COIMBATORE: With the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) reducing the faculty-student ratio from 1:15 to 1:20, thousands of teaching staff of private engineering colleges are likely to lose their jobs as many managements have decided to lay-off ‘excess’ faculty members. AICTE made the change following a representation from managements.
There are around three lakh seats in engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu. The total number of students, considering all four years, will be around 10 lakh. For this number of students, as per the 1:15 ratio, there should be around 66,500 teaching staff in the State, but under the new norm of 1;20, this need be only around 50,000.
Now, many of the private engineering college managements have decided to lay off ‘excess’ staff. However, the chairman of a private engineering college said there will not be big lay-offs. This is because AICTE and Anna University have been allowing them to function even with 80 per cent of the faculty requirement as per the 1:15 ratio.
Meanwhile, the Private Educational Institutions Employees Association of Tamil Nadu has filed a PIL in the Supreme Court praying for withdrawal of the reduction in faculty-student ratio.
The association’s advisor, M Kumaresan, said the new ratio will enable managements to put constant pressure teachers to work for low salaries. There will be a situation where they can be easily intimidated. It will lead to a defective education system and increase brain drain as bright students, as well as affluent students, would choose to leave the country permanently.
“The AICTE has given in to the pressure tactics of the All India Federation of Self-Financing Technical Institutions (AIFSFTI), which had demanded the change in August 2017. The council came up with the change in December, within four months,” he pointed out.
The association said private colleges had not been following the existing ratio of 1:15. The All India Survey on Higher Education 2016-17 had found that introduction of Aadhaar had revealed 80,000 ‘ghost’ teachers in various colleges and universities, Kumaresan pointed out.
Keeping in mind the effects of unemployment on the country as a whole and the faculty-student ratio in world-class institutions, AICTE should raise the ratio to 1:12, he demanded.
Meanwhile, AIFSFTI secretary T D Eswaramoorthy said, “AICTE decided to reduce faculty-student ratio after conducting a detailed study. Even Anna University had written to it suggesting a ratio of 1:20.”
Change in norm rings alarm bells
A look at faculty requirements as per old and new ratios
Technical institutions in India as per AICTE records for first year: 4,397 institutions, with 15,81,372 seats
Faculty requirement as per old ratio (1:15): 1,05,425
Faculty requirement as per new ratio (1:20): 79,069
Technical institutions in Tamil Nadu as per AICTE records for first year:
575 institutions with 2,73,299 seats
Faculty requirement as per old ratio (1:15): 18,220
Faculty requirement as per new ratio (1:20): 13,665