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Social Science in engineering upsets many

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | RALPH ALEX ARAKAL |  Dec 14, 2017 | Opinion |

Engineering students from over 3,000 colleges in the country will have to study humanities and social sciences.

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BENGALURU: Engineering students from over 3,000 colleges in the country will have to study humanities and social sciences as well while pursuing their undergraduate degree from the upcoming academic year. According to the model curriculum from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), all engineering colleges, except IITs and NITs, have been notified to teach courses such as management, environmental science, Indian Constitution and Essence of Indian tradition and culture. A big share of students, however, is unhappy on the move while others have welcomed it as a ‘holistic approach.’

Students see ‘additional burden’
Many students see this as an additional burden. Dev Anand, a mechanical engineering student from the city said, “These are subjects which we have studied at the school level itself. The varsity should take necessary steps to put us in par with the industry standards by updating the curriculum to ensure placements rather than trying to do so,” he said. However, Dr K.R. Venugaopal, Principal, University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE) supported the move as it will encourage multi-disciplinary thoughts among budding engineers and make them more responsible citizens.

No credits for new subjects
As elaborated in the model curriculum, the students will have to earn a total of 12 credits with respect to the humanities and social sciences programmes, over the four years of pursuing their undergraduate degree. However, students will not earn any credit for the mandatory environment science and Indian Constitution/Essence of Indian tradition courses, even though the engineering institutes are required to compulsorily run them. This has further upset the students. Suparna C., a civil engineering student, said, “Why would we even be present for such classes and put in efforts to understand new unrelated concepts if no credits are awarded?” Addressing such issues from the side of an educator, Dr Venugopal echoes the sentiment. “Such courses should not be classified under audit courses (as run at present by most colleges) as a sense of equal importance to these as well should be cultivated among takers. All these courses can be integrated to an eight-credit course (2 credits per year), in order to make them realise how multi-disciplinarity leads to global competence,” he opined. Students and educators had pointed out similar issues earlier this year after the University Grants Commission (UGC) directed colleges to include courses on disaster management and financial emergencies across colleges in the country, starting next academic year. – Courtesy

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Delhi University, IIT among 100 seeking world-class university tag from UGC

Business Standard | Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi  | December 12, 2017 |

The UGC had in September started inviting applications from all institutions that are keen to enter the top 100 of global rankings with the government’s assistance.

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The University Grants Commission (UGC) has received 100 applications, maximum being from public institutions, including seven IITs, for the Human Resource Development Ministry’s ambitious 20 world-class institutions project, according to an official data.  The 90-day deadline of receiving applications from all institutions expires today.  Under public sector, 10 central universities, 25 state universities, six deemed to be universities, 20 institutions of national importance and six stand-alone institutions have applied. Under private sector, nine private universities and 16 deemed to be universities have applied in brown field category and eight institutions have applied in the green field category.  “Overwhelming response to the idea of institutions of eminence. This is how world-class uiversities were built in various countries. The same thing will happen in India,” Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said.  Among those who have applied from the public sector are seven Indian Institutes of Technology (Madras, Delhi, Bombay, Kharagpur, Kanpur, Guwahati, Roorkee), Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jadhavpur University, Goa University, Panjab University and Mangalore University.

From the private sector, the O P Jindal Global University, Ashoka University, Manipal University and Amity University, among others, have applied for the tag.  The UGC had in September started inviting applications from all institutions that are keen to enter the top 100 of global rankings with the government’s assistance.  The Centre wants to establish a total of 20 ‘Institutes of Eminence‘ — a distinct category of deemed-to-be- universities, supporting them to become “World Class” institutions.  By March-April 2018, 20 (10 each from public and private category) institutions will be accorded the eminence status with a mandate to achieve the world-class status over a period of 10 years. The selected institutions will have the freedom to choose their own path to become world-class institutions.  “They will be provided with greater autonomy to admit up to 30 per cent foreign students, to recruit up to 25 per cent foreign faculty, to offer online courses up to 20 per cent of its programmes, to enter into academic collaboration with top 500 in the world ranking institutions without permission of the UGC,” a senior HRD Ministry official said. The instituions will also be free to fix and charge fees from foreign students without restriction and will have a flexibility of course structure in terms of number of credit hours and years to take a degree and fixing of curriculum. As per the guidelines issued by the UGC, institutions in the top 50 of the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings or those ranking among top 500 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, QS University Rankings or Shanghai Ranking Academic Ranking of World Universities were eligible to apply. New institutions were required to submit a 15-year vision plan to be among the top 500 globally ranked institutions, while existing institutions among the top 500 had to offer a plan to improve their ranking to be among the top 100 in the next 10 years. A screening committee will go through the applications and select the institutions. – Courtesy

AICTE to crack whip against foreign universities, Indian partners violating twinning rules

Deccan Herald | Prakash Kumar | DH News Service | New Delhi | Dec 13 2017 |

Foreign universities along with their Indian partner institutions will have to face criminal action if they offer any twinning programmes in technical education without prior approval of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). The technical education regulator has inserted a new provision in its regulations to take penal action against such institutions to check the dubious operations of the foreign universities and higher educational institutions in India. “In case, it comes to the notice of the Council that a foreign university is running diploma/ post diploma/ degree/ post graduate degree/ post graduate diploma/ doctoral level programme in technical education in India directly or in collaboration with an Indian partner without obtaining approval, the Council shall initiate immediate action under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for criminal breach of trust, misconduct, fraud, cheating, etc,” the revised regulations stipulate.

As per the revised regulations, it will be mandatory for the AICTE to subsequently inform the Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs and Reserve Bank of India of its action, recommending refusal or withdrawal of the visa granted to such foreign institutions’ faculty and other employees. The AICTE can also recommend that the government agencies concerned stop repatriation of funds from India to home country of the foreign institution found to have joined hands with any Indian higher educational institution for offering twinning programmes.  The revised regulations have made it mandatory for the AICTE to inform the public about the actions taken against such institutions. The Council will withdraw its approval in case a foreign institution starts offering twinning programmes in collaboration with an Indian higher educational institution with prior approval of the regulator and later found to be violating the norms set for offering such programmes. “Such foreign institutions shall not be allowed to collaborate or enter into a collaborative arrangement with any institution in India for at least next 3 years,” stipulate the AICTE (Grant of Approvals for the Technical Institutions) (1st Amendment) Regulations, 2017. The Council, however, will have to give such foreign institutions and their Indian partners a “reasonable opportunity” of being heard through its standing hearing committee and standing appellate committee before withdrawing approval to their twinning programme and “forbidding” such foreign institutions to operate in India in collaboration with any higher educational institution.

Re-allocate students

“Once the approval of the twinning programme is withdrawn, the Council shall make attempt in co-ordination with the State Government/UT concerned to re-allocate the students enrolled in such programmes to other approved institutions of the Council, the revised regulations provides. The higher educational institutions in such cases “shall” have to transfer “the entire fee,” collected from the students, to the institutions in which such students are accommodated, it added. – Courtesy

Over 50% engineering college seats vacant across India and the reasons are equally shocking

Money Control News | Dec 11, 2017  | Opinion |

AICTE data suggests that less than half the of engineering students in the country have got jobs through campus placement over the last five years.

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Technical education institutions in India, particularly those that offer BE (bachelor of engineering) and B Tech (bachelor of technology) courses, are running at 49 percent capacity, according to a report by the Financial  Express. The report also stated that according to data from All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), less than half the students passing out of these courses have found job via campus placements in the last five years. The job placement figure is even worse if you see only the standalone figure for last year, which stood at a paltry 40 percent. After a series of extremely disappointing numbers like these, the apex technical education body of the country – the AICTE – is now considering asking colleges with less than 70 percent occupancy to wind up and shut shop. This shocking situation also gained prominence after various reports online suggested that the quality of education in the country is worsening. The reasons for such a poor state of affairs are various, including corruption at various levels, poor infrastructure facilities like labs, and lack of skilled teaching faculty.

Factors like these are hampering the quality of graduates these colleges are churning out every year. External factors like poor connections with an industry body add insult to injury.  However, industry stalwarts have a different take on the story. RC Bhargava, Chairman of Maruti Suzuki, who is also Chairman of IIT Kanpur, was quoted by Financial Express as saying, “Most of the graduates don’t know the basics of engineering. The reason these vacancies keep increasing is because graduates can’t find jobs. That’s because employers don’t think they are worth employing. Most people will tell you that 80 percent of engineering graduates are not employable.”  Experts also blame market factors for this situation. In the wake of the dotcom bubble during the late 90s and early 2000s, when the IT industry saw a rush of software-related jobs, companies were in dire need of engineers. The situation was so grave that employers even chose to ignore a candidate’s branch of engineering, if he or she could code.  DK Subramaniam, professor at IISc, said that private players have now stepped up in order to keep pace with the booming demand but government institutions have stayed away from the software engineering branch. Although this helped calm things down back then, the situation turned serious when scrupulous institutions started cropping up by the hour.  The situation has resulted in a vicious circle in which low quality engineers are forcing the industry to hire less. Reduced demand in turn results in lower number of people choosing to enter the field. Unless and until universities step up their game, courses like BE and B Tech will continue turning more and more unviable by the day. – Courtesy

Engineering colleges vacant seats: Students alert! The horrific nature of the situation revealed

The Financial Express | December 12, 2017 |

That engineering colleges across the country have failed for some years to fill their seats was known—but over half the seats in the country remaining vacant in 2016-17 is shocking indeed.

That engineering colleges across the country have failed for some years to fill their seats was known—but over half the seats in the country remaining vacant in 2016-17 is shocking indeed. As per The Indian Express, 51% of the over 15 lakh seats in over 3,900 engineering colleges in India had not been filled last year. There are many factors to blame, from an explosion of career choices, professional courses and relevant employment opportunities to the general decline in demand for engineers, mainly in the IT sector. The IT sector fuelled the mushrooming of engineering colleges in the country; as the nature of IT employment changed over the years with greater focus on technologies like cloud and digital—and automation entered the workplace—appetite for engineering courses that geared one for a traditional IT job waned. Similarly, employment opportunities in other engineering disciplines had also thinned—somewhat compensated by IT till a few years ago—except for a few core disciplines like mining/metallurgy, civil, mechanical, etc. However, engineering education has been hit the hardest by lax quality-checks even as engineering institutes proliferated. As a result, recruiters have gotten very selective over the last couple of years—the IT boom had meant the exact opposite. Various studies finding a large chunk of engineering students unemployable—the oft-cited Aspiring Minds study found 80% of 150,000 engineering students across 650 engineering institutions unfit for engineering jobs—has only highlighted the problem, making recruiters even more cautious about quality. Most of the blame for this lies at the door of the technical education regulator, AICTE. The AICTE has been more than generous with granting approval even as it has turned a blind-eye to the infrastructure and instruction quality at the institutions it approved. Many well-meaning experts have suggested putting a moratorium on AICTE approvals for some years. However, that is no solution because such a move will also choke off creation of educational infrastructure in a country that is looking to improve its gross enrolment ratio in the tertiary education age population. Instead, setting strict standards of quality for approval and cancelling the approval of existing institutions that fail to meet these—perhaps through a new regulatory framework—works better. – Courtesy

Breathe life into deemed universities

The New Indian Express | S Vaidhyasubramaniam  |  12th December 2017  | Opinion |

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My phone finally stopped ringing after a series of calls from my students and well-wishers.  Everybody had one question: “Since the Supreme Court has disallowed deemed universities from using the word ‘university’, what will be the validity of the degrees issued so far and what is the course of action?” I told everybody that the past, present and future degrees are valid as per Section 22 of the The University Grants Commission Act, 1956 (UGC Act) and the course of action would be based on a recall of the past and understanding of the present. Let us begin with the past. The First Education Commission report of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1948-49) devoted a chapter on the genesis of deemed universities. The report recommended that the government evolve a method of creating university charters similar to many countries, where universities are set up not through acts of legislature but through charters granted by the head of the state. Thus was born the concept of deemed university under Section 3 of the UGC Act. As recommended by the commission, the National Commission for Higher Education and Research Bill which unfortunately got derailed, aimed for a permanent parliamentary solution to the deemed university nomenclature. The need to fix this was born out of a legitimate concern from global peers who constantly wanted to know “when will deemed universities become universities?” not knowing that they are universities for all practical purposes.

This deemed university conundrum was discussed by a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court in Prem Chand Jain vs R K Chabra, (1984) in which the court left it to the Centre to interpret or amend, if necessary Section 23 of the UGC Act. Empowered by this order, the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) directed the UGC to form a committee comprising the MHRD Secretary and Chairmen of UGC and AICTE. This committee recommended that since deemed universities are public universities established by an executive charter, they can use the word ‘university.’ Based on this, the UGC during September 2006 allowed deemed universities to use the word university. What appeared to be a settled case, assumed gargantuan proportions in the November 3 order of the Supreme Court in Orissa Lift Irrigation Corp. Ltd. Vs Sri Rabi Sankar Patro resulting in the on-going melee. This case was a service matter issue arising out of the validity of engineering degrees offered in distance education mode by only four deemed universities in India. None of the other 120 plus deemed universities were before the SC as the larger issue was not about the deeming fiction which is a subject matter of another batch of cases pending before the apex court. The court was also not made fully aware of the conscious permission of the UGC to use the word ‘university’ pursuant to the liberty granted by the Supreme Court in Prem Chand Jain’s case. Also, the Supreme Court attempted to distinguish the present case from the Bharathidasan University case (2001) delivered by a coordinating bench.

In an attempt to bring clarity to the issue, some deemed universities and associations approached the SC with modification and impleading applications on various grounds including the fact that the interpreter of law allows the interpreter to inquire not into the subjective intent of the author, but rather the intent the author would have had, had he or she acted reasonably. This spirit of purposive construction highlighted by Aharon Barak in Purposive Interpretation in Law, (2007) was appreciated by the Supreme Court in New India Assurance Co. Ltd. vs Nusli Neville Wadia, (2008). The Supreme Court also appreciated the principles of Casus Omissus in UCO Bank vs Rajinder Lal Capoor (2008) which as per G P Singh’s Interpretation of Statutes, is an application of the general principle that a matter which should have been, but has not been provided for in a statute cannot be supplied by courts, as doing so will be legislation and not construction. But all of these arguments advanced before the SC went in vain and the applications were dismissed making the November 3 order—which includes formation of a committee to frame new monitoring mechanism and regulations for deemed universities—effective without any modification. Under these circumstances, the following options in the interest of progressive policy making lie before the Centre and its statutory agencies such as UGC, AICTE, etc.

Action 1: As observed by the SC obiter dicta, the UGC Act of 1956 needs amendment to Section 23 to include deemed universities declared under Section 3 of the UGC Act to also use the word ‘university.’
Action 2: Approval from AICTE for engineering courses made mandatory only for those institutions that were not offering any technical education on the date of conferment of deemed university. This was distinguished by the SC in the present case and the AICTE Act rightly doesn’t include deemed universities in its definition of an institution. This was upheld by a coordinating bench of the Supreme Court in the Bharathidasan University case. A subordinate regulation to rope in all deemed universities not only needs an amendment of the AICTE Act but will also be a retrograde measure.

Action 3: The new committee must be guided by the proposed UGC Deemed Universities Graded Autonomy Regulations that is to be notified anytime soon. This is inherently designed to identify and encourage good performers and to take action against erring ones and aligns well the apex court’s recent directive to UGC.

Final recommendation: Amend to oxygenate and not mend to strangulate. – Courtesy

New education methods will transform the way students learn, says Mohandas Pai

The Hindu |  Lalatendu Mishra | December 09, 2017 | Opinion |

‘Students and employers will begin to question the value of a university degree’

T.V. Mohandas Pai

Education is set for massive transformation as technology is ushering in a new era in the field of learning, said T.V. Mohandas Pai, Chairman Aarin Capital. In the new scheme of things the student would be at the core and would decide as well as create her/his own degree at one’s own pace and medium. Mr. Pai, former Infosys CFO, and who is also Chairman, Manipal Global Education Services, explains what Education 4.0 is all about. Excerpts:

What is Education 4.0 and why is it important?

Education 4.0 is putting students at the heart of educational experience and creating individual learning experiences. Education 1.0 was the traditional method of students going to a Gurukul in India. Then came the universities as in Takshila and Nalanda in India. Then Universities came up in Europe. Then you had the industrial revolution which demanded a large number of people who could be trained. There, student read books, sat down and listened to the teachers. They had a course, they had a curriculum and then they obtained a certificate to earn a livelihood. In Education 4.0, students can create a degree of their own, are able to do a degree in nuclear science [combining it] with biotechnology, with dance, with music or with fundamental physics or something like that. The mix and match is available and can be done offline or online. A student can sit at home do a course online and get a degree. So, in Education 4.0 students can design their own course, learn offline or online and they can also make sure that they can learn at their own pace. At the end of it, they obtain a certificate that they can carry to job interviews.

How is it panning out?

It’s already happening in the world. Many students will ask themselves why they need a university degree? Why can’t they do things on their own? Employers will ask what the value of a university degree is? It is happening but slowly in India because lots of people have a common education system and they still want a degree. We see change all over the world and in next 5-10 years we see acceleration and an increase in people taking such certification.

Will things change in India in next 2 to 3 years?

Totally. I see change very slowly but I see a time when many people are well settled. Then we ask the question why I should send my child to college when I can educate him at home and get a certification.

Will Education 4.0 see reality by 2020?

I think around the world it will pick up by 2020 and in India by 2025. Our problem is the government. Our problem is the UGC. And also remember we are long behind the curve… in America, 70% of people go to college, in Germany 80% and in Japan 88% of people go to college.

How do you enhance the quality of education?

For that we need to see which are the best institutes in the world and what the catalyst is. The best institutes are Oxford, Harvard, Cambridge and they are so good because they decide what they want to do. They decide on courses, examinations… No Government and no regulator interference. The U.S. and U.K. governments just give money. We need to give full freedom to the top 100 education institutions and in the next five years we will see a change. We also need public funding for research. The government should have a ₹5,000 crore annual fund for research and all universities should bid for it.

Has the government brought about any reform in the education sector?

The biggest disappointment of the NDA government is that they have not done much in the education sector. Only now since Prakash Javdekar has come in do we see a focus on institutions of national importance

We have not seen many institutions like Manipal….

It is because there is control. Government is not giving approval to private sector people. Those who gave bribes got the approval. At one point, there were 4,500-5,000 engineering colleges in one year. How did they come up? They all gave money. The system is rotten, it’s corrupt, and the bad people got it. Now, we are getting good universities. Jindal has put up a University, now Manipal has been there. And 5 to 6 people are coming up. I think Prime Minister should talk to billionaires of this country to come and up set up a University by putting ₹2000 crore each of their own money because you are a billionaire and can afford to spend.

Can we have Oxford or Cambridge type institutions in India?

We can. Give our universities research and see the magic in 5 years. Give them money for research and ask them to compete. Create a kitty of ₹5000 crore of public money. State and Central Government spend ₹40 lakh crore in a year on education. – Courtesy

Indian-American firm STEM Academy launches novel education programme in India

Financial Express | PTI | December 8, 2017 |

An Indian-American firm is planning to introduce a new method of teaching science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to middle and secondary school students in India through experiential learning.

STEM –

An Indian-American firm is planning to introduce a new method of teaching science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to middle and secondary school students in India through experiential learning.  The Atlanta-based STEM Academy has said that it will open a “Center of Excellence” in Delhi next month that will train and certify teachers.  It will be launched in selected schools across India from January 1 for students enrolled in grades four through 10.  The Academy’s mission is to ignite the innovative trait in young Indian students and “create a new generation of youngsters who will think out of the box,” said Amitabh Sharma, a co-founder of the Academy.  Noting that this is quite in line with former US president Barack Obama’s drive ‘Educate to Innovate’, Sharma said “if US can get benefitted with STEM, so can India with its current focus on aggressive programmes like ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’, ‘New India’ etc.” The programme targets students enrolled in schools affiliated with four major boards that regulate primary and secondary school education in India: the Central Board of Secondary Education, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination, State School Boards and International Baccalaureate.  “It is an interdisciplinary way of teaching maths and science, integrated with day-to-day engineering and technology,” said Sharma, who has an MBA, a law degree and a doctorate in marketing.  A serial entrepreneur with experience in oil and gas, information technology and education, Sharma is the founding chair of the American India Foundation’s Atlanta Leadership Council.  Sharma said the Indian school outreach and implementation is being done by Gurgaon-based India channel partner MPower Global STEM Education.

Observing that STEM has come to assume great significance in view of re-igniting innovation and creativity amongst school going children, he said this methodology is increasingly finding more followers every day as far as in India.  “Yet the efficacy of STEM based learning has by far been limited due to apparent lack of structure,” he said, adding that STEM Academy of USA has developed a unique implementation strategy for India.  “The world has acknowledged the strength and significance of practical project based learning. Perhaps it is time to move away from traditional rote learning to out-of-the-box creativity oriented learning that nurtures well rounded leaders.” “Indian youngsters then will well be on the path to becoming capable world citizens and catapulting India to its inventive best,” Sharma said. – Courtesy        /     Do visit——->       MPower Global – MPower Global        /       http://www.stemacademyofusa.com/

Upper, lower fee limits soon for engineering courses

Deccan Herald | Prakash Kumar | DH News Service | New Delhi | Dec 11 2017 |

The All India Council for Technical Education has kick-started the process to fix  minimum and maximum fees for engineering courses, and assigned the task to a committee headed by Justice (Retd) B N Srikrishna. The move  comes two years after the council accepted the recommendations of a 10-member committee – headed by the same judge – on capping the fees for engineering, architecture, information technology, management, pharmacy and nursing courses.  But that committee had prescribed only the maximum fee limits. Many technical institutions  from different states demanded a uniform minimum fee limit, too. They argued that they  were struggling to run  technical courses as  several states had fixed the minimum fee limit in the absence of guidelines from the AICTE, official sources in the council said.  “To address their grievances, the council has decided to fix both minimum and maximum fee limits for all technical institutes. The Srikrishna committee has been asked to make fresh recommendations,” a source added. The fee limits, to be notified on the basis of the panel’s recommendations, will also apply to the deemed-to-be-universities that offer technical programmes in various disciplines, the sources said. The AICTE had formed the Justice Srikrishna committee, asking it  to prescribe fee limits so as to check profiteering by private institutions. The  council’s move followed the Supreme Court verdict in the TMA Pai Foundation case. The committee submitted its report in 2015,  prescribing  varying maximum fee limits for technical programmes on the basis of factors such as  tuition and development fees in tier-1, tier-II and tier-III cities. – Courtesy

AICTE wants a minimum fee for technical courses –    Neelam Pandey |  Hindustan Times, New Delhi |  Dec 10, 2017  |

Justice Srikrishna committee had put a ceiling on maximum fee institutes can charge but did not prescribe the minimum amount for courses.

A year after the regulatory body put a ceiling on the maximum fee technical institutes can charge students, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has now prescribed a minimum fee for the colleges governed by it. A government-appointed committee had recommended putting a cap on the tuition fee last year, following which AICTE directed all the states to implement the recommendation at all private institutes for technical courses, including engineering and MBA. But no word on minimum fee meant several states lowered the fee for various courses. The AICTE has written to the Justice Srikrishna committee that was set up to fix a fee cap for technical institutes, asking them to prescribe the minimum fee as well. Sources in the HRD ministry said the committee has accepted the suggestion in-principal. There are over 7,000 institutes under AICTE.

“A number of institutes have written to us that in some states they have been asked to lower the fee to Rs30,000 per semester which is not feasible. They said they are adhering to the maximum fee cap but a minimum limit should also be set. We have written to the committee and they have agreed to it. It will be worked out soon,” said a senior AICTE official. The AICTE last year made it mandatory to implement proposals of the National Fee Committee, a 10-member panel headed by former Supreme Court Judge BN Srikrishna, which was formed in 2014 to prescribe fee guidelines for technical institutions. The AICTE had said that institutions failing to comply with the recommendations will face legal proceedings and cancellation of their AICTE approval.  The report prescribed caps on tuition fees and related funds charged by institutes for engineering, management, pharma and technical courses. But autonomous and accredited institutions will be allowed to charge an additional 10% and 20% tuition fees respectively. IITs will not be affected by the move as they do not require the AICTE’s approval. For instance, the committee had fixed the maximum (tuition and development) fee for a two-year MBA course at Rs1.57 lakh to Rs 1.71 lakh per annum, depending on the location of the institute. The annual fee for a four-year engineering degree (BE or B Tech) was fixed at Rs 1.44 lakh to 1.58 lakh. Similarly, maximum fee for technical courses like B Arch, B Pharma, MCA and M Tech were are fixed by them. – Courtesy

UGC allows candidates registered for PhD before 2009 to be appointed assistant professors

The Free Press Journal Bureau | |

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New Delhi : Those with PhD before 2009 shall be appointed assistant professors without undertaking the National Eligibility Test (NET). The University Grants Commission (UGC) even relaxed the condition that they should have published at least two papers after securing the degree. Those who earned their PhDs since 2009 are exempt from the NET irrespective of their published papers – provided the institutions that awarded the doctorates to them followed the commission’s 2009 quality guidelines.  “The research papers of the candidate from his/her research work published beyond the period of acquiring his/ her PhD degree are also acceptable provided it is certified by the PhD degree awarding university,” says the clarification issued by commission secretary P. K. Thakur. It also allowed post- PhD seminar presentations by the candidates to count while determining NET exemption.

Candidates for teaching jobs at universities and colleges need to qualify through the NET or the State Level Eligibility Test (SLET), whichever is relevant, but PhD holders initially enjoyed a blanket exemption. This led to complaints that many of them were not good enough, thanks to a lack of standardisation in doctorate programmes. In 2009, the regulator came up with norms relating to entrance tests and course work for PhD programmes, and said the existing doctorates must take the NET/ SLET to secure teaching jobs. This triggered protests, and the government set up a committee. It said pre- 2009 PhD holders should be exempt from these exams if they had been interviewed on their theses by experts, had their theses externally assessed, and had two publications and two presentations under their belt.  – Courtesy

Click here to Download the UGC Circular : Published on 08-12-2017 :  UGC Public Notice reg.: PhD Degrees registered prior to July 11, 2009 , 1 page, pdf

AICTE new rules: Technical institutes to publish complete list of fees on websites

Hindustan Times | Neelam Pandey  | New Delhi | Dec 07, 2017 |

Failing to follow these norms will mean that colleges will have to pay a fine — the amount being twice the total fee collected per student.

All technical institutes in the country will now have to publish a complete list of fees, on their websites and will not be permitted to charge students for any other costs, according to new rules notified by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on Thursday. Failing to follow these norms will mean that colleges will have to pay a fine — the amount being twice the total fee collected per student. Not only this, the AICTE can also suspend approval for NRI and supernumerary seats given to any institution for one academic year. Also, according to the new rules, no institute will be able to name itself a way that the abbreviated form of the name matches the country’s premier institutes — IIM, IIT, IISc, NIT or government bodies such as AICTE, UGC, MHRD, GoI. The council says this rule was brought in to avoid confusion. “This (naming institutions along similar lines) is often done to mislead the students and they end up taking admission in such institutes,” said a senior AICTE official. The regulations have been notified in a document called the All India Council for Technical Education (Grant of Approvals for the Technical Institutions) (1st Amendment) Regulations, 2017. As per the notification, fees charged by these institutions will have to be clearly announced on their website.  No other fees can be collected from the students aside from those that are fixed by the state/fee regulatory committee.  The norms have also prescribed penalties for violations. For instance, the penalty for charging excess fees will be twice the total fees collected per student.

The excess amount collected will also have to be refunded to the student. Additionally, the sanctioned intake of the institute will also be cut down. The institute can also lose its approval to operate along with its approval for the programme/course.  “The applicant shall also not use the word(s) Government, India, Indian, National, All India, All India Council, Commission anywhere in the name of the Technical Institution and other names as prohibited under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use), Act, 1950…” reads the notification issued by the council. The notification also extends to foreign universities/institutions operating in India by opening their own centres or having entered into partnerships with domestic institutions. The notification adds that in such cases, the council will inform concerned agencies including the ministry of external affairs, the home ministry and the Reserve Bank of India of their decision and advise them against issuing visas to employees/teachers and to stop repatriation of funding. – Courtesy

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