After its decision to shut down around 800 colleges over lower admission and poor quality, the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) have now decided for merger of colleges and even accepting buyout proposals, according to a media report.

The council is on the verge of merging two colleges in the close vicinity and even seeking legal implications of the mergers and buyouts, according to a TOI report.

"On receiving news of the closure, the colleges have put forth two suggestions. One is to consider the enrolment data for last three years and defer the decision for the next two years and then reconsider it based on the enrolment data. Second, these colleges will request the council to permit mergers or allow buyouts by other trusts," said Anil Sahastrabuddhe, chairman, AICTE.

"Based on their suggestions we are considering pros and cons of such an arrangement. We have to discuss the plan not only with such private colleges but also take legal counsel given their background and likely complications in sharing facilities, revenues, etc," Sahastrabuddhe added.

In the last five years, around 4,633 courses and 527 institutes have been shut down due to low performance and poor enrollment. In Maharashtra, 921 courses and 69 institutes have closed in five years span. The colleges offered courses such as engineering, architecture, polytechnic, management, hotel managament, etc.

The decision was made after the colleges failed to reach 30% enrollment consecutively for the last five years.

However, if there are enough revenue sources other besides fees and college is able to maintain the student-faculty ratio to pay the faculty according to the norms, then the colleges will not be shut down.

"But if the quality is suffering and students are not employable despite paying high fees, there is no point in allowing the colleges to run," Sahastrabuddhe said.