COIMBATORE: After deciding to review University Grants Commission (UGC), the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has constituted a high level committee to review the functioning of another apex regulatory body — the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), with an aim to restructure and strengthen the technical education sector.
The committee will be headed by former MHRD secretary M K Kaw and will have vice chancellor of Gujarat Technological University A K Aggarwal, director of IIT Hyderabad U B Desai, and Ashok Jhunjhunwala of IIT Madras as its members.
“The number of technical institutions in the country has increased and has thrown a wide variety of challenges. Addressing them by maintaining quality and adoption of world class norms would ensure advances in the Human Development Index of the country and transform the country into a knowledge society,” the MHRD order says.
Strongly critical of AICTE, the MHRD order also says, “There is a realisation that the AICTE is finding it difficult to match the demand of private players in the field of technical education. It is a fact that a lot of private institutions have emerged in the technical education sector and there is a growing trend of commercialisation. The norms and standards of technical education are not fully implemented.”
The committee will evaluate the performance of the AICTE in coordinating and determining standards of education in technical institutions, conduct an audit of its regulatory reach and identify strengths and weaknesses. It will also evaluate the performance of the regional offices of the AICTE.
The committee will assess requirement of regulatory space for the AICTE and analyse the regulatory, grant disbursing function of AICTE and recommend changes in the balance between the twin functions. It will suggest ways and means to set up a robust accreditation system in the technical education sector to meet the challenges of mandatory accreditation.
The committee was asked to suggest amendments in the AICTE Act 1987 to meet present day requirements, measures for industry persons to be appointed as faculty on deputation, measures for streamlining the vocationalisation of technical education and regulation of private not-for-profit entities in technical education and also helps curb commercialisation. The committee will submit its report within a period of six months.
Welcoming this, E Balagurusamy, former vice chancellor of Anna University said, “The AICTE has powers, but is not able to function independently. Presently, AICTE only acts as an agency to approve new colleges. Ensuring quality of technical education is not done mainly due to political interference. The regulatory body should be given total autonomy.”