Ignoring the UGC's blanket ban on new technical colleges, the All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is set to approve more engineering and management schools in the country for the 2014-15 academic year.
The AICTE — the apex technical education body — which regained the power following a recent Supreme Court order, has received over 290 fresh proposals of new engineering, management and other technical schools for approval. Of these, 236 are for degree institutions and 54 are for the institutes that will offer post graduate diploma in business management.
The proposals include 21 degree and five PGDBM institutes from Maharashtra. Of these proposals, five are from Mumbai-Thane. These include: one engineering, one architecture, one applied arts and two PGDBM institutions. AICTE has already approved 98 polytechnics in India for 2014-15. Ten of them are in Maharashtra.
The council is currently in the process of scrutinising the proposals. "A final call would be taken by June 10, much before the admission process starts," Dr SS Mantha, chairman of the AICTE said.
Experts expect a decent number of proposals to be approved, considering AICTE's controversial leniency in the past.
The 9 May SC order made it clear that all technical institutions, including management schools, need AICTE's prior approval.
The news has come as a surprise to the Maharashtra higher and technical education department that proposed a complete ban on new technical colleges in the perspective plan 2012-17. The reason: over 40% MBA and 34% engineering seats remain vacant every year in Maharashtra. An official from the department told dna: "Further mushrooming of engineering and B schools across the state would dent the quality of education further."
The Supreme Court on May 9 brought the AICTE back at the helm of technical education, a power that it had taken away exactly a year ago saying the council can only supervise the quality. It gave universities the approval powers.
Following this, the UGC issued a circular in October 2013 directing all universities to start the approval process, a decision that was called off in April 2014 by imposing a blanket ban on approving any college for 2014-15, citing large number of vacancies.
AICTE officials, however, said they can't refuse aspiring managements to run institutes only because seats remain vacant at other colleges. "We are also looking at the future when the gross enrolment ratio would go up, creating higher demands for professional schools. How can we get more colleges suddenly then?" asked an AICTE official.
"The final nod for any educational institution comes from the government. They can stop the colleges at their end but they are unable to do it due to political compulsions and try to throw the ball in our court," he said.