With thousands of seats in private engineering colleges lying vacant in recent years, some colleges are mulling the option of converting the technical institution into an arts and science institution, as there is a rise in the enrolment in arts and science courses.
It is learnt that the vice-chancellor of one of the State Universities in the Board of Studies meeting said that over a dozen private engineering colleges had contacted him about the possibility of converting their technical institutions into arts and science institutions.
In Tamil Nadu engineering colleges, as many as 52,371 seats (both management and government quota seats) in 2009-10, 33,093 seats in 2010-11, 64,880 seats in 2011-12 and 79,673 seats in 2012-13 remained vacant.
This year (2013-14), over 80,000 seats out of the 2.05 lakh government-quota seats available under the Tamil Nadu Engineering Admission went unfilled.
According to AICTE sources, in 2013-14 as many as 39 institutions in the country applied for closure, of which 20 were given permission by the council for the closure of institutions. This is against 124 new institutions which were granted approval in 2013-14 for commencing admission.
When contacted, Commissioner of Technical Education Kumar Jayant said, “In case there is a problem in running private engineering colleges, they have to approach the AICTE for closure of the institution. The AICTE will give permission as per the norms. Only after obtaining permission for closure from the AICTE, can the private managements think about converting the institution into an arts and science college.”
According to the AICTE approval process handbook, institutions can apply for complete or progressive closure. An expert committee of the AICTE will verify the status of students already studying, faculty and staff of the institution, liability of the institution, no objection certificate from the State government as well as the affiliating university.
“Only when all the students who have enrolled in a particular college have got transferred to some other institution will permission for complete closure be given. Otherwise, the colleges have to go for progressive closure, where closure of first year in the current year and progressive closure of academic years in the subsequently years will be allowed,” said an official.
Till recently for a private engineering college that was unable to attract students the option was to to sell the institute or close it permanently. Only now has the idea of converting it into an arts and science institution come up, keeping in view that admission for arts and science courses has increased in the last couple of years.