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AICTE Removes Cap on Intake for ‘Well-performing’ Engineering Institutes

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has allowed “well-performing” existing engineering institutions under it to increase student intake without any upper limit, provided the quality of education is maintained. Also, it has permitted institutes to reduce intake in core engineering branches by 50%, so that colleges don’t shut down these branches, as a large number of seats in these courses have remained vacant over the years. These are among the major changes brought about in the council’s new approval process handbook that was released on Wednesday.

This is the first time that the AICTE has brought out the approval process handbook for three years, which will remain valid from 2024-25 to 2026-27. Until now, the handbook used to be released every year. The handbook acts like a roadmap for all institutions seeking approval from it to run programmes/courses falling under its ambit.

Among the major changes brought by the council, are removing the upper limit on intake for courses offered by “well-performing” existing institutions. At present, engineering colleges are allowed to have a maximum of 240 seats in a branch while 360 used to be the maximum student intake across all branches.

“As envisaged in the provisions laid down in the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and our proactive initiatives towards enhancement of the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), the council decided to remove the upper limit on intake allowed earlier for the courses/programmes offered by existing institutions. However, this is subject to the fulfilment of infrastructure availability, its readiness and filled faculty positions,” said TG Sitharam, AICTE chairperson.

Before the granting of approval to the increase in intake sought by the institution, the council will ascertain the infrastructure and faculty availability through an Expert Visit Committee (EVC).

While AICTE has allowed an increase in intake in engineering institutions across branches without a cap, a large number of seats in core engineering branches have remained vacant over the years, forcing many colleges to shut down these branches altogether. To address this issue, it has allowed a reduction of seats in core branches to prevent institutes from closing them down.

The handbook states that reduction in intake in “Core Branches” (like Agriculture Engineering, Automobile Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electronics and Communication Engineering, Electronics and Telecommunication, Food Technology, Industrial Engineering, Electronics Instrumentation, Mechanical Engineering, Metallurgy, Mining Engineering and Textile Engineering, etc.) shall be allowed to a maximum of 50% of previously “Approved Intake” (Not less than 30).

“Today, a large number of students have this perception that computer science and emerging technologies such as AI being in huge demand are the most sought-after. But, even core engineering disciplines even though the number of students opting for it is lesser, there is a demand in this sector across the industry and we want to boost the same. So, it is crucial that these branches are available in colleges across the country,” said Sitharam.

Given the popularity of core engineering has been fading among students, the AICTE had in last year’s approval process asked new colleges to offer core discipline programmes with emerging tech courses to boost the intake, and according to the council, there was a slight rise in the number of students opting for core branches post the decision. It also put a caveat to the new applicants saying they will have to apply for at least three core engineering courses besides one multidisciplinary and another region-specific course to set up a new engineering college.

In another major change this year, the council has decided to bring undergraduate (UG) courses in Computer Applications (BCA) and Management (BBA/BMS) in general/non-technical institutions under the umbrella of AICTE to “ensure coordinated development in technical and management education.”

According to officials, the decision was taken, as these courses were not being regulated at the UG level. The AICTE has so far been regularising management and computer applications courses only at the postgraduate (PG) level. “This has been done to ensure the quality of the courses being run across these institutions,” a senior official said.

Also, the council has decided to give a provision for ‘Extension of Approval’ for up to three years for “well-performing” institutions provided they meet the given criteria. Currently, every technical education institute has to reapply for approval every year.

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