Trend of seats remaining vacant due to lack of demand was noticed in past few years but this trend has become a major issue in last three years. In academic session 2013-14, around 4.62 lakh seats remained vacant in several engineering and polytechnic institutes affiliated to All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). During the review meeting of the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship with PM Narendra Modi, the idea to use infrastructure of government, private and corporate sector for imparting vocational training in a shift system was raised and discussed.
As per the data received, Andhra Pradesh topped the list of states with highest number of vacant seats in engineering and technology institutes with 1,09,354 seats followed by Tamil Nadu (81,365 seats), Maharashtra (48,531) and Uttar Pradesh (43,291). Another problem which arose was idle infrastructure of these institutes and the financial viability getting disturbed.
Keeping the issue of seats remaining vacant in mind, government is taking a further step in this regard by developing an innovative strategy to use somewhere around 4.5 lakh engineering and polytechnic seats that stay vacant every year to teach skill training courses. The three main aim of the plan are : firstly to curb the gap skills, secondly to offer options for youth who falls out of any kind of professional or academic training and lastly to make proper use of the infrastructure in polytechnic and engineering colleges where seats remain vacant.
Senior officials from skill development ministry have held many rounds of meetings with officers in the department of higher education and AICTE regarding the same. Chairman of AICTE has accepted and given nod to the proposal.
Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister for skill development and entrepreneurship has written to HRD minister Smriti Irani to scrap the ‘condition of exclusivity’ of AICTE approved institutions so as to allow teaching of skill development courses at these centres. Rudy in his letter has also mentioned, “This will serve the dual purpose of enhancing capacity for skill training without further investment, and promoting optimal utilization of surplus infrastructure.”
Switzerland is interested in increasing its tie-ups with India in fields of skill training and education initiatives by setting up four or more centres throughout India. Recently Punjab University also launched skill development programs for its non teaching staff. Punjab Government is also planning to set up 50 colleges along with 2000 skill training centres to boost up women empowerment.