Throwing the whole professional education system into chaos, an estimated 1.78 lakh techers in private engineering, MBA, hotel management and other professional courses will be thrown out after AICTE, the regulatory body that looks after these colleges changed the faculty-student ratios. Teachers of these colleges have rushed to the Supreme Court seeking withdrawal of the new ratios. Their petition may be heard on March 9.
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) declared that faculty-student ratio will henceforth be 1:20. Earlier, the ratio was 1:15 in private and self-financing engineering colleges for B.E/B.Tech/B.Arch, MBA, MCA, hotel management and 1:20 for diploma in engineering courses. The faculty-student ratio of 1:15 for engineering & technology and other programs such as MBA, MCA, HMCT, M.Pharm has been “irrationally decreased to 1:20”. For diploma, the earlier 1:20 ratio was converted in to 1:25.
The Private Educational Institutions Employees Association (PEIEA) of Tamil Nadu along with other self financing college teachers’ associations of Telengana have approached the Supreme Court for stay and withdrawal of AICTE’s new faculty-students ratio.
“The total numbers of jobless professors after implementation of new ratios in all AICTE-monitored courses shall be around 1.78 lakh (one lakh faculties in private engineering colleges alone). It is stated that the new faculty-student ratio is not only going to create a defective education system but is also going to be liable for a loss of a massive amount of intra-national brain drain. Students presently opting for B.E/B.Tech or other technical education will not opt for it in future due to scarce quantity of teachers at engineering colleges. These students will opt for science and arts degrees, which cannot develop and stimulate the knowledge of students similar to the level of engineering or other technical education. Naturally, as a result of this anticipated downfall, the youth shall lose in global competition and nation shall also lose many crores of its technically qualified human resource,” PEIEA President KM Karthik said in his petition.
Further, the professors – said the petitioner – who are retained are also going to come under the thumb of the management of private institutions and shall be intimidated to work for less salary because of the fear of being replaced by those who lost their jobs.
The table below is tentative number of professors who shall get affected and lose their jobs:
The new faculty-student ratio is way beyond the prevalent norms in other countries (see Table below for top 10 universities of the world).
There are almost 3000 self-financing/private engineering colleges across the nation. Most of them were just allowed to start and run at will during the last one and half decade. The jobless situation for engineering graduates attributed to automation, contracting, outsourcing and privatization of the industry is allegedly diminishing the craze for engineering education.
“Even under this prevailing scenario, the trusts operating self-financing colleges are increasing the fees received from students and reduce the salaries earned by professors. The educational institutions feel the business will not yield the same old profit margin and decided to wind up the business and move on for other businesses. Before the educational trusts could exit the business, the AICTE indirectly helps the trusts to reap good profit by implementing a great reduction in number of professors,” said the petitioner.
He said with an aim to meet the requirements of affiliations and inspections, several private engineering colleges are in the practice of appointing “fake” staff members. “The private institutions are not even following the earlier ratio of 1:15. The fact has been stated by the chairman of the AICTE himself,” he said.
It is learnt the AICTE decided to reduce the faculty to help the institutions from financial burdens. It raises a big question as to whether the AICTE has monitored or cross verified the institutions’ bank statements along with the faculties salary paid statements. The answer is negative. “It is clear that even after demonetization and digital economy initiatives, the AICTE is not bothered to digitise the student fees and staff salaries in the institutions and remains content only on oral statements of institutions. Issues are meager importance are being promoted by the AICTE and grave important issues summarily disregarded,” said Karthik.
In implementing new faculty student ratios, the AICTE – according to the petitioner – has broken the transparency that it followed all these years. The matter was allegedly not released in public domain prior to deciding and thrust over the society in an autocratic manner. “The AICTE had acted on the advice of associations of college managing trusts. Every trust in no more a non-profitable service organization, and largely a money churning family owned organization. Some AICTE’s officials had acted in nexus with these trusts making a secret society and the new draconian faculty student ratios are only a result of the meetings in these secret societies,” he alleged.
During the academic year 2015-16, the total number of staff in all the approved institutions of AICTE was about 7,00,000 (as per the records of AICTE). It is further stated that for engineering & technology colleges alone, the number is a staggering 5,78,000. Even if the number is taken as an approximate of 5,00,000, said the petitioner, the same accounts for 5,00,000 families with direct benefits from employment in these private engineering colleges.