Diploma engineering colleges across the State are in a crisis as half of total 32,982 seats are vacant.
The Odisha Private Engineering Schools Association (OPESA) has cited the State Government’s negligence in creating awareness about diploma engineering courses in the State as the reason behind the vacancies.
This year, around 16,296 students have been allotted seats in the diploma engineering schools. According to OPESA secretary Saroj Sahoo, 85 diploma engineering institutions are operational across the State that churn out 25,000 people with direct and indirect employment.
OPESA’s major grouse is the lack of proper policy planning by the State Government. But the State Government officials are of different opinion. According to the Directorate of Technical Education and Training (DTET) Commissioner-cum-Director Hemant Sharma, “The diploma engineering colleges are no longer under our purview. Two years back the State Government had a role in deciding the fee structure and the other logistics of opening new diploma institutes. But now everything is completely under the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).”
All the diploma engineering colleges now have to get the approval for setting up new institutes from the AICTE. The State Government’s role is to conduct the Diploma Entrance Test (DET) on time and publish the results.
“But there has been 20 per cent increase in the number of students taking admission to DET as compared to the previous year,” said Sharma.
He added that the reason for poor show of students could be attributed to the decreasing market demand for DET graduates and the students’ growing disinterest to study such courses as they have various options.
With increasing number of +2 colleges in the interior regions of the State, students are now opting to study in +2 colleges rather than pursue diploma engineering courses.
In the letter, Sahoo mentions the glaring gap between the 3.60 lakh students passing the High School Certificate (HSC) examination, but a meager 53,000 students appearing for the DET examinations.
DTET has decided to conduct another round of counselling to fill up more seats. The four-day counselling will start on August 21.
Presently the State Government has around 13 diploma engineering schools under it and is planning to start another 22 such institutes in the next two years.
“The government has allotted a huge amount to establish these 22 institutes, when on one side, the seats in the existing institutes are going vacant,” said Sahoo.