhere to the rules and regulations set by it.
“The decision of restricting the influence of AICTE as a regulator is definitely going to hamper the quality of technical education in the country. Before diluting the regulatory powers of an existing body, the ministry should have put up an alternative option in place. It is very important to have a regulator who can control and decide on fee fixation and quality,” said Prateek Sanghvi, Vice President, Sanghvi Institute of Management and Science, Indore.
As per reports from the ministry,“The Higher Education and Research (HE&R) Bill, 2011 intended to create the National Commission for Higher Education & Research (NCHER) for determination, coordination, maintenance and continued enhancement of standards of higher education and research.”
This commission would comprise of members from existing regulatory bodies like University Grants Commission (UGC) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), setting aside regulatory bodies in the fields of medicine and law, with the power to put in place regulations for medical education and legal education.
A Press Information Bureau report in March 2013 mentioned that despite a general consensus on the need to establish an overarching regulatory body at the top, the setting up of the NCHER was specifically opposed by the State Governments of Bihar, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
As Prateek Sanghvi pointed out, “with the NCHER still on papers, the ministry should not have dissolved AICTE’s power to ensure authenticity of technical education was intact”
AICTE was the affiliating body to nearly 12,000 institutes across the country offering technical education. But, now, with the apex court judgment, around 1, 000 institutes come under the supervision of the council. It also regulated the number of institutes being opened up across the country and approved the number of seats to be offered by these institutes.
“Some regulatory body should be there to supervise. It is good for the institution’s management. Compilation of performance based data should be done timely. A regulator ensures that a goal is set and all institutions work towards that end result. Also, a regulator checks on the number of institutes and the locations in which they are being opened up,” said Dr Rupesh P Vasani, Principal, SAL Institute of Technology & Engineering Research, Ahmedabad.
AICTE ensured a reporting mechanism of an institute’s performance through a format of mandatory disclosures. This procedure of declaring achievements by any institution was applicable to all management and technical institutions in the country.
However, some institutes opine that despite of AICTE being in place, “The mushroom growth of unauthorised Bschools led to price war with absolute dilution of standards. A strict vigil is required in checking them and to ensure their closure both to help gullible students and undeserving faculty,” said Prof Dr V G Chari, Associate Vice President, Siva Sivani Institute of Management, Secunderabad. He added that approved management institutes should be provided more autonomy in terms of their geographical expansion including global affiliations. Joint programs and dual programs in collaboration with foreign B-schools/ universities should be given importance to nurture global ambitions of students. Similarly, Dr Rupesh Vasani also suggests that AICTE may act as a regulator, but fixing the curriculum should be there in the hands of the institutes. “The institutes understand the need of a particular course in their own state. For instance, shipping course is important in Gujarat, but we have not been able to offer it as there is no such AICTE approved course in place.”


Before diluting the regulatory powers of an existing body, the ministry should have put up analternative option in place

Prateek Sanghvi,
Vice President, Sanghvi
Institute of Management, Indore

The Higher Education and Research (HE&R) Bill, 2011 intendes to create the National Commission for Higher Education & Research (NCHER) for determination, coordination, maintenance and continued enhancement of standards of higher education and research



AICTE had done a reasonably good job of spreading higher and technical  education across the country

Chetan S Wakalkar,
Group Director, Indira Group of Institutes, Pune

Despite debates on how much power should be there with the apex regulator, the fact remains that a regulator is needed to ensure that the institutes function in array so as to ensure a basic level of quality education being offered by them. Chetan S Wakalkar, Group Director, Indira Group of Institutes, Pune says that “We are currently not clear as to how the Government would be restructuring education regulation India. Hence, it would be difficult to make an accurate statement on whether removal of AICTE’s regulatory powers is good or bad. But AICTE had done a reasonably good job of spreading higher and technical education across the country. AICTE had mentored private initiative in this space thus at least giving thousands of youth an opportunity to technical education and thus some sort of a career option.”
To justify the role of AICTE in promoting quality in technical education, Prateek Sanghvi marked that “All good work done by AICTE in terms of quality improvement of institutes would go to vein with institutes been given the power to function at their own whims.”


A regulator ensures that a goal is set and all institutions work towards that end result

Dr Rupesh P Vasani,
Principal,
SAL Institute of Technology & Engineering Research, Ahmedabad

 

The mushroom growth of unauthorised B-schools led to price war with absolute dilution of standards

Prof Dr V G Chari,
Associate Vice President,
Siva Sivani Institute of Management, Secunderabad

No bill has been prepared to amend the existing AICTE Act thus making the council an advisory body and not a regulator for the coming months driving technical education towards a confused road.

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