The skill development department has made an impressive comeback by increasing the admission in the polytechnic colleges across J&K from last one year.
From the past many years, the admissions in the government polytechnic colleges witnessed a dwindling trend due to the poor response of the students for the admissions in these technical institutes.
These colleges offer admissions to 20 different courses. However, a downslide in admission over the past four years had posed a challenge for the department to keep these institutes functional.
The admission in these colleges had come down from 64.22 percent in 2014 to 35.77 percent in 2018. Against the intake capacity of 3505 students in government polytechnics only 2364 seats were filled in 2014 while as in 2018 only 1575 students approached for admission in these institutes.
In the wake of this downward trend three polytechnic colleges were closed in the state, two in Jammu and one in Kashmir.
However, from past one year these colleges have shown a significant improvement in the admissions as over 70 percent of the seats were filled in the last admission session which was held in June-July month. The skill development department showed the improvement in the admissions amid the pandemic situation due to which all the educational institutions and technical institutes continue to remain closed in view of COVDI-19 lockdown.
It is obviously the outcome of the hard work done by the Principals and their team of these polytechnic colleges which remained proactive in reaching out to students to get their admissions in these institutes.
In the last admission session, around 70 percent seats were filled after the admission process was completed. It was an improvementar by around 35-40 percent of admission in these polytechnic institutes as compared to previous years.
The improvement in admissions was an outcome of the government decision wherein the principals of the polytechnic colleges were empowered to provide admissions to the students at institute level.
Earlier, the admission was done through an entrance conducted by J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE) due to which all the seats would remain unfilled in these polytechnic institutes. After persistent demand from the erstwhile technical education department, the government decided to revamp the education policy for the polytechnic institutes and took over the control from BOPEE for holding entrance of students for their admission in these technical institutes.
The admission powers were given to the Board of Technical Education (BOTE).
At present there are around 29 polytechnic colleges including seven private and 22 run by the government. Out of the 22 polytechnic colleges, one each has been taken over by the management of Islamic University of Science and Technology and Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (GBSBU) Rajouri.
The total intake capacity in private polytechnic colleges is 2140 while the intake in government polytechnic colleges is 3225 excluding the two polytechnic colleges run by IUST and GBSBU.
Meanwhile, besides the improvement in admissions, the skill development department has also shown progress in the upgrading of infrastructure of the polytechnic colleges across J&K Union Territory (UT).
Around a decade ago, around 18 new polytechnic colleges were approved for J&K. But owing to the slow pace of constructions and other obstacles, the department failed to made these institutes functional on time prompting the authorities in AICTE to bar 14 of these 16 new polytechnic colleges from making fresh admissions as the enrolment had come down from 64 to 35 percent in 4 years.
The decision was taken as authorities failed to complete establishment of permanent campuses of these institutes after approval to them by union human resource development ministry in 2010.
These colleges were approved under a centrally sponsored scheme – Coordinated Action on Skill Development. As per the government of India norms, the AICTE would reduce the admission intake capacity by 50 percent for the college owing to the department’s failure to shift an institute to permanent campus in the third year.
A norm was set that in case these colleges continue to function from rented accommodations for more than four years, then the institutes are placed under ‘No Admission’ category by AICTE.
But from last one year, the department has worked hard on establishing permanent campuses for the students enrolled in polytechnic colleges and students of over 10 polytechnic colleges have been shifted to the newly constructed permanent campuses.
The work on these polytechnic colleges remained suspended for several years due to which the further execution of the project faced hurdles due to cost escalation. Later the projects were approved under the scheme of languishing projects. Work on 12 colleges has been approved under languishing projects.
From past one year, the department has done a tremendous job in improving the admission and infrastructure of these polytechnic institutes. The whole system has been revamped by the government in these polytechnic colleges to benefit the students who secure admission in these technical institutes.
The achievements marked by the department in one year are completely praise worthy and the department should work with same zeal to bring reforms in the skill development institutes.
However, the department also needs to focus on the vacant teaching positions in these technical institutes which need to be filled as early as possible.
The students of these institutes should not remain dependent on the guest faculty but they should get the permanent faculty in these institutes.
Like the government has shown improvement in admission and improving infrastructural standards, it should also shift its focus on making recruitment to have permanent teaching faculty in these technical institutes.
The students remain deprived of the permanent teachers due to the dearth of permanent teaching faculty in polytechnic institutes. The government should put in efforts to overcome the dearth of teaching faculty in the polytechnic colleges.