Not just the lack of faculty, poor infrastructure is another major reason why students are opting out of the field. Engineering colleges in the country are turning into ghost campuses. The worrying situation of undergraduate engineering degree can be understood by the fact that 51 percent of the seats in the technical colleges were left vacant in 2016-2017. And, if you want to see the deteriorating position of engineering colleges, then the state of Haryana is a textbook example of what has gone wrong where 74% of the seats in colleges are left vacant.
Haryana’s Sonepat district is the education hub of the state and home to 17 engineering colleges as of 2016-17. But, now it deals with failed institutions with three colleges has closed down in this district in the last five years as per AICTE data. In Sonepat’s Shri Balwant Singh Institute of Technology (BSIT), 97% of its first-year seats are unfilled this academic session — 17 students against an intake of 540 BE/BTech seats. Almost one half of the campus remains inaccessible to students. A Computer Science student was quoted saying by The Indian Express that last August, the second-year students found that most of their teachers had left returned after they returned from their vacation. The college had then replaced the teachers with many fresh B.Tech graduates. This also violated the AICTE norm of entry-level teachers (assistant professor) to must have a postgraduate (ME/Tech) degree.
Like BSIT, Bharat Institute of Technology (BIT) also suffers the same fate. 89 per cent of the college’s 420 BTech seats are empty and the institute is surviving on revenue generated from the pharmacy college next door run by its parent group, Bharat Group of Institutions. “Many of these colleges came up in Sonepat. Its proximity to Delhi meant better job opportunities for the graduates,” says Bachan Singh, deputy director and registrar at Bharat Institute of Technology (BIT) was quoted saying by IE. The combination of poor student intake and poor placements have trapped institutes in a “vicious cycle”, says Vinod Dhar, who was in charge of the placement cell at SBIT for almost six years until he quit four years ago. “When companies visit a college campus for recruitment, they expect a pool of at least 150 to 200 students to choose from. Why would a company want to come to your campus when your batch of graduates is as small as 30 to 40? This is a big reason why colleges haven’t been able to attract companies now. This is also the reason why more and more institutes in Haryana are holding their placement drives together so that companies have a larger pool to choose from.”
Mohandas Pai, former Infosys board member and chairman of Manipal Global Education, said why IT companies, which are among the largest recruiters of engineers in the country, may have deserted colleges in Haryana. “Colleges in North India have a problem. People here are not taught to speak English. This (IT) is a global industry. If your communication skills are not strong, then the (job) opportunities will be less. So if you ask me, Haryana having a large number of vacant seats is not a surprise,” Pai was quoted by IE. According to IE reports, AICTE records show 17 institutes in the state being currently on the regulator’s radar for low admissions and run the risk of forced closure next year. This, again, is the third largest number after Maharashtra (26) and Andhra Pradesh (19) though Haryana has, at 58,551, half the number of engineering colleges as Maharashtra.