The All India Council for Technical Education’s (AICTE’s) list of unapproved institutions has grown three-fold in the past five years. AICTE, the country’s technical education regulator, has brought out a list of 327 unapproved institutions on its website. The numbers stood at 104 in the year 2007.
AICTE says there are institutions which operate without its permission. The council, to inform the public about the institute's dubious status, brings out the unapproved list of institutions.
“We issue showcause notices to the unapproved business schools, asking them to explain their stand. We also inform the respective state governments to take action. But sitting in Delhi, I cannot go and raid some institutions in some other state. We also cannot stop the state government from giving approvals,” said S S Mantha, chairman, AICTE.
AICTE has a separate division which keeps a track of advertisements and reports and takes note of unapproved institutions. It also gets references from government and its vigilance department against B-schools and other institutions.
“We cannot tell people not to take admission in such institutions. We just make a list of the same and tell the people these institutes have not been approved by AICTE. In spite of that, if the public goes and joins these institutes, it’s their problem. We send a copy of the same to the state government concerned. State government also has to take responsibility,” added Mantha.
Why is the number of unapproved institutions going up?
A primary reason, say industry players, is the increase in the number of B-schools itself. India has nearly 4,000 B-schools, more than 95 per cent of them privately run, with a seat capacity of 3,50,000. This year alone, 134 private management institutes have sought AICTE’s permission to close due to lack of students. Another prominent reason is AICTE's lack of teeth to take action against unapproved institutions and the confidence of B-schools on placing students.
“Many new B-schools do not want to seek AICTE's permission to operate, as they do not see any benefit in seeking its approval. B-schools are able to get a good number of students as they ensure placements. Students are happy about getting placed,” said Premchand Palety, the chief executive of Centre for Forecasting and Research, an organisation that does an annual ranking of B-schools.
While the Indian School of Business (ISB) at Hyderabad is a regular defaulter, according to AICTE, other B-schools which figure on the list this year include international affiliates like — Canada's Schulich School of Business, at Hyderabad and MISB Bocconi, at Powai, Mumbai.
ISB says it has not applied for approval to the AICTE, as its one-year post-graduate programme does not fall under the ambit of the latter’s.
AICTE regulates B-schools which provides a two-year post-graduate programme in management.
“ISB is a Section 25 company that has been established as a world-class institution. While we have received an international accreditation, at the same time, we have been in touch with the AICTE over the years and have shared information whenever required by them,” says Sriram Gopalakrishnan, director, marketing and communications at the ISB. Currently, the school has over 4,200 PGP alumni and more than 13,000 executive education alumni spread across 25 countries.
An email to MISB Bocconi remained unanswered.
Another institution which prominently figures on the list is the ICFAI University. Three B-schools run by ICFAI been listed by AICTE as unapproved.
ICFAI says, “IBS, Gurgaon, and IBS, Kolkata, placed under the list of unapproved institutions, have approached the Delhi High Court and have obtained an order not to be shown in the list of unapproved institutions. On the same analogy, other IBS institutions will be writing to the AICTE in case they are placed in the list of unapproved institutions,” said Sudhakar Rao, director, ICFAI Group.
The institute adds that the blacklisting or being unapproved has not had any impact on the institute. “It is being patronised by the students, parents and guardians as in the past, which is evident from the number of admissions, carried out this year. Each year, there is an intake of about 4,000 students in the PGPM program in IBS campuses, across the country,” said Rao.
Does the blacklisting matter to the industry?
“Not really. As a recruiter, I look for people who can deliver. For junior managerial jobs and entry level operations, we have been recruiting from a few B-schools which are “unapproved” by AICTE and we do find the students good,” said the HR head of a Mumbai-based bank.
||No. of unapproved institutions
Reasons for not going in for AICTE approval
A primary reason, say industry players, is the increase in the number of B-schools itself. India has nearly 4,000 B-schools — more than 95 per cent of them privately run —with a seat capacity of 3.5 lakh. This year alone, around 134 private management institutes have sought AICTE’s permission to close due to lack of students.
Another prominent reason is AICTE's lack of teeth to take action against unapproved institutions and the confidence of B-schools on placing students.