Dr Ghanshyam is someone you’ll liken to be a perfect school principal—empathetic, great listener, mostly non-bureaucratic and even a man of impromptu action. And, Delhi’s Board of Technical Education (BTE) with an exception to him as the controller (examinations) has the rest everything wrong.
Mandated to conduct examination and award of diplomas in 19 polytechnic colleges (with about 4000 annual intake ) in the capital city of Delhi, BTE in yesteryears presided over famed brands such as Pusa, whose alumni even today fill the industrial and business landscape in several parts of the country with pride. And when this pandemic really tested its strength, BTE simply found itself overwhelming to cope with demands of pandemic.
Now it appears that BTE at best is a mediocre office and its affiliating institutes losing their sheen and confidence of students. India is seeing the longest closure of education institutions in the world in face of a collapsing pubic policy. In this backdrop, the collapse of BTE is not surprising. The Delhi government which boasts its education outcomes and reforms on every possible public fora, looks very poor in this segment.
It is December month of 2021, year ending and BTE is not able to declare results of its students from several streams of most of its affiliating institutes after exams of even semester were cancelled in June this year. More than five months after announcing promotion, the results of many students don’t arrive. A number of students who qualified in the common entrance test of IP University lateral entry degree programs or took provisional admission elsewhere have been going from pillar to post between their own institutes and BTE office to get their completion evidence. A student who has qualified for lateral entry in EEE BTech in one of IP University’s engineering colleges is coming to BTE office for the 8th time in past two months. “After my provisional admission, our session has also started and odd semester is even drawing to a close, but without a final proof of diploma completion, I am being reminded all the time and I have been taking time to visit BTE,” he says. Like him, several students who this publication met say that in lateral entry in Degree Courses comes with a pressure of catching up with regular students who have completed their first year course. With uncertainty about results at back of their mind and a shunned attitude adopted by BTE and polytechnics, they have been worrying a lot.
The whole problem is BTE is under staffed and in face of mounting workload, the system is simply crumbling.
The bitter student experiences can be heard on all working days as they hopelessly knock doors of this office. Delhi government which has smarted to keep its websites primitive and cleverly omitted public vital information from them, contacting any official for a response is difficult as well. This has certainty added to the laxity of the system and accountability is gradually coming down.
At the end of it, Delhi’s polytechnics which organically had grown as a robust success story in independent India and students even preferred them over engineering colleges in other states for their reputation, may see this reputation and motivation evaporating soon if the system is not fixed.