India might lose over 20,000 management seats this year
It's not only engineering colleges that are in trouble. More than 100 business schools offering MBA have applied for permission to shut down in 2017-18. Thirty-seven of these, the highest from one state, are from UP, followed by 10 each from Maharashtra and Karnataka. Combined, 21,000 management seats are at risk. Increasingly vacant seats and a dip in campus placements have hit colleges hard.
Management institutes increasingly shutting down every year
The number of management institutes shutting down has been increasing. In 2015-16, 66 stopped operations, and 76 more closed the next year. The 101 institutes that applied for closure last year have roughly 10,000 seats combined. Many others have applied for shutting down their management courses, accounting for another 11,000 seats. AICTE recognizes about 3,000 management institutes across the country.
What's going wrong for so many colleges?
Reasons for shutting down are myriad. Some specializations have seen a reduction in demand, along with a simultaneous increase in number of deemed and state private universities. Then there are some which are "unable to fulfil the norms and standards set by regulators with the revenue generated through fee structures prescribed by state governments," a senior AICTE official said.
Automation cutting jobs, but no simultaneous creation of opportunities
Job offers on campus, widely considered an essential part of management courses, have been declining too. In 2016-17, only 47% of 1,50,000 MBA graduates across India got campus placements, a five-year low. "Entry-level jobs are being boxed out due to AI and automation. At the same time, jobs requiring higher-order skills are created but are small in number," explained SS Mantha, former AICTE chairman.
Government still optimistic, calls such voluntary closure a 'good thing'
The government insists there's nothing to worry. "We want to emphasize on good quality education and not just numbers. It is good if substandard institutions are voluntarily shutting down," said R Subrahmanyam, Secretary (higher education), HRD. "At the same time, we have taken several steps to improve quality such as mentorship for accreditation, curriculum reform, teacher training, induction program for students and industry association."