225 B-schools, 52 engineering colleges close in two years

Source: The Times of India via PwC – EdLive

In the early part of the last decade, hundreds of new institutes came up and thousands of aspirants queued up to join them. A decade later, the picture is one of stark contrast in technical professional colleges. Since 2011, 225 B-schools and over 50 engineering colleges across India have closed down. Many more colleges have trimmed programmes, branches of engineering or streams in the management course.

Similarly, the Master of Business Administration programme was once the most sought after. Now, for the first time, the overall growth of MBA education is negative in the books of the AICTE. In 2011-12, 146 new B-schools came up and 124 that were already running closed down. This year so far, 101 management colleges have closed down, while only 82 have started. Similar is the story with the Master of Computer Application (MCA) course—84 colleges stopped offering the programme this year; only 27 started MCA courses. As a result, the AICTE has decided to allow colleges to offer a five-year dual degree programme and also permit graduates of science, BSc (computer science) and BSc (information technology) to jump to the second year of the MCA course. Yet, the small positive growth in the sector is from the engineering colleges where new institutes are coming up faster than closures taking place, largely in Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Rajasthan.

S S Mantha, AICTE Chairman, said, “This is a turning phase for the professional education sector. Colleges in remote India and institutes of poor quality are not getting students. And for colleges, there is just one key to attracting students: institutes need to be top-of-the-line colleges. There is no pay-off in running a bad college.” “The problem is also linked to the slowdown,” said IIM-Ahmedabad Director Samir Barua and added, “The job market has been tight for a couple of years. Earlier, many would give up a job to get an MBA and then re-enter the job market after pumping up their CV. They are hesitant to take such a risk now. The pressure is being felt and applications for MBA are falling. But undergraduate programmes such as engineering will not feel the same tension as everyone wants their first college degree.”

AICTE instructs to accept CMAT scores or penalty

Source: www.cmat.learnhub.com via PwC – EdLive

Many leading B-Schools have denied accepting the CMAT scores to enrol students even after receiving instructions from the All India Council of Education (AICTE). The latter has given strict instruction to all its affiliated colleges and institutes to accept CMAT scores or to face the consequences. From this year on the exam will be conducted twice a year to offer more flexibility and opportunity to submit the best score in B-Schools. An AICTE official said that they are not facing problems with Tier II and III B-schools, but with leading B-schools. Most of them prefer to accept CAT, XAT or MAT scores to enrol students rather than this newly initiated test.

In 2011, the Supreme Court after hearing a petition against the exploitation by management institutions had instructed government to come out with a solution as soon as possible, so that the aspirants will not get affected with the tussle between the AICTE and B-schools. The AICTE is planning to blacklist these institutions. It could also mean derecognising these institutions. This means that students graduating from these institutions will not be considered for jobs in government and public undertakings.”

AICTE allows firms with Rs 100 cr turnover to start their own colleges

Source: The Indian Express via PwC – EdLive

Aiming to bridge the gap between technical educational institutes and the expectations of those who employ their graduates, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has decided to allow industries and businesses with Rs 100 crore turnover to set up technical institutions of their own. Such institutions will be allowed to admit double the number of students allowed at regular institutions, and would be able to start a single branch or theme institute of their choice, according to the AICTE’s notification inviting applications to start new institutes for the 2013-14 academic year. “We often hear that students graduating from technical institutes are not industry-ready or employable. Hence, we want to bring in the best practices of industry and want them to participate in the higher and technical education sector,” said AICTE chairman S S Mantha. “Accordingly, a private limited or public limited company or industry, with a turnover of Rs 100 crore in the last three years, will now be eligible to apply to start a new institute.”Such institutions can teach any technical discipline, including engineering, pharmacy, architecture and town planning, applied arts and crafts, and hotel management and catering technology. They can offer undergraduate or postgraduate or diploma courses.

Separately, AICTE has also eased norms to help students wanting to pursue a masters degree in computer applications (MCA). “Students who have completed their undergraduate education in any discipline can apply for MCA. But we have introduced a new rule in which students who have done their bachelors in any computer related subject like B.Sc IT/ BCA/computer science, will get lateral or direct entry to second year of MCA,” said Mantha. AICTE is also introducing a dual degree programme in MCA in which students will complete BCA and MCA in five years instead of six.

Industries may soon get a role in higher education

Source: Mint via Pwc – EdLive

In an effort to boost research and employable workforce, India is preparing to involve industries in higher education. The Ministry for HRD expects this will solve issues related to land availability and finance. In return, the government will give industries independence and fast-track regulatory clearances for opening institutes that will focus on research specific to industry requirements.

Recently, the Ministry, in association with Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), invited 17 government departments and ministries and nearly 60 companies to a two-day conference in Delhi.“If we reach an agreement, then we don’t have to go to Parliament and it will be more of a ministry-level decision to engage industry in higher education,” said SS Mantha, Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the regulator in the higher education sector for technical institutes and a part of the HRD Ministry. Shalini Sharma, Head of the education wing, CII, said companies are open to the idea and want to know what the government is offering, “Through the conference we want to understand what the industry requires on the regulatory front. We will try to accommodate that.” Mantha added, “The government cannot do everything by its own. Once the industry participates, issues like land and finance will be taken care of easily.” He said that involving the industry will promote theme-based research and innovation during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17). This will ‘stimulate discussion between industry players and ministries’ on setting up institutes that will focus on specific research and enter into twinning and collaborative programmes with other universities and research organisations.

AICTE to give 1 crore INR seed capital for research parks

Source: DNA India via PwC – EdLive

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will fund institutes with 1 crore INR to set up research parks, in order to encourage research among students. An industry partner will also be tasked with setting up the research park, along with providing funds to the tune of 1 crore INR. The research activities to be carried out in the park will also include studies needed for the industry.

“This will be a perfect give-and-take deal. While the industry will participate in financial assistance, the institutes will conduct research on the basis of industry needs. Researchers will also get hands-on experience with real-time industry research activities,” said SS Mantha, Chairman, AICTE. The research park will be set up on the institute premises itself, which should make available at least a 3,000-square-feet area for it.

“We aim to open such research parks in at least one state each. However, more such parks would be welcome to provide ample opportunities to research scholars in India,” added Mantha.

Besides this, the AICTE is also going to offer other schemes to encourage research work. The top 100 research students will be placed at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratories. The scholars will be shortlisted through a competitive model of testing and the AICTE will give 15,000 INR per month to each student for three years.