Introducing Open admissions
Recently, the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) proposed to the government to introduce an open admission system for diploma courses to increase gross enrolment ratio in polytechnic Engineering colleges across the state, to “revamp the admission policy” after witnessing the “considerable decrease” in the enrolment ratio since the past few academic sessions.
While revamping the admission policy, can we maintain the quality technical education? I think if this question would be posed to academicians, the answer will be NO!
Presently how to maintain quality technical education is now a great concern to everyone. As we all are familiar with this fact that the sphere of Technical education has been marked by a phenomenal expansion during the last few decades across the globe, but here in J&K state, we all have witnessed the shattering experience of our technical education. As here every 10th class pass out student got admitted in a Polytechnic institute, whether it may be a Private or Government institute. The candidates, who are appearing in entrance examination, didn’t need any self-exile, or any other intense sacrifice to crack the entrance examination, conduct by J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examination (J&K-BOPEE). Because the intake capacity of seats for Diploma Engineering programmes is more than application forms received for entrance examination. From couple of years, there was also a huge decline in cut off merit, as the candidate’s with 10 points got admitted in Diploma Engineering programme in Government and Private Polytechnic Colleges.
After getting admission, only 30% students complete their academic credits, but majority of them are waiting how and when backlog examinations will be conducted. The reason behind their failure is that, they have entered by chance in Diploma Engineering programme and their academic base is of low standard. Recently, while discussing the same issue with an Assistant Professor of an Engineering department, he said “we got some answer scripts from J&K State Board of Technical Education (SBOTE), of Diploma Engineering students for evaluation and majority of students failed. Even if someone passed he got only pass percentage with low grade”. However, the Professor clearly put the blame on Government’s wrong policy on eligibility criteria, as 10thstandard students didn’t properly showing their mettle in Diploma Engineering programmes. He also shows his dissatisfaction that some state Universities, Private Polytechnic Engineering colleges, which are running the Diploma Engineering programmes, didn’t properly met with the demand for Practical’s, and workshops.
In 2012 the NC-Congress led coalition Government has played a Political stunt, while giving a nod for polytechnic colleges for every district, in which most of them are still running in CGI made sheds. Some Private polytechnics have a concrete buildings, but the infrastructure, teaching faculty and Lab’s met hard. Recently a student from Master-pro polytechnic College Nowgam Srinagar had shared his shattering experience of his college via email.“In every month faculty is changed by which we couldn’t clear our syllabus till our semester examination. Sometimes the tutor had not a proper qualification to teach the subject. While posing him some basic questions from his core subjects, he failed to answer them. When I tell him regarding some practical’s, he vehemently refuted to answer and said, our batch had not met with such a practical’s.
The present state of infrastructure in most Private Polytechnic Engineering colleges is pathetic. The State authorities are always beating the drums to rejuvenate Technical Education sector across the state, but all tall claims fall flat. On one hand the state Government is converting colleges into Cluster Universities, approving more degree colleges like Anganwadi Centers for higher studies, but on the other side our Technical Education sector is in pathetic state. The Diploma Engineering courses came into being years back, but still functioning in a pathetic way. Our Polytechnic Engineering colleges, whether private or Government, didn’t provide quality based education, as the government is giving registration to shopping malls to run Diploma Engineering Programmes.Which seems that there is some unholy nexus between the trustees and owners with the Government.
The initiatives taken by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for upliftment of Technical education programmes, aims to upscale and support the ongoing efforts to improve quality of technical education and enhancing existing capacities of the institutions to become dynamic, demand-driven, quality conscious, efficient and forward looking, responsive to rapid economic and technological developments occurring both at national and international levels. The initiatives under Technical education programme was conceived and designed as a long term project to be implemented to support excellence and transformation in Technical Education in the country. But irony is that majority of our Polytechnic College sans such basic facilities at gross-root level.
Dynamism is an essential feature of the individual lives and hence of nations. In order to meet new challenges in present technical era, it is imperative to respond critically and bring in changes. If we want to maintain the quality in Technical education, we have to stop the unplanned expansion of Technical education and the crazy rush of Polytechnic colleges. To overcome on this failure of our Technical Education, the Government must cancel the registration of such colleges, which has nowadays becoming a corporate sectors, who had been clearly failed to giving the quality education to Students enrolled in there institutes. The authorities must wake up and take appropriate action on ground, whether these private Polytechnics and Government Polytechnic Colleges are following the norms laid by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) or not.
The Government must revise its policy and bring some changes in eligibility criteria, so that those candidates, who have qualified the secondary examination with 50% marks, must be eligible for entrance examination. The Jammu & Kashmir Board of Professional Entrance Examination (JK-BOPEE) which is governing body for conducting the entrance examination for Diploma Engineering Programmes, must change the previous entrance test paper pattern and they should come with a negative marking type paper pattern with different series of question papers, so that meritorious students got selected. The intake capacity of seats at Diploma level should be minimised in both Government as well as for Private Polytechnic Colleges and lateral entry quota at Bachelors level in state Universities must be increased. At present there are only 5 Lateral Entry seats in our State Universities.
The Hon’ble Chancellor, Pro-Chancellor, Advisor to Hon’ble Governor for Higher and Technical Education, Chairman JK-BOPEE, Controller of Examination JK-BOPEE, Hon’ble Vice-Chancellors of different varsities, Registrar’s and Deans of different varsities along with whole administrative machinery, must conduct a meeting and discuss the issue, so that it would help to provide potential students an opportunity to strive for Technical Education, so that our institutes will become dynamic and demand drawn. Though there are many other ways to improve quality in Technical education. But these are some suggestions and I hope the concerned authorities will find these suggestions valuable.
(Shah Khalid is a freelance Journalist, having a Diploma in Journalism & Mass Communication from MANUU Hyderabad, and is presently Pursuing Electrical Engineering at IUST Awantipora)