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Enrolment in Engineering Colleges down by more than 20% in 7 years


Engineering, which was once, a sought after course is witnessing a continuous decrease in demand so much so that the enrolment is down by more than 20% in the last 7 years.


Recently, the debate over the approval of technical education institutes in India was rekindled amidst reports of dwindling market for engineering. There have been reports saying AICTE will not be approving new colleges for engineering from 2020 onwards while pharmacy institutes have seen a rise.

The total number of technical education institutes has increased from 10,272 in 2012-13 to 10,778 in 2019-20, an increase of 4.9%. But has the trend been the same for each of the program offered? We take a look at Engineering institutes in this story.

AICTE & Technical Education Institutes

Technical education in India consists of Engineering and Technology, Management courses, MCA, Pharmacy, Architecture, Planning, Designing, Applied Arts and Craft and Hotel Management and Catering courses in UG, PG and Diploma levels. These courses and institutes offering them are regulated and monitored by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE),  the national-level Apex Advisory Body set up in 1945.

As per the latest data on the AICTE portal, in the current academic year 2019-20, there are a total of 10,778 institutes in India offering these technical courses with an intake of around 3.25 million. Of this, 6143 are engineering institutes and 2579 are pharmacy institutes with an intake of 2.53 million and 2,66,078 respectively.

Number of Institutes: Engineering & Management down, Pharma up

From the data on the number of institutes offering various across years, it can be concluded that while the number of institutes offering applied arts and craft, architecture and that of hotel management and catering have remained more or less the same, the number of institutes of management and MCA has come down drastically.

In the case of engineering, a continuous increase was seen both in the number of institutes and intake up to 2016-17 after which there is a gradual dip. This can be attributed to the reducing demand for these courses. Meanwhile, the demand for pharmacy has gone up considerably. The number of colleges, intake and enrolment speak of this. There is a significant increase in the number of institutes since 2016-17, coinciding with the decrease in demand for the other courses. Currently, Tamil Nadu has the maximum number of engineering and technology institutes in the country with 991 institutes spread across the state while Uttar Pradesh has the largest number of pharmacy institutes with 770 institutes.

Engineering and Technology – Enrolment down by more than 20% in 7 years

As per the latest data available on AICTE website, for the academic year 2019-20, the intake has reduced by 1.76 lakh seats compared to 2018-19, a decrease of 6.5%. It has to be noted that on an average, actual enrolments account for only 55% of the total intake.

In terms of actual enrolment, the situation is much worse. The enrolments in ‘Engineering & Technology’ institutions went down from 17.53 lakh in 2012-13 to 13.84 lakh in 2018-19, a reduction of more than 20% in 7 years.  

Number of Girls opting Engineering down 40% in 7 years

The decrease in engineering enrolment was much steeper in the case of girl students. From a high of 5.63 lakh girl students who enrolled in 2012-13, the number has dropped to 3.35 lakh in 2018-19, a drop of close to 40%. Of the total students who enrol for engineering, it is also concerning to note that only 25% of them are girls. In 2012-13, their share was 32% after which it has decreased to around 25%.

The placement data on the AICTE website also doesn’t paint a great picture. Available data suggests that only an average of 40 per cent of the total number of engineering graduates is getting placed. There may of course be students who opt out of placements, but even then, the total number is much less than desired. The credibility of this data is also questionable.

North-West, South-Central & Western regions see substantial reduction in the number of institutes

The categorisation of the regions has been done as per the AICTE regional committees. The list of states covered in each region is given in the annual report of AICTE.

The overall decrease in the number of engineering institutes can be attributed to the steep fall in the number of engineering institutes since 2015 in the North-West region (Delhi, Haryana Punjab, Rajasthan etc.), South Central region (Andhra Pradesh & Telangana) and the Western region (Maharashtra & Goa).  Meanwhile, in Eastern (West Bengal, Odisha, NE States, Jharkhand) and Northern regions (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar & Uttarakhand), there is a stark increase in the engineering institutes. The other regions witnessed only a slight decrease.  

All the numbers discussed above – reduction in intake, number of colleges, enrolment- depict the decreasing demand for engineering- which was once the most sought after course in India. Some of the states where engineering education proliferated in the last decade are now seeing a reduced demand.

While this is the case with engineering and technology, the trend in pharmacy is totally different. We will look at the numbers related to Pharmacy in another story.

Featured Image: Enrolment in Engineering Colleges


About Author

A bachelor’s degree in mathematics and master’s in social science, she is driven by ardent desire to work with this unique combination to create her own path instead of following the herd. Having served a stint as the college union chairperson, she is a strategist who is also passionate about nature conservation, art and loves solving Sudoku.

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