Large-scale problems arising out of the rapid increase of technical education institutions

At present there are over 2280 technical education institutions functioning under the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). Every year several new engineering institutions have been approved to admit new students. Thus the increase in the number of engineering graduates is very disproportionate to the need. The rate of increase in engineering graduates is alarming. In India alone every single year roughly about 2,32,000 engineering graduates are produced apart from 1,88,000 diploma engineers. All these 4 lakhs engineers are just fresh out of college. Nobody among India’s education planners seem to have thought about the following: Who is going to employ them? What are their job opportunities? Are 4 lakh new jobs created every year? Certainly not! If they remain unemployed, what will be their contribution to society? How many of these frustrated persons will turn into educated criminals and anti-socials? How many of them would become drug and alcohol addicts? etc. Our policy makers of education have confused the concepts of technological development and technical institutions. If we need to be a technologically developed country, we can achieve that by producing a lesser quantity and higher quality of students who will contribute to the growth of the nation. Large number of engineering students is only a sheer waste of manpower. Thus the hazardous increase in engineering colleges and polytechnics is going to be only a problem to the nation.

Developed countries like U.S. have manpower departments that estimate the number of job vacancies to be created over the years, the fields pertaining to the vacancies and the number of foreign labor that can be used to cope up etc. But our technical education system has not made any such studies. In fact in the year 1998, there were 571 Engineering colleges and 1134 Polytechnics but as of today there are 838 Engineering colleges and 1224 Polytechnics. In these three years there is no need to have such a sharp increase in the number of Engineering colleges because there is no corresponding increase in the number of job opportunities. Privatization of education and several other factors have made the running of engineering colleges into highly lucrative businesses. The failed technical educational system is not going to provide any kind of employment to these engineers. So based on all these data we have taken the opinion of vice-chancellors, directors and Engineering students themselves who are employed and we use fuzzy model to study them. The important facts derived are:

1. Suggestions are made that new engineering colleges must not be given approval by AICTE.
2. There must be a larger restriction and restraint on the number of student sanction allowed to these Engineering colleges and Polytechnics.
3. Technical Educational Institutions with political backing and those, which are run with the primary intention of making money, must not be encouraged.

According to the editorial dated 2nd August 2003 in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW), in Tamil Nadu alone over 21000 Engineering seats will remain unfilled this academic year and over 30 colleges in the private sector are in danger of being forced to close down. The editorial further states that in April 2003, the Supreme Court had directed the state government to create additional seats in medical and engineering to accommodate those meritorious students in the open category affected by the 69% reservation policy. According to the EPW there is an all too evident absence of coherent and comprehensive policy direction. Taking these facts into account, we analyse the situation of Engineering Education in Tamil Nadu using Fuzzy Theory.

We also further studied the present scenario of Technical/ engineering education in the context of Government i.e. state controlled regulatory body, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) versus the Managements, which runs the privately owned engineering institutions. The main attributes taken relative to the Government regulatory body i.e., AICTE are

1. No proper scrutiny of the infrastructure of the institution is assessed by the body of inspectors from AICTE.

2. Reports have often surfaced about how corruption rules the roost in this council and how bribes are taken in order to grant sanction for technical education institutions which are often run by politically or economically powerful.

3. No proper assessment about the teaching faculty is done by the experts who visit from AICTE (untrained, just engineering graduates are employed as teachers).

4. The cost spent by most students is disproportionate to their job opportunities (This concept is never discussed or given importance by the AICTE).

5. Non-existence of Manpower Corporations/ Departments and no steps to give any information regarding any type of job opportunities.

6. There is no equity in the distribution opportunities in a higher education by Government in general and Engineering education in particular.

7. The AICTE has blindly given sanction to new Engineering institutions has made both students and the owners of the institutions in highly erratic condition.

8. Several other points can also be taken under this head. The main attributes related with the persons who start the Engineering colleges:

i. Most of the persons who start the college are persons with least knowledge on Engineering education.

ii. Their sole motive is profit. The institutional cost is minimal and personal cost is maximal leading to degeneration in quality maintenance.

iii. They cheat the government/AICTE by showing false quality manpower to get sanction.

iv. As they have spent substantial money as bribe to government/AICTE their main motive is to get back that cost from students or run the college with minimum or non-faculty that in turn has brought down the results drastically.

v. When results are poor the colleges do not get even enough students to run the institution. For instance, there are over two dozen engineering colleges in which the admission hovers at the single digit level.

vi. We could also observe that government-run colleges function better than the private owned colleges. This is sharp contrast to the lame argument which supports privatization on the basis that it creates better quality.