CHENNAI: The huge demand for computer science engineering and allied courses have made colleges increase seats in these subjects. They, however, claim to find qualified teachers was hard. Several colleges have started a combination of courses in computer science engineering along with Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Data Science (DS) to cater to the rising demand.
Moreover, Anna University, the affiliating university of engineering colleges in TN, have recently introduced a new curriculum this year, which includes latest technology-based courses in different subjects such as Deep Learning and ML, which can be taught only by qualified teachers.
Many academicians feel that the quality of education will be compromised if an adequate number of quality teachers are not appointed by the colleges to teach these subjects. According to experts, there are several reasons responsible for the scenario such as paltry pay packages and poor working conditions in private engineering colleges across the State and lucrative jobs in the IT sector.
“Getting a qualified teacher to teach courses like computer science engineering, AI, and ML is a huge problem. Experienced teachers are not ready to work for the salary we are paying,” said the principal of a private engineering college. The same was the case with five other private engineering colleges that TNIE visited.
KM Karthik, coordinator of All India Private Colleges Employees Union (AIPCEU), feared that students would ultimately suffer as no action would be initiated against the colleges for not hiring adequate and quality teachers.
“There is, however, no dearth of quality faculty members, but the engineering colleges are not ready to pay them what they deserve. And neither AICTE nor the State government is bothered about the problems faced by these teachers due to work pressure and poor working conditions. So, why would someone leave their high paying IT job and become a teacher,” said Karthik.
He further pointed out that recently, 225 engineering colleges were issued show-cause notices after Anna University found lacunae in the number and quality of the faculty members, but within 15 days a majority of the colleges were granted affiliation. “If everything is fine on paper, authorities are not worried if there are actually enough teachers for the students,” he said.
Career guidance expert Jayaprakash Gandhi feels the motive of introducing these latest courses will be of no use if the colleges fail to hire quality faculty. “We cannot make our students employable if we don't teach them AI and ML properly. We need to train our teachers in latest updates in CSE, AI, and ML courses,” said Gandhi.
Vice-Chancellor of Anna University R Velraj said he was aware of the problem and had chalked out measures to deal with it. “A new curriculum has been introduced and we know it will be difficult for teachers. So, we have decided to organise training programmes for faculty members. We will call industry experts to train our faculty and will also ask affiliated colleges to do so,” said Velraj. Compared with the 27,006 computer science and engineering seats in 2021, this year, the number increased to 42,000.