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Is this End of the Road for Engineering?

In an unexpected trend gaining prominence all over the country, institutes are shutting down technical subjects such as engineering, as noticed by the requests received by All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE).

This year itself, hundreds of colleges have sought AICTE’s permission to shut 1,973 courses in technical subjects, attributing the same to poor employment, and fading student interest. AICTE, the national regulator for quality education, allowed 757 of these. Technical education consists of programmes like engineering, management, architecture, pharmacy and management in computer application. “The overall technical education space is awaiting an overhaul to improve the quality of education and address the employability issue of such graduates,said Anil Shahasrabudhe, chairman of AICTE. The break-up of the 757 technical and professional courses or departments that have been shut, is as follows:

  • 556: Engineering Courses
  • 89: Pharmacy
  • 57: Computer application
  • 54: Management

Of the 757 technical courses that have been shut, 556 are Engineering Courses and 57 are Computer Application Courses.

Additionally, 83 colleges, including 46 management and 31 engineering colleges, have closed down so far this year. Tamil Nadu and Telangana have the highest number of colleges that are shutting professional and technical courses, including those in management, as 345 (or 45%) of the engineering courses closed so far are in these two states. In engineering, Telangana-based colleges have sought permission from AICTE to shut 396 courses. Of these, 143 departments were allowed to close down due to various reasons such as vacant seats and lack of interest from students. Similarly, the technical education regulator has received 168 applications to close down courses or engineering departments in 2015-16 from Tamil Nadu, and has approved the closure of 103 courses.

Other states that have got approvals to shut engineering and similar technical courses are Maharashtra (52), Andhra Pradesh (32), Gujarat (31). In another worrying trend, for the first time in several years, the number of engineering seats in the country has declined by about 30,000 in 2015. This comes as a surprise, as engineering seats grew rapidly from  659,717 in 2006-07, to 1.67 million in 2015, in over 3,470 engineering colleges in India. AICTE is is looking to cut some 600,000 engineering seats over a period of time.

In management education, Maharashtra B-schools applied for closing some 32 departments but have been granted permission to shut 12. In Rajasthan, of the 14 applications to shut management education departments, eight have got the approval.

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