With a sharp drop in the number of takers, 13 professional colleges under the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad (JNTUH) have decided to shut shop from 2019-20 academic year. Among those that applied for closure, four are MBA colleges while the remaining are B. Tech institutes. The move is expected to reduce the seat count in technical institutions by 5,000.

College managements said it was no longer feasible to offer traditional courses such as electrical, civil, mechanical and electronics engineering as just about 40% of the seats were filled up in these branches as opposed to the 60 per cent in computer science engineering.

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“Unless the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) allows colleges to convert the capacity of traditional courses into new emerging courses, it is not possible to run these institutes,” said Srini Bhupalam, vice president, All India Federation of Self Financing Technical Institutions.

Referring to recommendations made by an AICTE formed committee in 2017-18, he said that none of those have been implemented till now. “When the intake of traditional courses is less, it makes sense to offer other courses in artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, data science, cyber security, robotics, etc,” he said, adding that the courses are in great demand.

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Also, with AICTE now following a stringent mechanism to identify duplication of faculty, colleges that earlier used this method to tackle faculty shortage are unwilling to take risks, said officials. “Colleges often resorted to duplication of faculty to falsely project that they had the necessary faculty strength and thereby kept some courses going.

But now, with AICTE asking for Aadhaar details of faculty members, there is a risk of being caught,” said KVK Rao, general secretary, All India Engineering Colleges. Rao said that more than 50 per cent of the faculty working in technical colleges was duplicated.

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Registrar N Yadaiah said the university had also received a request to discontinue 35 B. Tech and 90 M. Tech courses. “Last year, we gave nod to a college to start a course in AI and data science, but the response was poor.

Unless the staff has the expertise to teach the subject, it makes no sense to start new programmes,” said Yadaiah, adding that closure of colleges will not have any impact as the number of seats available is still more than required. #KhabarLive