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Technical Education in a Vicious Circle

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By Prof K Lal Kishore, Vice Chancellor, JNT University Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

Because of the skilled manpower requirement, there is a sudden increase in the number of Technical Institutions in India. But this is resulting in generating technical manpower, but not skilled manpower. So there is unemployment in the country among engineering graduates. This is a paradoxical situation.
Most of the technical institutions established in the private sector are started on business lines and with profit motive. The managements are linked to politicians, business tycoons, contractors, etc. Very few of the self-financing institutions belong to educationists with a motive of service to the society.
The policy of granting permissions to establish self-financing institutions in the guise of requirements for manpower, bridging supply-demand gap, is totally false. The increase in the number of institutions should have been gradual. Sanctioning technical institutions all over the country without any scientific study is the reason for the present situation
Merely producing engineers without skills will not serve the purpose of meeting the supply – demand gap.
Number of engineers per one thousand population is not uniform throughout the country. Number of Technical Institutions is very large in some states and very snall in some other states. Most of the teachers are recruited locally. When there is sudden increase in the number of engineering colleges, there is very much shortage of well qualified and experienced teachers. So the quality of education imparted is poor, with the result that mere numbers are produced, but not absorbed by the industry. When there is unemployment among the engineering graduates, demand for the seats reduces. Because of the poor quality of education and training, given in these colleges, unemployment increases. This makes the demand reduced, for engineering seats, in these institutions. As these are self-financing institutions, if all the seats in the college are not filled, income reduces. Budget for the college shrinks. This makes the managements pay less to the teaching staff in the institution, or reduce the staff, or both. This further affects the quality of education and hence more unemployment among the engineering graduates, as quality of education imparted is poor. So the demand for seats in engineering colleges further reduces. This adds to the complications the financial position of the college. So it is a vicious circle and at present the field of technical education is caught in this loop, thanks to AICTE, and many wrong policies at various levels.
To break the loop or come out of the circle, quality education must be given priority. It is not just increasing the number, but producing quality engineers, so that all the graduates are absorbed in one way or other. In other words, there should not be unemployment at an alarming level. As quality teachers and experienced teachers, cannot be produced overnight, this must be done in a phased manner. There must be a gradual increase in the number of institutions and not sudden spurt in the number of colleges. The colleges should not be concentrated in one state or one region, but must be distributed uniformly throughout. This can solve the problem of availability of teachers, to impart skills to the students to some extent. When quality technical education is imparted, the graduates are absorbed by the industry, and seats, being filled, the financial position of the colleges will be better. So the college managements will be able to further improve the quality of education in the institution. Thus, we can break the loop or come out of the vicious circle. There will not be closure of colleges and we can bridge the supply – demand gap slowly.

This astronomical or haphazard growth is responsible for closure of some engineering colleges, whereas survey reports say that there is shortage of skilled manpower across the globe

• In 1947-48, there were 20 Universities, 496 colleges in the country.Enrolment in these college was 0.1 million. In 1980 – 81, these figures were, 123, 4861 and 2.8 million respectively.
• In 2010 – 11, the number of Universities increased to 634 and the number of colleges to 33,023. Enrolment in these Institutions is 17.0 millions, Number of seats in BE/BTech courses in 1970 – 71, was 88,494.
• It increased to 16, 81,716 in 2005 – 06.
• This has further increased to about 3.5 million in 2010 – 11.

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