Private tech colleges in state totter

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While one of the focus areas of Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit 2013 was knowledge-sharing through partnership with foreign education institutes, technical colleges back home are tottering to collapse.

In the past two years, as many as 36 non-technical and technical self-financed colleges had to down shutters in Gujarat, mainly because of unavailability of students.

Self-financed degree engineering and pharmacy colleges had mushroomed in Gujarat in the last decade to tap into the aspirations of students who earlier had to go to other states for technical education.

"Rule of survival of the fittest is applicable here. Thirty-six colleges, including 21 technical ones, have shut shop in the past two years," Minister of State for Education Vasuben Trivedi said. "Location, fees and unavailability of students were major reasons," she added.

The state government has issued no-objection certificates to all these colleges that applied for closing down.

In the current academic year, as many as 8,505 seats in degree engineering colleges are lying vacant in the state, which has a total of 118 degree engineering colleges, including government and self-financed, collectively offering 55,726 seats.

In Ahmedabad district that has the maximum number (14) of degree engineering colleges, there were no takers for 314 seats.

Similarly, Vadodara's nine colleges had 656 out of their total 5,250 seats vacant. In Surat, 234 seats remained vacant.

Education department officials say many more colleges may find it difficult to remain in the business once the admission process for the next academic year is over in a few months.

They, however, say there are exceptions, like civil engineering, which is still attracting students in hordes. "Due to the overall ongoing development in the state, the civil engineering course, despite offering more seats, is still a favourite," the minister said.

The state of colleges offering diplomas in engineering is also not good. Of the total 57,158 seats available in 104 such colleges in Gujarat, only 52,333 were filled last year.

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