Contrary to the stand taken by Education Minister P K Abdu Rabb in the Legislative Assembly, the government has given nod for starting two MTech courses to a self-financing engineering college that fared badly in the previous academic year.
The move is in violation of the government order insisting on a minimum pass percentage of 40 to sanction approval for starting MTech courses.While replying to the adjournment motion notice of the Opposition in the wake of the High Court direction to close down the under-performing self-financing engineering colleges in the state, Abdu Rabb, on July 6, informed the Assembly that the government had directed the officials concerned not to allocate new courses to the colleges which failed to achieve prescribed pass percentage.
The government order, issued on May 18, 2012, states that “MTech courses may be allowed to self-financing colleges where the minimum pass percentage in first appearance in all subjects (full pass) is 30 in third year (V and VI semesters together) and 40 average in the final year (VII and VII semesters together)” for BTech courses.
The Higher Education Department had on June 14, 2012, accorded sanction to Caarmel Engineering College, Perunad, Pathanamthitta, which registered a pass percentage of less than 40, for executing an agreement with government for starting two MTech courses. Caarmel Engineering College is owned by K P Yohannan of Believer’s Church.
According to the agreement, Caarmel Engineering College, affiliated to Mahatma Gandhi University, was allowed to start MTech Computer Science and MTech Communication Engineering with an intake of 24 students in each course. Also, the government issued an NOC on June 25, 2012, just 11 days before the minister’s announcement in the Assembly.
In Caarmel Engineering College, the pass percentage of BTech varied between 11 and 39 for various streams in the previous year. While the pass percentage of the under graduate course of Computer Science and Engineering is 39, the college does not have a BTech programme for Communication Engineering for which MTech courses were sanctioned.
The government had issued an order on January 31, 2012, making minimum pass percentage up to VI and VIII semesters as 40 and 50, respectively, in the existing BTech courses to become eligible for starting MTech courses. However, owing to strong pressure from the management associations, the government retracted from the order and it was revised to a 40 per cent average in the final year, in May 2012.
Now, the government has given sanction for starting MTech courses to Caarmel college, violating the revised criteria too.However, when contacted, Higher Education Department Principal Secretary K M Abraham said the government did not take a stern stand in permitting engineering colleges to start MTech courses, as there is an acute shortage of qualified teachers in colleges. “We had given some relaxation in the guidelines considering the urgent situation. Also, there are some changes in the pass percentage submitted by the universities too. However, after the High Court order, we tightened the guidelines,” Abraham said.
Caarmel College superintendent Varghese said there were some serious mistakes in determining the pass percentage by the university. He claimed that Caarmel College is eligible for starting MTech courses.