The Hush Post|2:30 pm|one-minute-read|
About 85 per cent of the engineering seats in the private colleges in Himachal Pradesh are vacant.
Out of a total of 3,241 seats, which includes 964 seats in government collegese and 2,237 in private colleges, 63.9 per cent are vacant.
While six government engineering colleges saw 86 per cent intake with 830 out of 964 seats getting filled, there were barely any takers for courses offered by nine private colleges as only 14.3 per cent (320 out of 2,237) seats were filled. This is as per a news report which appeared in the Tribune.
The reasons for low occupancy is low paid faculty in these colleges. Many colleges pay as less as Rs 30,000 to their faculty members. Though senior faculty members do get close to Rs 1 lakh a month. Apart from it, the fee is high and campus placement is almost zero.
Trades such as electronic, electrical and automobile, a rage till a few years ago, are no longer in the reckoning.
Himachal Pradesh Technical University (HPTU), the main affiliating and regulatory body for institutions running technical and professional courses in the state, has made it clear to private institutions that mere physical infrastructure is not enough and that qualified and well-paid faculty are mandatory for running engineering courses.
Rather than reduce the number of seats, the government has lowered merit and allowed admissions through HP Combined Entrance Test and Class 12 examination merit, defeating the very purpose of ensuring quality education and uniformity in standards, say sources.
Private colleges charge between Rs 45,000 and Rs 57,000 per semester for BTech, compared to Rs 30,000 in government colleges. “Students are shying away from engineering courses as there are no jobs even after spending Rs 4 lakh to Rs 5 lakh,” says Suresh, who left the course after two semesters.
Mot of these students, particularly from private college get jobs worth Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per month. Many have to remain without a job for a long time.
There is a clear shift towards traditional arts, commerce, science and management courses as 100 per cent seats have been filled. “Government jobs are still the top priority for students as their focus is on preparation for competitive examinations,” says Prof Sikender Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, Himachal Pradesh University.
Mismatch between enrolment and employment rate due to opening of private institutions without assessing employment opportunities is also leading to low intake.