MUMBAI: Several engineering, management, pharmacy and other professional colleges have either downed shutters or trimmed their capacity this year, reducing the number of seats by over 1.5 lakh.
Also, several institutes that had the requisite government approval in 2019-20 have not renewed it for the academic year 2020. A total of 179 professional colleges have applied to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for campus closure. While the maximum closures will be in UP (31), Maharashtra and TN are at the second spot with 22 institutes having applied to shut down in each of the state. The developments could increase competition for seats.
“Few AICTE-approved colleges have not sought approval this year in view of large number of seats lying vacant over the last 5 years, making it unviable to continue the institutions,” AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabuddhe said.
“Moreover, pharmacy and architecture seats have now come under their respective regulatory bodies after a Supreme Court ruling stated that for the functioning of existing colleges and setting up of new ones, approval of only the Council of Architecture and Pharmacy Council of India will be mandatory,” Sahasrabuddhe added.
Pan-India, 72 undergraduate/postgraduate engineering colleges, 58 MBA schools, and 71 diploma-granting institutes and polytechnics are among those that will down shutters. This will result in the reduction of 34,553 seats for 2020-21. Also, colleges have trimmed their capacity. While some courses are not on offer in some cases, the class size has been reduced in others—762 institutes have shaved off 69,965 seats.
On the other hand, the AICTE has approved the starting of 164 new colleges besides okaying an increase in capacity in 1,311 colleges. “Fearing Covid, several colleges may actually not start this year despite have AICTE nod. Many don’t have facilities for holding online classes, and students too may not seek admissions in brand new institutes that they have not visited,” an officer from the Directorate of Technical Education, Maharashtra, said.
“In fact, several colleges that applied for increasing intake last year may not actually offer those additional seats in this year and may effectively use the AICTE’s permission only from the next year’s admission process. For many, the reason to close a few course offerings or trim capacity is also because some colleges have terminated faculty members to cut costs. Then, to maintain the prescribed teacher-student ratio, colleges have had to reduce intake capacity,” said a senior faculty member from Mumbai.
Vaibhav Narawde, president of Mumbai University and College Teachers Association, said, “Students are finding it difficult to pay fees, government scholarship is also not coming through, hundreds of teachers have not been paid salaries since March. We feel more college closures are on their way.”