500 engineering colleges in AP should be shut down: official

The issue came to light at a recent conference of Vice Chancellors, held on September 21.
"We have about 500 engineering colleges in the state which do not fulfil this mandatory requirement (infrastructure, faculty) though they may be having good buildings. All such colleges should be closed down," state Council of Higher Education Secretary, Christopher told PTI.

People are happy about the mushrooming growth of engineering colleges in the state but are not concerned about the lack of quality in education, he said.

Governor E S L Narasimhan, in his capacity as Chancellor of the universities in the state, immediately directed that "a committee be constituted to look into the lapses and make the management fall in line."

After being apprised of the situation Chief Minister K Rosaiah at once directed the authorities concerned to "act tough" and ensure that the college managements strictly complied with the set norms.

Accordingly, the state government constituted a committee, headed by Technical Education Commissioner K Lakshminarayana, to inspect the availability of infrastructure and faculty in the engineering colleges.

Quoting a NASSCOM study, Christopher said Andhra Pradesh was producing only five to eight per cent of "employable engineering graduates" every year as against the national average of 25 per cent.

Another reason that may cause the shutdown of more than 200 engineering colleges in the state would be due to serious dearth of students.Of the 2.67 lakh engineering colleges in the state, over 95,000 still remain vacant at the end of phase-1 counselling.
About 2.60 lakh students qualified in the engineering, agriculture and medical Common Entrance Test (CET) this year but more than a lakh of them did not even attend the counselling process for admission into various colleges, the study has said.

In the convenor quota alone, filled through the counselling process, 31,968 seats went abegging while there were no takers for those under the management quota, it said.
The strife over the demand for and against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh has left majority of the engineering colleges in the Telangana region high and dry as students prefer not to join them, given the violence being perpetrated by the pro-statehood agitators. This resulted in a situation where, for the first time in many years, students from the state have opted for colleges in the neighbouring Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the study said.

Interestingly, most of the colleges in the Andhra-Rayalaseema region have been able to attract good number of students this year.

"In coastal Andhra's Prakasam district, a noted engineering college could manage an intake of only 30 per cent last year but this time it has already completed 70 per cent admissions," a member of the Consortium of Engineering Colleges' Managements said.
In contrast, majority of the 200-odd engineering colleges around Hyderabad are struggling to get students despite offering "discounts" in fee and other expenses.
"Besides, the uncertainty over the continuation of fee reimbursement scheme being implemented by the state government for the last two years has also forced many students from the backward families to give up their engineering dreams," college managements say.

Experts in the field say it is high time the state government put in place a regulatory authority with adequate powers to ensure that the engineering colleges are strictly run according to norms, particularly in respect of faculty.

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