Indian professional education is clearly at the crossroads. Even a decade ago, technical courses like engineering, architecture and medicine had first preference and saw beelines outside their campuses. In the last two years though, the tables have turned. And now, there is a double whammy—students in a large way have rejected many colleges, some top ones among them, and the government is taking steps to close down colleges that have either not been able to fill up their seats or those who provide sub-standard education.
Last December, the HRD ministry was looking at closing down 300 private engineering colleges. Most of them had less than 30 per cent student enrolments in the last five years. Worse, over 150 such colleges struggled to fill even 20 per cent of their seats. Another 200-300 colleges were likely to wilt under the government’s glare for similar reasons—many would be asked to shut shop. In the previous two years, between 120 and 150 engineering colleges were shut down.