Campuses ban mobiles, UGC wants selfies with ‘gurus’ | A Ragu Raman | TNN | Jul 17, 2019 | Times of India |
CHENNAI: City colleges are in a dilemma over a circular from the University Grants Commission (UGC) asking them to encourage students to take selfies with their teachers on Guru Purnima on Tuesday. Most colleges have banned the use of cell phones on campuses. Union HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had on Monday launched a campaign ‘#SelfiewithGuru’ inviting all to post their selfie with their teachers on social media on Tuesday. Rajnish Jain, secretary of UGC, has sent a circular asking students of universities and colleges to participate in the campaign and to share their selfies on social media. “Following the circular from Madras University, we have banned the use of mobile phones inside the campus from last year. If any student is caught using mobile phones, they would be fined,” said Reverend Thomas Amirtham, principal of Loyola College. But, UGC has given a circular that would encourage the students to use mobile phones on campuses. Though the principal said the college will try to abide by UGC’s directions, taking selfies is contradicting existing rules. Even women’s colleges also do not allow the students to use mobiles on campus. “Due to safety concerns, we allow the students to carry the phone. But, using it is prohibited,” said Lalitha Balakrishnan, principal of a college.
Many engineering colleges do not allow students to even carry their mobile phones. “We cannot encourage the students to take selfie with female faculty members as many would not feel comfortable. It is difficult to implement the rule,” a principal from a city engineering college said. Anna University vicechancellor M K Surappa did not agree with UGC’s “dictum” on taking selfies. “The main job of universities and higher educational institutions is knowledge creation. Taking selfies is in no way an academic activity. Students and teachers should be kept out of these kind of activities,” he said. Senior academician and former vice-chancellor of Anna University E Balagurusamy said taking selfies with gurus is not a good idea. “The UGC has many better things to do to improve the quality of higher education instead of advising students to take selfies with their gurus. Taking a selfie is not giving respect to the guru. There are many other ways to respect them. We normally take selfies with friends and family,” he said. He further said the commission was an autonomous body and should not simply follow the MHRD’s instructions. – Courtesy / AICTE Circular – 15 July 2019 – People’s Campaign : ‘#SelfiewithGuru’
Centre to pump in Rs 1,000 crore, make accreditation must for all education institutes Manash Pratim Gohain | TNN | Jul 14, 2019 |
- The ministry also proposed to invest Rs 1,012 crore by 2024 for these accreditation reforms and make the process mandatory for all institutions.
- For those institutions that do consistently well, incentives such as financial assistance, enhancement of programmes and autonomy, and participation in international rankings is also being proposed
NEW DELHI: With just 20% of higher education institutions and programmes on engineering, management, pharmacy and architecture in India accredited, the ministry of human resource development is moving to bring in multiple agencies for giving a boost to the accreditation process. The ministry also proposed to invest Rs 1,012 crore by 2024 for these accreditation reforms and make the process mandatory for all institutions. For those institutions that do consistently well, incentives such as financial assistance, enhancement of programmes and autonomy, and participation in international rankings is also being proposed. National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) are the two major accreditation bodies for higher education institutions (HEIs) in India. Of the over 42,000 universities, colleges and standalone institutions, according to MHRD, only 8,700 have being accredited so far by NAAC, while of the 15,000 technical programmes just 3,050 are been accredited by the NBA.
Considering the huge diversity in standards, disciplines and academic culture among the 42,000 plus HEIs, the HRD ministry had recently proposed a number of measures, which include making accreditation for all the institutions mandatory by 2024 and attaching “visible penalties” for failure to improve standards. The five-year vision document of HRD ministry for higher education states: “Considering the ambitious objective …, it is obvious that the current framework that has only two major accreditation agencies is far from adequate …. While these agencies should be empowered to enhance their capacities, it is imperative that we expand the capacity and reach of the accreditation framework further…” Citing the existing notified regulations and guidelines through a gazette notification (in August 2018) for setting up multiple agencies, the ministry, according to a senior HRD official, is proposing to expand the accreditation network by creating agencies for accreditation and quality certification based on broad disciplines – law, medical, and nursing, etc, and regions and states. In order to bring 80% of HEIs into the net of quality assurance by 2014, the ministry proposed categorisation of institution into different levels of quality with A1 as the highest level which is = 3.26 (NAAC) or six years of accreditation by NBA, followed by A2 which is 3.26 (NAAC) or three years of accreditation by NBA. The subsequent levels are AC1 (meets pre-qualifiers for A2/A1, but not accredited) and AC2 (falls short of pre-qualification but exceeds other specified benchmarks). As per the plan, categorisation of the institutions is to establish a mentoring system for non-accredited HEIs. “Thereafter, to expand the capacity of NAAC and NBA by setting up multiple agencies of accreditation, create national agencies in the public domain for accreditation and benchmarking, based on several disciplines (law, medical and allied fields, regions, etc.),” the vision document said. The ‘Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme: Five Year Vision Plan 2019-24’, accessed by TOI, also stated that “Institutions that fail to either come up to the minimum qualifier levels (benchmarks for AC2) within a given time-frame, or failing to achieve accreditation at an appropriate level, should be viewed by the concerned regulatory agencies with very serious concern, and some of their programmes may be suitably toned down (for a specified period) or even closed, if deemed fit.” – Courtesy
Most engineers are unemployable: The report, “Engineering Education in India- Short and Medium-term perspectives” conducted by BVR Mohan Reddy
Most engineers are unemployable: The report, “Engineering Education in India- Short and Medium-term perspectives” conducted by BVR Mohan Reddy | Bangalore Mirror | Kumaran P | 16 July 2019 |
Most engineers are unemployable: Report . Study blames engineering courses for focusing on lower-order skills. In a recent report submitted to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), experts have said that only 17.91 per cent of engineers were employable for the software services sector. The report, “Engineering Education in India- Short and Medium-term perspectives” conducted by BVR Mohan Reddy, Chairman and Members of AICTE Committee, pointed the blame at the engineering courses which only focused on lower-order skills. According to the 2016 National Employability Report for Engineers by Aspiring Minds, which releases periodic reports based on an auditory mechanism for higher education, there is no significant improvement in the employability of engineering graduates in the preceding four years of the report. The report based its findings on the survey of more than 150,000 engineering students (graduated in 2015) from 650+ engineering college, across multiple Indian states. The analysis and findings are based on the results of these students on AMCAT: Aspiring Minds Computer Adaptive Test, an employability test that covers objective parameters such as English communication, quantitative aptitude, problem-solving skills, and knowledge of domain areas. The report found that only 17.91% of engineers were employable for the software services sector, 3.67% for software products and 40.57% for a non-functional role, a marginal increase over the previous edition of the report. This, despite there being no increase in the number of engineering seats in the last four years. The report indicates that students from States such as Delhi, Kerala, Odisha, Bihar and Jharkhand have the highest employability (top 25 percentile). States like Haryana, Karnataka, Punjab and West Bengal forms the next tier in employability (75-50 percentile). The third tier, the lowest tier, includes Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh (50-25 percentile).
Situation in metro cities It was observed that the southern cities, where there is a high proliferation of engineering colleges, show the lowest employability among the metros. Cities in Western India follows the southern cities with a high number of engineering colleges. Employability in Delhi is highest among the metros. This is attributed to the fewer number of engineering colleges in Delhi, despite the population of Delhi being more than any southern city or Mumbai. On similar lines, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the World Bank (WB) had undertaken “Employer Satisfaction Survey’’ in 2009 which showed that the graduates had improved in their soft skills over the 2014 study. However, the technical skills remained as a matter of concern. – Courtesy / Download the report : Engineering Education in India – Short & Medium Term Perspectives : 41 Pages, pdf
No plan to recognise one year master’s degree of foreign universities | Financial Express | Krishnanand Tripathi | July 15, 2019 |
Studying abroad: Government has no plan to recognise one year masters degree offered by foreign universities.
Foreign Degree: The Union government has no plan to recognise one-year post-graduate degrees obtained by foreign universities. The government has also denied that it had set up a panel to specifically into the issue of granting recognition to one-year postgraduate degree offered by the universities located outside the country. However, a committee under the leadership of UGC chairman was set up by the government to look into decide the equivalence of qualifications of foreign degrees with Indian degrees, informed HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. The committee recommended that India may recognise foreign degrees on the basis of mutual respect for the academic sovereignty of each country.
So far India has signed agreements only with two countries, France and Morocco to recognise each other’s degrees so that students from both the sides can have a hassle-free mobility and valid degree. However, the government has no plan or proposal to recognise one-year post-graduate degrees awarded by foreign universities. There is no proposal at present to recognize one year Master’s degree obtained from foreign countries,” Human Resource Development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank informed the Lok Sabha. “As per the current policy, equivalence is accorded by AIU only for those master degrees awarded by approved foreign universities that are of two-year duration,” clarified the minister. The expert panel has recommended the government to enter into agreements with those countries that have a rigorous, robust and credible system for recognising their higher educational institutions and programmes. And this recognition will be made at the same level of degree offered by Indian universities. – Courtesy
TCS iON partners AICTE to equip students with career skills | PTI New Delhi | July 10, 2019 |
TCS iON has curated a free, 20 hour-career skills course that will cover topics like corporate etiquette, effective e-mail writing, impactful presentations and IT awareness.
- The course can be accessed on TCS iON Digital Learning Hub through any device
- The course will be available for students of more than 10,000 AICTE approved institutions
TCS iON, a unit of IT major Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), on Wednesday said it has partnered with All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to provide students with a digital learning course to equip them with career skills. TCS iON has curated a free, 20 hour-career skills course that will cover topics like corporate etiquette, effective e-mail writing, impactful presentations and IT awareness that will be available to students throughout the duration of their degree course. The course, which will be available for students of more than 10,000 AICTE approved institutions, can be accessed on TCS iON Digital Learning Hub through any device. “We are one of the largest recruiters of engineering graduates in the country. We have noticed that there is a gap in students’ competencies in terms of career skills. While students may have strong academic performance, the lack of basic soft skills such as effective communication and interpersonal skills may result in these students missing out on job opportunities,” TCS iON Global Head Venguswamy Ramaswamy said.
Through the partnership, TCS, together with educational institutions, intends to help students develop better career skills, he added. Ramaswamy said the company had last year selected 63,000 students from over 2.8 lakh applicants through its National Qualifier Test, but could extend offer letters to only about 30,000. Many of those not selected lacked these career skills. “With this programme, we want to enhance the quality of talent pool. It is not only for us but will help the industry at large,” he said. AICTE Chairman Anil D Sahasrabudhe said the course will empower students with career skills to help them stand out in the competitive hiring scenario. “The unique course will help improve placement opportunities for our institutions, thereby initiating a strong start to the professional careers of the students. The guidance provided by TCS iON will prepare students for their professional endeavours and help cultivate a highly qualified, competent, and proficient workforce,” he said. AICTE is the national-level apex advisory and regulatory body for technical education. Take a look at here… / https://www.tcsion.com/dotcom/TCSSMB/LX_microsite/index.html / https://www.tcsion.com/LX/login#lx
113 electronic and telecom engg courses scrapped this year: AICTE | Hindustan Times | Jul 11, 2019 |
In the last two years, 116 diploma and 144 degree courses related to this branch were shut down.
For the third year in a row, courses in electronics and telecommunication engineering — also known as electronics and communications — faced the highest number of closures across the country. According to data from All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the apex body for technical education in the country, as many as 66 degree, 47 diploma and several postgraduate programmes in electronics and telecommunication will no longer be available to students at colleges across the country for 2019-20. In the last two years, 116 diploma and 144 degree courses related to this branch were shut down.
According to experts, the telecom sector has lost its sheen after the 2G scam and the market consolidation following the advent of 4G. “The closure of telecommunication courses is reflective of overall environment in the sector. The students are unwilling to join telecom companies, due to the constant negative stories about the sector. There’s not much growth expected in the years to come,” said Rituparna Chakraborty, vice president, TeamLease Services, a human resources management firm. Braj Mishra, principal, Thakur College of Engineering in Kandivali, said that electronics and telecommunication is no longer a sought-after field for aspirants. “Many telecom graduates from the city would pursue careers abroad. However, with little demand for these courses, the colleges have to shut them down,” he said. Chakraborty, however, remains optimistic. “While there isn’t much movement happening in the frontline of the sector, dominated by several corporate giants, there’s still a lot of work available in the back-end, such as operations, technical management and networking at other companies. The sector may pick up if 5G is introduced,” she said. With their demand fast dwindling in the past few years, several engineering institutes and courses have shut down across the country. The AICTE approved the closure of 95 diploma and 83 degree colleges and as many as 4,240 diploma, undergraduate and PG courses for 2019-2020. The state received only around 94,000 applications for engineering admissions this year, the lowest in the past 12 years. – Courtesy
UGC approves STRIDE to boost research projects in India | India Today Web Desk | New Delhi | July 1, 2019 |
STRIDE shall support research capacity building as well as basic, applied and transformational action research that can contribute to the national interest.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has approved a new scheme – ‘Scheme for Trans-disciplinary Research for India’s Developing Economy’ (STRIDE). Broadly, STRIDE will provide support to research projects that are socially relevant, locally need-based, nationally important and globally significant. STRIDE shall support research capacity building as well as basic, applied and transformational action research that can contribute to the national interest. STRIDE shall support creation, development, and integration of new ideas, concepts, and practices for the public good and strengthening civil society. Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said that STRIDE scheme will strengthen research culture and innovation in colleges and universities, and will help students and faculty to contribute towards India’s developing economy with collaborative research. He also added that focus on humanities and human sciences will boost quality research on Indian languages and knowledge systems. Trans-disciplinary research is a team effort of investigators from different disciplines to create new conceptual, theoretical, methodological innovations that integrate and transcend beyond discipline-specific approaches to address a common problem.
Trans-disciplinary research goes beyond the mere production of knowledge and extends to the practical use of the knowledge outside academic endeavor.
In essence, it takes into consideration the societal impact of knowledge enunciating as what should be the main aim of the research. It creates unity of intellectual frameworks beyond the disciplinary perspectives and solves problems by going beyond the boundaries of disciplines to involve various stakeholders. Trans-disciplinary research generates knowledge through the use of multi and inter-disciplinary concepts and integrates new theories among science and society.
- To identify young talent, strengthen research culture, build capacity, promote innovation and support trans-disciplinary research for India’s developing economy and national development
- To fund multi-institutional network high-impact research projects in humanities and human sciences.
Component-1 will endeavor to identify the motivated young talents with research and innovation aptitude in universities and colleges. The scheme will provide research capacity building in diverse disciplines by mentoring, nurturing and supporting young talents to innovate pragmatic solutions for local, regional, national and global problems. This component is open to all disciplines for grant upto 1 crore.
Component-2 will be mainly to enhance problem-solving skills with the help of social innovation and action research to improve the wellbeing of people and contribute to India’s developing economy. Collaborations between universities, government, voluntary organizations, and industries are encouraged under this scheme. This component is open to all disciplines for grant upto 50 lakh – 1 crore.
Component-3 will fund high impact research projects in the identified thrust areas inhumanities and human sciences through a national network of eminent scientists from leading institutions. Disciplines eligible for funding under this component include philosophy, history, archaeology, anthropology, psychology, liberal arts, linguistics, Indian languages and culture, Indian knowledge systems, law, education, journalism, mass communication, commerce, management, environment and sustainable development. Grant available for this component is upto 1 crore for one HEI and upto 5 crores for the multi institutional network. To encourage high-quality high impact research in humanities, there is a provision to identify experts and invite them to develop a proposal. UGC is also proposing to provide a grant of Rs 2 lakh for developing proposals. An Advisory Committee has been set up by the UGC under the chairmanship of Prof Bhushan Patwardhan, Vice Chairman to oversee the entire scheme. Details of the scheme will be available on UGC website by 8th July 2019. Call for proposals will be announced by the UGC by July 20, 2019.
Last date to submit an application
Applications will have to be submitted online. STRIDE web portal will be open for receiving applications by July 31, 2019. Award of grant will be based on merit of the project proposal. STRIDE scheme proposals will be carefully evaluated with the help of peer review and assessment by expert committees. Shortlisted applicants may be invited for presentation.
R. Subrahmanyam, Secretary HRD Ministry said that the National Innovation Foundation has a database of over 3 lakh technological ideas from over 608 districts waiting to be explored. STRIDE scheme will help students and faculty to undertake collaborative research to explore these knowledge resources for India’s developing economy. The ten grand challenges facing the humanities in India described in report to MHRD are part of thrust areas identified for funding under STRIDE. UGC Chairman Prof DP Singh said STRIDE will provide support to the innovative research projects that are socially relevant, locally need-based, nationally important and globally significant. UGC Vice chairman Prof Bhushan Patwardhan said that the three components of STRIDE will help to strengthen transdisciplinary research culture in colleges and universities. It will provide an opportunity to build multisectoral linkages between university-government-community-industry for national development and wellbeing of people. In addition, STRIDE will give a major impetus to high impact research in humanities and human sciences. – Courtesy
HRD sends list of premiere engineering institutions to Kuwait following invalidation of IIT degrees | Business Standard | Press Trust of India | New Delhi | 30 June 2019 |
The HRD Ministry has sent a list of premiere engineering institutes in the country to Kuwait authorities where thousands of Indian engineers, including IITians, are staring at possible job losses after the Gulf country decided to recognise degrees only if India’s NBA approved of the courses they studied. The Public Authority for Manpower, a government body in Kuwait, had last year issued a circular asking the labour department to not give work permits to expatriate engineers unless they got no-objection certificates from the Kuwait Engineers Society. For India, engineers were to be issued no-objection certificates only if the course had been accredited by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA). The Ministry of Human Resource Development has since then been receiving representations from Indian engineers working in Kuwait regarding this.
“A high-level Indian delegation had visited Kuwait to understand and resolve the issue and after discussion with the Kuwait authorities, it was decided to send them lists of ‘Non-NBA premier institute’ and ‘Institutes of National Importance’ which has been sent to the Indian Embassy in Kuwait for onward submission to Kuwait authorities,” a senior HRD Ministry official said. The NBA accredits engineering courses while the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accredits universities and general colleges. The decision by Kuwait authorities has also brought degrees by prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in the invalidation scanner. “The IITs, IISc and JU have never taken accreditation from the NBA for their engineering courses. Many of the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) are yet to take accreditation for their BTech courses,” the official explained. The NBA, earlier a wing of technical education regulator All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), has been in existence since the 1990s but became an autonomous body in 2010. It has so far given accreditation to courses offered by 600 institutions among total 3,500 that teach technical courses. – Courtesy
Business Today | E Kumar Sharma New Delhi | June 25, 2019 |
Not all institutions and quiet notably, the ones in engineering education hubs such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, could fill all seats. Colleges have been shutting down too, a trend that began five to six years ago.
It is that time of the year when engineering colleges buzz with activities. The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) results for entry into IITs and results of other leading Indian private colleges and state government institutions have just been declared. Bright sparks readying to realise their long awaited dream to enroll for a career in engineering are taking to the cyberspace to see where they stand before heading to the college campuses for counselling sessions. But, other than some of leading institutions and some long standing local colleges – both public and private – the mood is a bit sombre and far from comforting. Not all institutions and quiet notably, the ones in engineering education hubs such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, could fill all seats. Colleges have been shutting down too, a trend that had started unfolding about five to six years ago. BVR Mohan Reddy, chairman of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad and the founder of Cyient, who headed a government committee on a perspective plan for engineering education in the country submitted the report – Engineering Education in India: Short and Medium Term Perspectives – to government in January this year. He has quoted some worrying numbers. But, he is happy that the government – the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) – has started taking note of it.
Reddy points out that going by the AICTE data, all undergraduate and postgraduate engineering institutions put together had a total capacity of 16.62 lakh seats but the intake stood at only 8.18 lakh in 2017-18. Hence, 49.8 per cent of total seats went vacant. Reddy is also quick to remind that while the number 16.62 lakh seems high, it is not the highest number ever. “We touched a high of 19.2 lakh seats in 2014-15.” One of the reasons for the decline is oversupply. Some in the industry link it to lowering of entry barriers. For instance, the minimum land required to set up an educational institution in rural areas over two decades ago was 25 acres. The limit has come down to 10 acres now. It is even lesser in metro cities. While these institutions are supposed to work as not-for-profit entities with corpus funds and a philanthrophy mindset, not many do it. On top of it, most of them fail to offer jobs or placements at the end of the course. Given the fact that many engineering entities could not attract students, some of those failed to renew their licences as well. If colleges fail to admit more than 30 per cent of their capacity for three consecutive years, they automatically stand to lose their licences and cannot admit more students. Besides, the land and the real estate they invest in would hardly yield any return. In most cases, there were no added attractions to be in the space. For example, incentives such as fee reimbursement for weaker section students under student sponsonship programme had been withdrawn by some states like united Andhra Pradesh (before bifurcation into Telangana and Andhra). All of this put a question mark on their financial viability, especially in cases where there was no corpus fund and a philanthropic mindset to start with.
In the space of engineering education, there is another distinctive feature: The larger play by South India. Reddy says, South is an important contributor to the total seats with a high concentration of 50.2 per cent and almost the same proportion in intakes. This is across Telangana, Andhra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The rest of seats are fairly well distributed across the country. Therefore, he says, the important recommendation, among others, was to halt further capacity creation in engineering. Why did this all happen? “What we have ended up with seems to have been a result of an unplanned and aggressive expansion in capacity creation without any focus on building quality faculty,” he says. Part of the reason for the concentration in South, some argue, has to do with the higher literacy rates and relatively higher share of children graduating from schools, at least in most Southern states, which in turn has been the trigger for the opening up of a large number of engineering, medical and MBA colleges there. There is also a captive audience with a lot of companies in the IT sector being concentrated in Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. “As many as 60 per cent of all engineering and MBA colleges in the country would be from this belt of Telangana, Andhra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and if you include Maharashtra, it could be as much as 70 per cent, if not more,” says K V Vishnu Raju, chairman, Sri Vishnu Educational Society with its four engineering colleges with an intake of 3000 students with placements achieved for more than 2000 of them each year.
He should know having spent 25 years in this space and having his colleges figure in the ranking of MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development)’s NIRF (National Institutional Ranking Framework). He and others also quote US visa trends from Chennai and Hyderabad. They point out that a larger share of students from these regions heading abroad for higher education is another indication of the high appetite for engineering courses in this region. Raju says roughly about 100 colleges have shut in the South over the past couple of years. He feels the primary reason behind a college failing to survive lies in its inability to offer any differentiation, value for money and most importantly, internships and industry connect, which is crucial for engineering and MBA institutions. Which is why, he says, he has decided to set up their own faculty development institute modelled on the lines of staff training colleges of banks along with a focus on internships. Part of the problem could be solved, says Reddy, if state governments tighten the monitoring of the quality of engineering education. Telangana government has set an example. According to Reddy, thanks to an active involvement of the state government, most of the colleges in Telangana that were sloppy on quality and had inefficient faculty shut shops in last five years. “In the last five years, the number of engineering colleges have come down from 350 to around 172,” he says. Even AICTE, which approves new colleges quite selectively, put out a ban on new capacity creation last year. – Courtesy