AICTE approves 100 professional institutes via online document screening and virtual tours

Over 100 new professional institutes–engineering, management and pharmacy–have received approval from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to start admissions from 2020-21 academic year. Keeping in mind the nation-wide lockdown due to Covid-19, for the first time, AICTE approved these colleges by scrutinising all necessary documents online and conducting a virtual tour of the institute to check the infrastructure before signing off their approvals.

As per figures shared by AICTE, a total of 58 new engineering diploma and degree colleges have been approved for the 2020-21 academic year, increasing the overall intake capacity by 16,333 seats. However, due to the gradual decline in demand for engineering seats altogether, more than 600 engineering institutes have sought reduction in their intake capacity and another 140 institutes across the country have asked permission to shut down completely. This will further bring down the total intake capacity of engineering institutes by over 1.22 lakh in the upcoming academic year.

In a statement released in May 2020, the council had clarified that requirement of documents remains same to previous few years. “We devised online scrutiny of documents and virtual institute inspections in order to proceed with approval of new colleges. This was done as the approval process coulnnot be delayed any further and therefore, we had to come up with a viable solution,” said Anil Sahasrabuddhe, chairman, AICTE. He added that the online scrutiny has been at par with any physical scrutiny that institutes have been put through in the past.

Once again this year, not a single new engineering institute has received approval in Maharashtra for 2020-21, as yet.

Last year, while new approvals have made way for 54,618 seats across diploma and undergraduate and post graduate institutes, the total intake capacity of engineering institutes has gone down by over 2.20 lakh, including 99,806 diploma seats and 1.20 lakh UG and PG seats, owing to either closure of institutes or divisions in certain sectors.

“Engineering institutes across the country have been suffering and majority have not managed to attract enough students over the years. The ban on new engineering institutes has been to ensure control over the mushrooming of institutes that don’t promise quality education,” added Sahasrabuddhe.

Since the two-year ban on new engineering institutes was implemented starting 2020, several institutes have sought permission to start new branches in Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Data Science and Analytics, Robotics or the likes.

“Several branches of engineering including civil and mechanical are attracting very few students off late due to the low job offers they get. The software industry, on the other hand, is continuously evolving and thus attracting good jobs and students,” said Gopakumaran Thampi, principal, Thadomal Shahani Engineering College, Bandra. He added that reduction of seats in redundant branches and giving boost to new dimensions in the field is being welcomed by engineering aspirants.

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