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Move to convert engineering colleges into institutions offering diploma courses : Kerala High Court issues notice

The Hindu |   Special Correspondent |  January 19, 2018 | Kochin |  Move to convert engg colleges: HC issues notice |

The Kerala High Court on Thursday issued notice to the State government and the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) on a public interest writ petition against the decision of the AICTE and A.P.J. Abul Kalam Technical University to permit certain engineering colleges to convert into technical institutions.

The petition pointed out that as many as 118 engineering colleges were functioning in the self-financing sector in the State. The option given by the AICTE to existing colleges imparting graduate courses in engineering to close down and convert them into institutions offering diploma courses without proper study would result in the mushrooming of technical institutions in the State. – Courtesy


Petition in Kerala High Court against Engineering Colleges Cutting Short B.Tech Courses To Start Technical Education Leaving Students in Limbo

Live Law |  Akanksha Jain | January 18, 2018 |

A petition has been filed before the Kerala High Court challenging the decision of the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to allow engineering colleges imparting B.Tech degree courses to be converted to institutions providing technical education in absence ofany clear-cut guidelines for such colleges which will leave the students in limbo. The petition has been filed by Dijo Kappen, who has held several important offices, including Kerala University Academic Council Member and senate member, and impleads the AICTE, APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU) and Director of Technical Education. The petition came up before a bench of Acting Chief Justice Antony Dominic and Justice Dama Sheshadri Naidu, which directed the respondents to take instructions on the issues so raised. Advocate Santhosh Mathew argued that the petitioner is aggrieved by the decision taken by AICTE and KTU to permit colleges imparting B.Tech degree courses to be converted to technical institutions offering technical programmes, without conducting a proper study about the needof more educational institutions imparting technical course in Kerala.He relied on AICTE’s Approval Process Handbook for the year 2018-19which talks about grant of approval through a single application for conversion of diploma level into degree level and vice-versa.It is to be noted that there are altogether 118 colleges offering under-graduate courses for Engineering and Technology in the unaided private sector.

Dijo submitted that on the commencement of a college, an affidavit is signed by the institution along with the application submitted to the KTU for affiliation.Due to inferior quality of infrastructure provided in various engineering colleges, a large number of seats were lying vacant but the data is not made available on KTU’s website, he claimed.The petition said the management of Pinnacle School of Engineering and Technology, Anchal, Kollam, sent a letter to KTU informing their inability to conduct B.Tech programme as per the guidelines of AICTE,based on which the university in December last year decided to granttransfer to first and fifth semester students of that institution toother affiliated institutions of their choice.Similar was the case with a “large number of Engineering Colleges whichare taking steps to stop the B.Tech programmes and after transferring the students to other self financing colleges, steps are being taken bysuch Institutions to convert the Colleges into Technical Institution offering technical programmes”.The petitioner said the Kerala High Court had in year 2011, on a petition filed by Ernakulathapan Charitable Trust, issued variousdirections to the state government to improve the state of affairs of engineering colleges. An expert team was ordered to be constituted to conduct inspection in all the engineering colleges in the state andsubmit reports and also restricted further affiliations.“It is due to the indiscriminate permission granted by the AICTE,universities in the State of Kerala and the state government that 118engineering colleges were permitted to be established in the State of Kerala, in the self-financing sector. A perusal of the percentage ofpass would reveal that many engineering colleges are having a passpercentage of less than 25%. This makes it crystal clear that the Institutions were functioning without proper instructional and infrastructural facilities. By permitting the engineering colleges toshut down without any clear-cut guidelines students of such institutionswhich are planning to close down are left high and dry and are forced torun from pillar to post to get admission in other self-financing colleges,” the petitioner said.The petitioner now sought direction to the government to first formulate clear-cut guidelines before permission is granted to engineering colleges to stop the existing B.Tech courses and convert the same to diploma courses.As an interim relief, he has sought direction to the state government and the KTU to conduct a detailed study of the existing instructional and infrastructural facilities of the 118 engineering colleges impartingB.Tech degree course and submit a report before the high court.Other interim reliefs prayed for include direction to the respondents“to ensure that the Institutions which are closed down due to lack ofinstructional and infrastructural facilities are not granted permission to start new courses, including technological programmes, without obtaining permission of the court and that the AICTE furnishes a list of new applications received for conversion of B.Tech courses to diploma courses for the academic year 2018-19”. Courtey   /     Click here to View / Download the Petition, 18 pages, pdf

VTU has never had a full-time PhD student & In 19 years, VTU earns nothing from patents

It has been 19 years since the Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) came into existence and quite shockingly, the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) report by the Ministry of Human Resource Development reveals that the university has no PhD students and has no earning from patents as well. While the university has produced many tech-savvy students, research as a whole has not been given importance in the biggest technological university in the state. The NIRF report in its PhD students details revealed that no students are pursuing doctoral programme till the academic year 2016-17. But, there are 106 part-time students as per the reports. What led to this situation at the tech varsity? Jagannath Reddy, registrar of VTU, told BM, “There was no provision in the university to pay the doctoral students’ stipend all these days. Monthly, we have to pay and earlier students were not taken for this reason ultimately because there was no provision. Also, they must quit the job and pursue PhD. So only part-time PhD was happening. Now, the research work will start.”

The earning from patents (IPR) section also reveals that from 2014 to 2017, three consecutive financial years, the university has received no single penny. Reddy said, “These patents are basically those who are enrolled in colleges. We did not have it all these years and only from past three and half years we have got full-time staff and recently we have received 12(B) University status, this will start the process now.” An expert said, “It is quite shocking not because there were no PhD students all these years, it is shocking how all these years the provisions were not made and why all these years the managements which have come and gone did not even look into the research field in VTU.” Not just that, the annual capital expenditure on academic activities and resources also show some stunning numbers. VTU has not spent a single penny towards the new equipment for laboratories in 2016-17. But, in 2015-16, the varsity has spent around 37 crore and in the year 2014-15 it has spent around 13 crores. Reddy added, “From the last one-and-a-half years, we have been working out on this and around Rs 10 crore has been budgeted for the expenditure for new equipment for laboratories. We are doing it and we will get it done this year..” The expenditure on teachers and non-teaching staff salaries too has seen a major change. In 2014-15, the varsity spent around 68 crore on annual salaries and in 2015-2016 it spent a whopping Rs 86 crore and in 2016-17 it spent only Rs 65 crore. Why only last academic year there was a dip? Reddy said, “Previously, the contract and outsourced faculty was also calculated as part of teachers’ salaries. Even now if we add the contract staff it will go up to 80 crores. But, as of now, these people are not included and this year it is coming up to 72 crores for teaching, non-teaching and University BDT College of Engineering (UBDTCE), Davangere, a constituent college of VTU staff.” –  Courtesy

In 19 years, Visvesvaraya Technological University earns nothing from patents, The New Indian Express, Rashmi Belur  |  Express News Service  |   16th January 2018 |

BENGALURU: It has been 19 years, and the Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Belagavi, the only Technical University of the state, has not earned a single rupee from patents since its inception. This has been revealed in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), which was released by Union Ministry for Human Resource Development recently. As per the report, the earning of VTU through patents is zero. Although it is not mandatory for a university to get a particular number of patents, when compared to its own affiliated colleges and autonomous colleges, it is far from getting patents. “Being a university, we should definitely have got more patents. Shortage of regular faculty members was a major hindrance,” said a senior official of VTU.

‘Lack of earnings’ from patents is a reflection of lack of research activities by faculty members at the university. Faculty members are the ones who generally apply for patents of their research work. “As there was a shortage of regular faculties at the university, it was difficult for us to apply for patent. Each faculty member has to apply individually for patents for the research work done by them. The university received permission to hire regular faculties three years ago. This year onwards, we will apply for patents,” said the official. Another reason for the university’s failure to get patents was non-availability of 12 (B) status all these years. Recently, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has granted 12 (B) status to VTU, under which the university will now be eligible to apply for Central funds, which also includes earnings from patents. – Courtesy


Online degree in non-technical courses soon to be recognised in India

The Hindu | NEW DELHI | January 16, 2018 |  Online degree in non-tech courses |

Javadekar says only universities with high NAAC scores will get permission

The Centre would soon finalise regulations enabling universities with high National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) scores to offer degree, certificate and diploma courses for non-technical subjects in online mode. Minister of Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar said this to newspersons after the culmination of the 65th Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meet here. Only institutions with a NAAC grade of A plus and A plus plus – meaning, a NAAC score of 3.26 or above on a scale of 4 – would be permitted to start these courses, which would essentially be open and distance learning in online mode. “The UGC will approve their course structure. There will be online lectures, tutorials and also a weekly online discussion forum where professors will answer queries of the enrolled candidates,” Mr. Javadekar said. “There will be an online examination in six months or one year. They will be granted certificates if they pass.” He said this would open an additional choice for people who want to earn degrees, certificates or diplomas, but cannot enrol for regular courses.

Insisting that this would not entail a decline in the level of education, he said only institutes with proven credentials would be permitted to run these courses. An official of the MHRD said there was a possibility that the regulations would separate the existent open and distance learning courses from courses in the online mode. While existent distance learning courses were subject to territorial jurisdictions of the universities concerned, the very nature of online education would mean freeing up these courses from such constraints. Mr. Javadekar also said that the CABE had resolved to increase Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education from the present 25.2-% to 30-32-% in five years. It was believed that online education would help improve enrolment figures. –  Courtesy

Online courses  – The Telegraph, Basant Kumar Mohanty Jan 17, 2018

New Delhi: The Centre announced on Tuesday that universities would be allowed to offer courses online, including those programmes that award degrees, at a time enthusiasm for such a mode is on the wane the world over. HRD minister Prakash Javadekar announced that the University Grants Commission would soon issue a regulation to allow universities to offer all academic programmes online. The UGC had in 2016 permitted universities to offer 20 per cent of any course through the online mode. “A regulation will be issued to allow universities to offer online courses. Universities can start degree-level and diploma-level courses,” Javadekar said. He said only those universities whose accreditation score from the National Assessment and Accreditation Council was above 3.25 could allow online courses. Only non-technical courses will be allowed online.

“It will be the choice of the university (what programmes they want to start online),” Javadekar said. The International Trends in Higher Education Report 2015 published by Oxford University had said that enthusiasm for the Massive Open Online Courses was decreasing. “Several years after MOOCs entered the public domain, enthusiasm is beginning to wane. MOOC enrolment is high, but student retention and completion rates are low,” the report said. Asked about the success of online courses globally, Javadekar said: “Yes they have been successful.” – Courtesy

UGC and AICTE will soon come out with an updated commerce curriculum, says Prakash Javadekar in Pune

Hindustan Times | Nadeem Inamdar |   Pune | Jan 15, 2018 |

Union HRD minister, Prakash Javadekar, who in his key note address, said that the lethargic attitude portrayed by colleges under universities had to be stopped and that new practices with a practical orientation related to commerce was needed in the syllabus.

HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar during the International Conference for CA students at Mahalakshmi Lawns on Saturday.

Chartered Accountancy (CA) experts, who had gathered for the international conference for CA students in the city, stressed on the need for a complete overhauling of commerce education being taught at universities across the country. President of the Indian Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Nilesh S Vikamsey, emphatically said that there was a wide gap between commerce and CA education and that an upgradation of the commerce syllabus was urgently needed to make the commerce degree useful for the students. His views found support amongst other dignitaries present at the occasion with Union HRD minister, Prakash Javadekar, who in his key note address, said that the lethargic attitude portrayed by colleges under universities had to be stopped and that new practices with a practical orientation related to commerce was needed in the syllabus. “The universities will have to change with the changing times and the commerce field has to be made compatible with the modern requirement of globalisation and digital disruptions. The UGC and AICTE will soon come out with a modern curriculum with regards to the subject, which will be implemented across India ,” he said.

The Pune branch of Western India Regional Council (WIRC) of ICAI, along with the Pune branch of Western India Chartered Accountants Students Association (WICASA) of ICAI, on Saturday, inaugurated its two-day international conference for CA students which was organised by the Board of Studies, ICAI, and hosted by the Pune Branch of WIRC of ICAI and WICASA. The event will see the participation of over 2,500 CA students. The conference will conclude on Sunday (January 14). Also present on the occasion were other dignitaries including CA Nilesh Shivji Vikamsey (president, ICAI), CA Atul Kumar Gupta (chairman, Board of Studies, ICAI),CA Mangesh P Kinare (vice-chairman, board of Studies ICAI), and CA Shiwaji Bhikaji Zaware (Central Council Member, ICAI). Vikamsey also dwelt upon the point that India was one of the countries with the largest number of chartered accountants across the world and ICAI was technically amongst one of the largest associations with almost 2,70,000 chartered accountants on its roll register globally. – Courtesy

UGC cuts short names of these deemed universities after Supreme Court mandate

Financial Express | FE Online | New Delhi | January 14, 2018 |

Even before some of the universities getting the university status had begun to call themselves universities on their own.

In November last year, the University Grants Commission (UGC) was asked by the Supreme Court of India to stop using the word ‘university’ in the names of deemed universities. After that the government has compiled names of the varsities this week, however, names of the 10 such institutes have weird sounding names. For example, Santosh University’s name in Ghaziabad has been cropped to “Santosh”. And from now on, Dehradun’s Graphic Era University will be called “Graphic Era”. Symbiosis International University from Pune will be known as “Symbiosis International”. Christ University from Bengaluru has been changed to only “Christ”, and Jain University will be known as “Jain”. On Friday, the HRD Ministry These institutions are among 14 deemed-to-be universities that were intimated of their new names by the HRD Ministry on Friday. Following the Supreme Court verdict, back in November last year, the UGC had issued a warning to 123 deemed-to-be universities. The warning called for strong action if they dropped the word ‘university’ from their names. Even before some of the universities getting the university status had begun to call themselves universities on their own. However, the government was to be at fault in naming 14 of such institutions. The notification issued by the HRD Ministry announced their deemed status referred to them as universities.

In order to rectify their mistakes, the UGC ordered these institutions to go for alternative names which do not have the word ‘university’. After the issuance of the suggestion by the UGC, names of four were accepted. The HRD Ministry on Friday informed the 14 institutions of their new names. The four deemed universities whose suggested alternative names found favour with the government are: Manav Rachna International University will now be known as Manav Rachna International Institute of Research and Studies. Lingaya’s University will be known as Lingaya’s Vidyapeeth. Jagadguru Sri Shivarathreeswara University in Mysuru will now be known as JSS Academy of Higher Education and Research and Gurukul Kangri Vishwavidyalaya in Haridwar will be known as Gurukul Kangri Vidyapeeth. – Courtesy

Govt proposes new norms for recruitment of university professors / lecturers

Deccan Herald | DH News Service | New Delhi | Jan 14 2018 |

The Centre has proposed to bring in a new assessment criteria for recruitment and promotion of university professors/lecturers to improve the quality of higher education. The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has also proposed to scrap the current system of appraisal and promotion of faculty members based on academic performance indicator (API) scores. The ministry’s proposal will be taken up for a decision during the two-day meeting of the Central Advisory Board of Education, beginning Monday.

HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar will preside over the meeting. “Proposal to introduce a new assessment criteria for recruitment and promotion in lieu of the API scores is one of the key agenda of the meeting. The proposal has been made to improve the quality of higher education in the country,” official sources said. The system of faculty members’ appraisal on the basis of API scores has been a contentious topic ever since the University Grants Commission (UGC) introduced it in 2010. Last year, the UGC had to restore the direct teaching hours workload of university faculty members after various teachers’ bodies, including the Delhi University Teachers Association, came together to protest against the commission’s revised recruitment and promotion rules. The revised rules enhanced the per week classroom teaching time by two hours lining it with the API. – Courtesy

Internship scouting for engineering students to be onus of BOATS

Deccan Herald | Prakash Kumar | DH News Service | New Delhi, Jan 11 2018 |

Representational Image

The autonomous Boards of Apprenticeship Training (BOATs) will have to find internship openings for engineering/technology students from this year as part of a bid to make them employment worthy. The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has directed the four autonomous Boards to provide industry exposure to B.Tech students months after a six-month internship was made mandatory for engineering students to enhance their employability. The current mandate of the BOATs is to provide internship opportunities to the engineering and technology graduates after completion of their B.Tech programme in their respective streams. “HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar recently approved a proposal to involve all the BOATS in arranging internship opportunities for the students pursuing B.Tech programmes across the country,” official sources told DH. The BOATS in Mumbai, Chennai and Kanpur, as well as the Board of Practical Training in Kolkata, have been asked to initiate the process of providing internship opportunity to engineering students “in addition to their present mandate of providing apprenticeship training after B.Tech,” they added. The move comes in the wake of reports that about half of engineering graduates do not find jobs after completion of their B.Tech due to lack of requisite skills. The percentage of students placed during campus recruitment organised by their respective institutions is also very low.

Campus recruitment

According to data with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), about 33% of engineering and technology students were picked by various employers through campus recruitment in 2016-17. Out of a total of 15,50,324 students from 6,531 technical institutes (excluding those offering programmes in management and art and craft), only 5,08,863 students were placed in 2016-17. “The BOATs have been roped in to provide industry exposure to the students in view of this scenario. All the institutes have been urged to contact their respective BOATs,” sources said. Many engineering colleges were finding it difficult to arrange internship for their students after the AICTE made it mandatory for every B.Tech student to undergo a six-month internship as part of the study programme, the sources added. – Courtesy

IIT’s first food testing lab unveiled in Kharagpur

Outlook | 10 January 2018  |  Kharagpur | [West Bengal]

Representational Image

January 10 : The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) has established its first food testing lab at its Kharagpur campus. The agricultural and food engineering department’s Analytical Food Testing Laboratory received the National Accreditation Board for Calibration and Testing Laboratories (NABL) accreditation, which empowered the IIT Kharagpur to certify food items for their nutritional value and also check for adulteration. After getting the accreditation, the IIT has already started the process of certification for some Kolkata-based company for fish items and neem oil.

“This is for the first time any lab in any of the IITs or NITs in the country has been given this accreditation. Now, we can go for analysis of any major, macro as well as micronutrients present in the food items. Anyone having any suspicion in their mind of plastic rice, egg, they can bring it here and after analysis and using the most sophisticated high-end equipment, we can tell if there is any adulteration”, said Rintu Banerjee, professor of the department of agriculture and food engineering and in-charge of the Analytic Food Testing Lab, IIT Kharagpur. “My PhD is on protein and the system here is protein sequencer PPSQ31A. This is the only system here in the whole eastern region. The protein in the food items is made of amino acids. Through this system, we can get to know which essential amino acid is present and which is not”, Jagriti Singh, a PhD student, told . She added that this sequencer is qualitative-based and has liquid chromatography. “We can detect pathogenic particles and allergens”. – Courtesy

IIT Kanpur starts service on Hindu sacred texts, ‘Gita Supersite’, says ready for criticism

The Times of India | Rohan Dua | TNN | Jan 11, 2018 |


  • The services are being offered on the official portal of the premier college.
  • One of the objectives of the website describes “Vedanta” as “knowledge gyana” of a qualified “adhikari”.

LUCKNOW: Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur has become the first engineering college in India to start a text and audio service related to Hindu sacred texts. The services are being offered on the official portal of the premier college which displays the link gitasupersite.iitk.ac.in. Srimad Bhagwadgita, Ramcharitmanas, Brahma Sutra, Yoga Sutra, Shri Ram Mangal Dasji and the Narada Bhakti Sutra are among the nine sacred texts uploaded. Among its latest offerings are Sanskrit renditions of the Sundarkand and Balakkand of the Valmiki Ramayan, introduced, incidentally, a month before the Supreme Court was to hear the Ram temple matter on a dailybasis.  Though the IITs operate autonomously, their charter has often seen controversial proposals by the ministry of human resource development which funds them. This project was started with Rs 25 lakh in funding in 2001 by the Union ministry of information technology of the then Atal Behari Vajpayee government.

“We have from time to time worked on this project with a team of scholars from within the IITs and outside to make available the sacred texts. This is the first of its kind in the world and in India and it must be respected,” said T V Prabhakar, professor, Resource Centre for Indian language Technology Solutions, department of computer science and engineering, IIT Kanpur. Both Prabhakar and IIT Kanpur director Mahendra Aggarwal rejected controversies on thrusting Hindu religion through these services. “There will be criticism for the sake of it for every good thing. Secular credentials can’t be questioned on such a noble and pious initiative,” added Prabhakar. One of the objectives of the website describes “Vedanta” as “knowledge gyana” of a qualified “adhikari (worker, officer, employee)”.  Subject specialists holding post-doctoral degrees in philosophy from Banaras Hindu University (BHU) have been roped in to render the English audio tranlsation of the Bhagdvad Gita while the Sanskrit chanting has been done by Swami Brahmnanda. Similarly, the rendition of the Ramcharitmanas in Awadhi is by IIT Guwahati faculty member Dev Ananand Pathak. The IIT intends to seek more funds from the Centre to include more sacred texts. – Courtesy

Click here to visit the Portal…Take a Look at—–>   https://www.gitasupersite.iitk.ac.in/

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