Union ministry of human resources and development, which constituted a review committee to revamp the University Grants Commission a couple of months ago, constituted a four-member panel under MK Shaw, ex-secretary, MHRD, a fortnight ago to (order dated Oct 22) 'restructure and strengthen' All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and the technical education sector. The committee is expected to submit its report within six months.
MHRD feels AICTE, like the UGC, too is incompetent and needs to be restructured as per the vision of the BJP government.
The ministry thinks AICTE had failed to curb commercialization of technical education as well as ensure the standard of the sector, two prime objectives in setting up the regulator in 1987.
AICTE controls almost all professional courses including engineering, technology, management, MCA and pharmacy. The Supreme Court revoked its power to regulate MBA and MCA courses last year, ruling that these were not under the purview of the council.
Controversies are nothing new to AICTE. It has been blamed for its "liberal approach" to approving colleges leading to mushrooming of private institutes, lowering the quality of education. An Assocham report a couple of years ago had said only 25% of the engineering graduates in India were employable.
AICTE chairman SS Mantha was unavailable for comment. A MHRD official said: "This is supposed to be a step towards restructuring higher education bodies that have been under-performing, a long pending demand of educationists."
AICTE has been dragged to courts many times for its (controversial) approval and revoking process. Courts have nailed the regulator many times and have even imposed fines at least twice.