COIMBATORE: In a decision which is expected to be huge relief for private engineering colleges, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has relaxed the faculty requirement from the present one faculty member for every 15 students to one for 20 students.
This has been a demand of the Private Engineering Colleges Association for 15 years, said T D Eswaramoorthy, secretary of the All India Federation of Self-Financing Technical Institutions, while welcoming the decision.
“If a college has a total strength of 6,000 students for all four years, it will need 400 teachers under the 1:15 ratio. Under the 1:20 ratio, it will need only 300. We do not have enough work to maintain the 1:15 faculty-student ratio,” he pointed out.
However, a professor at Anna University described the 1:15 ratio as reasonable. This enables teachers to give time for research and interacting with students and assessing them. The ration in many colleges now is 1:25. Only at inspection time do they maintain the 1:15 ratio. They then get part-time faculty members and BE graduates to take classes, he said.
Reducing the faculty-students ratio will have an adverse impact on the research work carried out in technical institutions, according to E Balagurusamy, former Vice Chancellor of Anna University.
Instead of calculating faculty-student ratio on the sanctioned strength, it can be calculated on the actual strength of students in a college, he suggested. However, he added that the actual strength would change every year and that it would be very difficult to maintain a fixed faculty-student ratio.
Instead of reducing the ratio for all institutions, AICTE can classify engineering colleges into three categories based on their admission and performance and fix different ratios for each category,” Balagurusamy said.
Tier I colleges should be asked to maintain the 1:15 ratio because they need to conduct research. In fact, autonomous colleges should have low faculty-student ratios, which should be strictly enforced, he added.
AICTE has decided to end courses which had ‘zero’ admission in the last five years in an institution. In addition, the sanctioned strength of courses which had less than 30 per cent admission in the last five years will be reduced by half.
It has also warned all colleges that criminal cases would be filed against the principal of an institution and the head of its management if they submit fraudulent documents to get AICTE’s approval.