Let's start with some facts:
First, AICTE swoops down on institutions offering programs in engineering, issuing them a notice demanding that they get its approval by March 7, or else. The students panic, go to their respective college or university administrations, and seek a clarification about meaning of this AICTE notice. When they don't get a straight answer -- or worse, when they do get one, with all its nasty implications -- they organize protests, some of which lead to violence. Things get pretty rough, particularly at Sathyabama and SRM (both deemed universities).
Right now, there is a lull on the streets, and the tussle between AICTE and the colleges/universities is being fought in the courts. Both the parties are are plotting their next legal moves. The colleges are set to reopen soon.
In the meantime, a student of Satyabama is reported to have commiteed suicide.
- Several people have already commented on the timing of AICTE notices. From Badri's post, it appears that the institutions were issued these notices a long time ago, but the notices were stayed by a court, and the stay order was revoked sometime in October of 2005. So, this issue has been simmering for a while, and appears to have reached a flash point only now. It's not clear if AICTE did anything to make it flare up last month, but I don't see anything untoward in AICTE's actions; being a bureaucracy, it's (probably) just following routine procedures.
- I don't think there is any dispute about how, after they obtained the 'deemed university' status, these institutions expanded their intake of students by as much as 5 times and introduced new programs. Their case that their status as Deemed Universities gives them these rights -- and that they are not fettered by other regulatory authorities such as AICTE -- is utterly laughable. From a legal viewpoint, AICTE is on a strong wicket; except, of course, that the legal process may yet be subverted.
- If AICTE does prevail, the institutions and their managers must be given strong, exemplary punishments. However, their students -- victims, really -- must be allowed to transfer to other institutions. Both are unlikely.
- I expect the market for engineering programs is not going to be a sellers' one next year.
- Finally, the highly deplorable role of UGC -- the organization that granted these less-than-stellar institutions the status of a Deemed University -- must come under harsh scrutiny. I don't know who will do it, but I certainly don't see our mainstream media doing it. Sigh!