Falling standards and deficiencies in several engineering colleges in the State has prompted the APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU) to mull stringent measures including withdrawing affiliation and imposing restrictions on sanctioning new courses.
A recent academic audit that was undertaken by the university had thrown up a measure of the lack of facilities in many colleges. The colleges were classified on a scale of 1-5 (1 referring to below average and 5 excellent) based on various parameters. As many as 37 engineering colleges figured in the ‘average’ category (two points), while 10 institutions fell in the lowest band.
While most of these were self-financing colleges, two institutions run by the Cooperative Academy of Professional Education (CAPE) and the Centre for Continuing Education Kerala (CCEK) also fell in the former grouping.
While none of the 142 affiliated colleges were rated as ‘excellent’, most government and aided colleges figured in the ‘very good’ category, having secured four points. All others were graded as ‘good’ with three points.
The colleges that fared poorly in the audit were found to flout various guidelines laid down by the AICTE including the teacher-student ratio of 1:20. Besides, only a few among the teaching faculty were found to satisfy the mandatory qualification of M.Tech that is required for the job. These institutions were also found to lack in infrastructural facilities, including laboratory equipment.
The Academic Council of the varsity decided to seek explanation from the institutions that performed poorly in the audit. Colleges that did not possess the prescribed faculty qualification index will be directed to address shortcomings immediately.
A delegation of university officials led by the Vice Chancellor will soon inspect the 10 ‘below average’ colleges. The council also decided that colleges that continued to fare poorly and failed to rectify the deficiencies need not be recommended for extension of affiliation.
The council has also decided to impose strict norms while sanctioning new courses for colleges in the State. Application of colleges that have obtained accreditation by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) for at least one of their courses will only be considered for the purpose. Currently, only 30 engineering colleges possessed NBA accreditation in the State.
Besides, new courses will be sanctioned only for those colleges that witnessed admissions to at least 50% of their total seats during the last three years. For new M.Tech courses, the corresponding B.Tech course will have to be accredited.
Only those courses that are deemed job-oriented and ‘industry relevant’ will be sanctioned henceforth. A four-member academic committee, convened by the Pro-Vice Chancellor, has been constituted to evolve courses based on the demands of the job market. Curriculum committees that comprise teachers and industry experts will also be formed.
The Academic Council has also proposed to introduce a review mechanism in the revaluation process of answer scripts. While the existing norms prescribe only one revaluation in the undergraduate programme, students will be provided with a chance to review the outcome, subject to certain conditions. The panel also decided to consider DVoc vocational diploma holders for lateral entry to engineering courses.