Pune: The new All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) rule of 1:20 students to faculty ratio from the academic year 2018-19 has put engineering college faculty in the line of fire.
With the implementation of the rule, 25 per cent of professors are likely to be laid off from engineering colleges, resulting in shutting down of 2/3rd of the colleges in the next five years, claims an association of the faculty. On the contrary, AICTE officials claimed that this move will ensure more jobs to professors. There are about four lakh professors registered with AICTE. Many institutions have interpreted the new rule as injustice to the teaching staff, resulting in untimely lay offs.
“The decision will directly impact professors as several were terminated in the past few months as the decision came late last year. The 1:20 ratio means a straight cut in faculty since the demand will reduce. Moreover, it will overburden professors, which in turn will hamper the quality of education. Students will depend on coaching classes, as teachers will fail to give extensive attention on an individual basis,” said KM Karthik, President of All India Private College Employees Association.
“Also, this decision will impact job creation, as colleges will have more than required applications for the job. By this, private colleges will exploit needy job seekers by paying them less salary,” said Narayan Marathe, Professor of Electronics at Walchand College of Engineering, Sangli.
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by the association, stating that the new student-faculty ratio will create a defective education system.
Students presently opting for Bachelor of Engineering or Bachelor of Technology or other technical education will not opt for it in future due to inadequate number of teachers at engineering colleges. The hearing will take place on March 9.
Meanwhile, according to top sources is that the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) had disclosed that after the introduction of Aadhaar, it was revealed that there were as many as 80,000 ‘ghost’ teachers across the country on January 5, 2018. However, the association has challenged this data, stating that if 80,000 faculties are fake then the real number of staff employed may be much lesser than the required numbers as imposed by AICTE.
A recent survey conducted by the team of AICTE found out that 80 per cent of engineering colleges showed false information about their existing faculty.
Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman of AICTE, said, “Technically the existing rule allows 1:15 teacher and student ratio, whereas during the survey we found out many colleges practising 1:30 or 1:35. This meant these colleges have shown bogus teacher numbers to AICTE. Therefore to prevent such malpractices, AICTE has decided to set the bar of minimum 1:20 teacher and students ratio.”
“It is a misinterpretation that we are cutting down on the staff. Instead, it will create job opportunity for many in colleges which have frozen recruitments,” added Sahasrabudhe.
A day before the hearing in the Supreme Court, AICTE has issued a letter clarifying that student faculty ratio of 1:20 is the minimum requirement based on AICTE approved intake and nothing prevents the institution to have more teaching faculty over and above the ratio prescribed.
“It is welcomed if any institute wants to have student to faculty ratio of 1:10, 1:15 but not exceeding 1:20 ratio,” said Sahasrabudhe.
The letter mentions that ‘no AICTE approved institution will cut down on their existing teaching staff due to revision in student faculty ratio norms. Excess teaching staff, if any should be adjusted in a phased manner against the attrition, superannuation, resignation, etc. in due course,” he said.