Engg Education: Does the Stage set for " Survival of the Fittest"
Published On: 3/19/2012
Engineering Education : Does the stage set for Survival of the Fittest !!!
Time is approaching fast for the start of engineering admission season for the academic session 2012-13.For quite a high number of self–financed engineering colleges established in recent years , the days of stiff competition for student enrolments will start with the onset of admission season.
In past years around 2005-2006, the start of the admission period was very welcoming & rosy for the engineering colleges whereas for aspirants and their parents the stress of running around in other states to get admission in any engineering college was the matter of a huge concern. The demand- supply balance was much in favour of engineering colleges as the number of available seats were reasonably less as compared to the number of aspirants. The IT sector boom was on the highest peak and to get a CS or IT seat in engineering colleges was like a dream come true .The situation was much grim for aspirants from North Indian States as the number of colleges were just handful.
This demand-supply imbalance and IT boom got the attraction of a large number of people from business community & people from other fields with enough resources and many of them sensed a bright opportunity to become edupreneurs.
In between year 2007-10, we have seen unprecedented growth in the number of self-Financed Engineering Colleges across all states. For Academic session 2007-08, intake of seats in different engineering streams under AICTE approved colleges were approximate 475000. If we add IITs, NITs, IIITs and Private universities we could take the total intake close to 510000. In academic session 2011-12 total available seats in different engineering streams under AICTE approved institutions reached close to 1300000. In addition the available seats in IITs,NITs,IIITs, Other Govt. Aided & Private universities are close to somewhere between 100000-120000.
From the academic session 2009-2010, a relatively high number of colleges started to feel the real heat of finding the enough number of candidates to fill their sanctioned quota of seats. The cost and availability of resources like Faculty & infrastructure also started to add to the worries of a number of colleges as these were becoming important criterions among students in selecting a good college. The available quality faculty were being attracted & retained by well established groups with high number of admitted students and also by a very few upcoming colleges / Universities with large pool of resources at their stake & aspiration to build respectable education brands.
IT boom of 2005-06 was one of the main contributing impetus for the mass establishment of engineering colleges and in 2009-10 it was the IT gloom which started to gave shocks to quite a high number of colleges started in between 2007-10.Though we have also seen the impressive growth by some new groups where the management teams are highly enterprising and made high investments in building infrastructure of quite high standard and acquiring the much needed resources to successfully run the institutions/Universities.
At present ,the total annual intake capacity is close to 12 – 12.5 lakh in different engineering streams in institutions / universities under Govt & Self Financed Trusts. The number of aspirants who appeard in different entrance exams all over India were close to 11 – 11.5 lakh in the last academic session 2011-12.
Out of the total aspirants, close to 20-25% do not take admissions because of a number of reasons.Infact in AIEEE 2011, a total of 1053807 candidates appeared in the exam and out of this ,close to 840000 students appeared for the first attempt. It means close to 215000 had the repeat attempts. In these a few thousand could be those who took admission in some colleges but appeared for AIEEE to improve upon their last year ranking to get the colleges of their choices.
The number of available students will be relatively less than the number of available seats for academic session 2012-13.Infact in June-July 2012, we will witness a huge number of graduates passing out from colleges established in last 4-5 years .As the placement season is almost close to over by Feb or March, there are hardly any placements in a high number of engineering colleges and infact effective engineering placements are almost negligible in colleges established in last 4-5 years with a few exceptions.Effective Placements can only be achieved if the inputs like quality of students ,Faculty ,project based learning are of reasonable standard. With the kind of inputs these engineering colleges have, they can hardly do anything on the academic & placement front.Even the passed out graduates from a lot of these colleges have become very potential customers for small training institutes who are charging students amount in the range of 25000-50000 in the name of providing training on projects to make them industry ready & employable.
There have been so many challenges in the current perspective that the time for ‘survival of the fittest’ might be true in the coming academic session. The correction in the number of colleges seems pertinent as to overcome challenges for a few might not be possible .To run a college without non availability of resources and required quality & quantity of admitted students might be a daunting task in the long run.
To attract quality students for admissions might be a tough task in absence of a reasonable track record. A number of colleges are not able to attract the local students in and around their location as its very easy for local students to get the relevant info about the key figures.
This force institutions to look for students in other areas and ultimately result in rising cost and most of the times the quality of students they find is not fit for engineering education.This trend also seems to reach at a saturation level. Most of the colleges are now 4-5 years old in existence now, there are a lot of colleges who have nothing to tell aspirants in terms of valuable information. The simple advertisements in newspapers without any valuable information might not work in current perspective to fill the seats in a number of institutions.
Slowly and slowly the trend is shifting to the large campuses. The private institutions with small number of admitted students and without any reasonable track record are slowly & slowly been sidelined by well established Private institutions and Universities and by a very few experienced, specialized upcoming groups with high investment plans in the education domain.
With the increasing competition and with the aspiring students and parents getting more cautious in selecting the colleges for admission, the balance seems much in favour of institutions willing to put lot of resources in the development of academic, extra curricular, skill development & effective employability of the graduates. As the resources like quality students and quality faculty are scarce and competitive , these cannot be achieved as per one’s simple will.
The institutions / Universities in the Private sector who are able to attract quality students & quality faculty in enough numbers might be the fittest for survival in coming years.