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Abstract: In a consumer driven society we live in today, Higher education is an investment. Students and their families are quiet discerning in making choices and the approach in making an enrollment decision is similar to any other consumer product. This is the fundamental cultural shift the institutes have to address. This case examines the declining trends in student enrolments in post graduate course in engineering and makes recommendations for reversing the trend.
Keywords:

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Introduction:

Case Presentation / Back ground 
Post graduate programmes were offered only by government institutions in the city of Mumbai. With the Liberalization Privatization and Globalization initiatives of the government  the regulators drastically shifted from their  earlier policy  of permitting institutes completing 10 years running an undergraduate programme to start post graduate programmes in engineering. This led to a proliferation of institutes offering post graduate programmes in engineering. In the year 2010 when the AICTE announced revised pay scales for teachers with a change in qualification requirements for entry level jobs as teachers with minimum prescribed qualification as Master of Engineering. This regulation did create a temporary demand for post graduate programmes as both existing and aspiring teachers rushed for enrolments to ME programmes but this temporary demand was not sustainable. In the year 2016 when the enrolment was at an all time low Government of Maharashtra came out with a regulation barring non GATE qualified students from pursuing  ME programmes. This regulation resulted in a downward spiral in enrolments leaving many institutes with almost no enrolments at all. Currently the government allows non GATE qualified candidates with minimum two years work experience to get enrolled under the sponsorship quota , However there are only very few seats under this quota.
Enrollment Trends
(Figure : Enrolment graphical representation . Total 54 seats every year)

A continuous decline in enrollments may have a long term impact like reduction in positions at the institute and availability of qualified faculty to teach undergraduate courses in the future.
Turnaround strategy
To turnaround the declining trends. The institute has to first build capacity by motivating undergraduate students to appear for the GATE examination as this is a mandatory requirement. Some efforts have been taken up by TCET in this regard by starting GATE coaching.
Rising tuition fees have resulted in  students opting for other traditional courses. Price sensitivity is identified as one of the factors which has resulted in drop in admissions. Cutting Price has been an impulsive decision taken by some  institutes to improve student enrolments. However this tactics will not work in the long run as there is an upswing in the infrastructure, maintenance, remuneration to teaching and non teaching staff at the institutes.
(Figure : Student success rate trends)
Continual quality improvement and ensuring student success rate will ensure positive word of mouth among the internal customers.
Suggestive Future work
Development of a marketing plan that includes research , assessment and planning . The first phase of this study would be to study the enrolment data , along with existing students completion and drop out rate. The second phase would involve understanding the perception of the stake holders viz. students, parents, teachers and recruiters. The third phase would involve suggesting application for  predictive modelling for strategic enrolment management.
Recommendations

Consider the needs

Focus group interviews revealed that students were interested in internships and on campus jobs during their study tenure. Students were also interested in placements after completion of the programme. Create provisions for on campus jobs and identify potential employers.

Expand your foot print in new areas 

Another area which needs to be addressed is the limited awareness about the institute among prospective students in the remote areas.

Increase advertising and branding outgoings

Hire a marketing agency to promote the programmes to potential students . Commit a full time position in marketing and enrollment. Enhance institute brand image. Design new marketing materials. Use social media extensively to create visibility. Fuel positive Word of Mouth from existing internal students. Conduct boot camps. Implement an aggressive and systematic follow up mechanism to convert enquiries to enrollment. Develop annual enrollment goals and monitor the admission funnel report.

Investigate possible tie ups

The engineering institutes which run only undergraduate programmes could be potential candidates.
Industries and organizations who desire to re skill or upgrade the qualifications of their existing employees can also be tapped.

Generate corpus funds/ donors for students who cannot afford the tuition fees.

7 Key Challenges in Engineering Education in India:

Challenge of Proficiency in Language: Students from remote areas have done most of their studies in their local language and even the brightest of them find it difficult to understand English. But engineering education is completely in English.
Challenge of Faculty Shortage: There is an acute shortage of faculty as per TEQIP (Technical Education Quality Improvement Project) Vision papers of December 2009.

Challenge of Lack in Absorbing Capacity: The classroom is a heterogeneous group of students whose marks range from as low as 40% to as high as 90%. Therefore, the absorbing capability of students is varied.

Challenge of Lesser Exposure to Reality: Technical subjects require that students be exposed to examples of the use of engineering principles as applicable in real life. This exposure is very limited at present.

Challenge of Lesser Industry Interaction: Colleges try to organize Industrial visits for students to increase industry interactions, but it is rare and not as effective as it should be, especially in colleges in rural areas.

Challenge in Employability: Only 10-25% of graduates are employable by the industry.

Challenge of Rapid Growth: NKC under Curriculum Reform in the Engineering Education recommends that industries participate in the education process. But the rapid growth of the number of Engineering Institutes in India makes this difficult.

ENGINEERING COLLEGES IN INDIA The engineering colleges of India can be classified as:
 • Affiliated Colleges 
• Autonomous Colleges 
• Deemed Universities
 In the case of affiliated colleges, the institution is affiliated to a University, which is the degree granted body. The college has no flexibility or powers related to curriculum or evaluation. The academic powers rest with the University. In the case of autonomous colleges, the institutions have academic flexibility viz., they can make curriculum changes and conduct examination and evaluation. However they are notionally under the University and have relatively less financial autonomy. Institutions that have acquired deemed university status have maximum academic and financial autonomy. In India most of the colleges are affiliated. In India, apart from IITs, NITs and IISc there are several other state government run engineering colleges that have an established reputation. These colleges are affiliated with different universities. Besides, there are a huge number of private engineering colleges in India and about seventy five percent engineering graduates are taught in the private engineering colleges. At present more than 3500 engineering institutions with modern equipped facilities and curriculum are established.