Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technical University (APJAKTU) formerly known as Uttar Pradesh Technical University (UPTU) is situated in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. It provides technical/ professional education to lakhs of in Uttar Pradesh. There are about 30,000 teachers and 800+ institutes, which are affiliated by the University. It was established by the government of Uttar Pradesh on 8 May 2000, under Uttar Pradesh Adhiniyam Sankhya 23 of year 2000. Technical Education includes programs of education, research and training in engineering, technology, architecture, town planning, pharmacy, and other such programs.
Only 55.7% of seats in APJAKTU are vacant
Out of total capacity of 2.5 lakh, only about 1.25 lakh students take admissions every year to the colleges accredited by the APJAKTU.. In this article, we will look into reasons behind this condition and what steps university can take to improve it.
Following table shows the capacity utilization of seats in different programs by the colleges under APJAKTU. Overall, only 55.7% of seats are getting filled. Surprising and unfortunate to see that in programs in demand like B. Pharma, only 20% seats are getting filled.
Moreover many students drop out in between the program duration owing to reasons such as, they don’t find value in this education, they see unemployment of their seniors, who have passed out or they are unable to pay fees etc. Data show that less than 50% of the students who take admissions are graduating from the university. So, In total, there are two kinds of underutilization. First, available seats in APJAKTU are not getting filled and second, students leaving the colleges without completing courses. This means university is effectively working on less than 25% of its capacity. And this also leads to low revenue for the colleges and in turn for the university.
Why Seats in APJAKTU are not getting filled?
The major reason for low admissions in APJAKTU as cited by experts, is abysmal employment opportunities after graduating from The APJAKTU and minimal value addition by University education. Employment after graduation is a major factor in deciding university education. This becomes even more important in the context of India where family pours all kind of resources into kids education and naturally, one is expected to start earning immediately after graduation.
Those, who are getting placed, are also not happy with the offers. Salary packages offered often go as low as 10,000 Rs. per month which is ridiculous given the expenses one occurs to pursue the education. Kumud, a civil engineering graduate from known engineering College in Greater Noida says that she is facing extreme difficulty to get a respectable job opportunity. The University did not provide any support and she had to do everything on her own. She is now preparing for competitive exams and hoping to clear it soon. There are lakhs of students like her who have spent time and resource in the education from university but not to their satisfaction in terms of employment offered.
Opportunities available to a graduating student can broadly be classified into 5 categories:
- Lack of Employment opportunity in private sector
- Poor quality of Academia
- No support for Entrepreneurs:
- No Support for Competitive exams including civil services
Unfortunately the University has failed in providing good quality support in any of these categories. Let us now look into details of these categories.
1. Lack of Employment opportunity in private sector:
Jobs are the main drivers for undergoing a professional education. Currently there is no structured approach by APJAKTU to get students placed in companies. All the efforts are being carried out at college level and university does not provide any concrete support. “Due to absence of centralised placement cell at APJAKTU, only colleges, which are situated near capital city, get companies for placement. Companies’ feel reluctant to venture into colleges in hinterlands of Uttar Pradesh as reaching to those districts is tough and they are not sure, if they get enough candidates, who can pass through their screening process.", says education policy expert, Shantanu Gupta. So it’s clear that students lack various essential skills and remain uncompetitive in the job market.
Hence, there is an immediate need to set up a centralised placement cell at university level to provide support to college level placement cells. Students can be screened at their individual colleges based on industry requirement and then can be brought for centralized placement to Noida or Lucknow.
Relevant workshops for English and communication skills, presentation making skills etc. should be organised. Support should be provided to students for internships and certification courses also.
2. Poor quality of Academia:
Quality of teaching learning process is very sub standard barring in a few colleges. Students who are willing to go for higher studies are not provided with right research aptitude and opportunity in academic internships. Collaboration and exchange should be established with top-notch national and international institutions.
Some of the best professors fro IITs & IIMs can be roped in to take online sessions on key topics.
3. No support for Entrepreneurs:
There is no environment to nurture entrepreneurs in the colleges and APJAKTU does not seem to have any focus in this regard. Students should be incentivised to pursue entrepreneurial activities and be a job creator instead of a job seeker. University level entrepreneurship summit should be organised. This can act as a platform to connect Venture Capitalists and entrepreneurs. Students should also be connected to the alumni who can mentor them and nurture as a successful entrepreneur.
4. No Support for Competitive exams including civil services
Students should be provided with support to prepare for competitive exams. This can be in the form of interview preparation, improving verbal and communication skills and classes on aptitude.
All in all, there is no denial that current state of the University is unfortunate. Future of lakhs of students who are graduating every year is at high stake. University has shown least improvement in the past that can show us some ray of hope. Hence, a totally new structure needs to be adopted with suggested reforms in the article. This can be the only savior, which will be able to channelize the energy of graduating students in the right direction.
(Thanks to Shantanu Gupta & Prashant Yadav in helping in compiling this article)