The Times of India | TNN | Dec 1, 2016 | MSc admission for engineering graduates opens |
PUNE: Engineering students at Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) can now take admission for master’s degree in science (MSc). The varsity took the decision on Tuesday at the academic council meeting as engineering students showed an interest in biotechnology and environment science among other branches offered by science stream. SPPU officials also said that several engineering students remain jobless even after acquiring a degree and they could take advantage of the new scheme. Earlier, engineering students could pursue a post-graduation course only in branches affiliated to the engineering field. However, with the decision taken by the academic council, students can now opt for a course in science. According to trends over the past decade, a majority of students took admission to engineering courses rather than science, arts, commerce and medicine. However, after graduation, very few succeeded in getting jobs. Further, despite an interest in pursuing a post-graduation course in science, many students were unable to do so.
The Financial Express | By: FE Bureau | December 1, 2016 |
The policy would outline roles of the AICTE, academic institutions, and TBI (Technology Business Incubators) in creating student entrepreneurs.
The National Student Start-up Policy aims to create 100,000 students owned tech-based start-ups and a million employment opportunities by 2025. Formulated by AICTE, the policy would outline roles of the AICTE, academic institutions, and TBI (Technology Business Incubators) in creating student entrepreneurs aims to identify the potential of students and transform them into start-up entrepreneurs. This policy is intended to guide AICTE approved institutions when implementing the government’s ‘Start-up India’ initiative. The curriculum in these institutes will have 30% knowledge related courses, 40% skills based courses and 30% attitude related courses.
To bolster the start-up eco-system in India, the government has also proposed to introduce start-up fests at national and international levels. It has made a provision in its National Start-up Policy to set up a fund with an initial corpus of R2,500 crore and a total corpus of R10,000 crore over a period of four years (i.e. R2,500 crore per year). The Fund will be about the nature of start-up for the funds, which means that it will not invest directly into the start-ups, but shall participate in the capital of Sebi registered venture funds. AICTE can facilitate its institutions to connect, network and use funds which apparently support campus start-ups. An Infrastructure Fund with an initial annual outflow of R20 crore shall be set up to support start-ups in academic institu-tes. It will fulfill requirements of hard and soft infrastructure such as physical infras-tructure for demand analysis data set, testing labs, design studio, IT labs, tool rooms, video-conferencing facilities, etc. – Courtesy / Click here to download the document : Start-Up Policy AICTE-2016 – 32 pages pdf
Business Standard | Press Trust of India | Lucknow November 30, 2016 |
With emergence of new job categories following government’s mega initiatives like Digital India, Skill India, Smart Cities and Make in India and to meet changing landscape of businesses, Dehradun-based University of Petroleum and Energy Studies has started several new courses. “To make the best use of these opportunities, we have launched new programmes having future relevance so that students do not choose just what is prevalent today or what their peers are doing,” UPES CEO-cum-President Utpal Ghosh said today. He said to arm students with relevant industry knowledge and smart skills for the future, UPES has 79 graduate and post-graduate programmes across 14 core sectors like energy, IT, design and planning, architecture, business, public policy and legal studies. Some of the new courses are B.Tech Mechatronics Engineering, B.Tech Fire and Safety Engineering, M.Tech Health, Safety and Environmental Engineering, B.Tech Energy Technology LLB (Hons) with Specialization in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and B.A Public Policy & Administration with embedded civil services coaching and test preparation, he said. Ghosh said that because of its multi-disciplinary courses, UPES graduates were selected for jobs by various companies.
“UPES has maintained a consistent placement track record of 85 per cent,” he said, adding it was a QS rated university with 5 stars for both placements and campus facilities and 4 stars for teaching. He said UPES students pursing BTech specialisation courses recently participated in global aerospace competition – CanSat 2016 – and grabbed first position in Europe and Asia. CanSat competition is organised by American Astronautical Society, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and NASA. Some of the new courses are B.Tech Mechatronics Engineering, B.Tech Fire and Safety Engineering, M.Tech Health, Safety and Environmental Engineering, B.Tech Energy Technology LLB (Hons) with Specialization in Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and B.A Public Policy & Administration with embedded civil services coaching and test preparation. – Courtesy
Gauri Kohli | Hindustan Times | New Delhi | Nov 29, 2016 | Opinion |
Heads of ODL varsities and experts have said that the transfer of the Distance Education Council (DEC) from Indira Gandhi National Open University (Ignou) to University Grants Commission (UGC) is “not right’ and is causing a number of problems for universities. According to MM Ansari, former member UGC, transfer of DEC from Ignou to UGC was “done administratively” and was “illegal.” The UGC ‘largely’ has the power to regulate and fund conventional courses. “The Ignou Act gives the university the power to perform these roles for ODL institutions. Both UGC and Ignou Acts have been passed by Parliament with the Ignou Act being passed in 1985 – much after the UGC Act.” Shifting of DEC from Ignou to UGC required an amendment in the Ignou and UGC Acts. The powers to regulate institutions have been vested with both through Parliamentary provisions. The emergency clause, ie Section 20 (1) of the UGC Act was invoked by the HRD ministry under which DEC was transferred from Ignou to UGC. This clause can only be used sparingly for policy matters but this was not a policy matter, he says.
DEC can be given back to Ignou as it is legally possible. “The UGC cannot keep it for long until the Parliament authorises both through amendments. The DEC draft bill is still pending and cannot be enacted. The UGC is under pressure after the Niti Aayog and Hari Gautam Committee have recommended to modify its structure and stature. The UGC and DEC’s future is uncertain, Ansari adds. The National Education Policy draft proposes setting up of an autonomous body, responsible for the promotion, coordination, regulation and maintenance of standards in the ODL/Massive Online and Open Courses system. This body will prepare norms, standards and guidelines for systemic development and regulation of ODL/ MOOCs. It will also develop a mechanism for recognition, transfer and accumulation of credits earned through MOOCs, award and recognition of degrees, suggests the draft. A Parliamentary Standing Committee also directed the HRD ministry earlier this year to speed up the process of appointing a distance education regulator. Professor Ravindra Kumar, vice chancellor (in-charge) Ignou, says, “We hope the UGC will appreciate that this kind of differential treatment will hamper the growth of ODL institutions and will jeopardise the long-term national goal of providing wider access to higher education.”
Kumar feels it is futile to revive DEC in its old form and that it is a better idea to revamp the erstwhile DEC and make it capable of dealing with the “rapidly changing universe of open learning”. He says, “It is a most glaring reality today that the concept of distance learning has evaporated in thin air with the advent of modern information and communication technology. Use of mobile, television and computer has completely dissolved the notion of distance learning and replaced it with digital learning. We should comprehend this reality without any further loss of time and regear ODL as open and digital learning system/s,” he says. In this scenario, the role of a regulator needs to be “genetically modified to answer these issues.” The UGC or DEC, any regulator, which does not comply with the changing trends in distance education will “fail miserably in performing its task,” he says. It must also be noted that a number of ODL institutions are offering online courses which are not valid. “This is mainly because of the absence of a proper regulator for such courses. The UGC had set up a committee to look into it. The DEC did not approve any university to run a course solely through the online mode,” says Ansari. – Courtesy
The Times of India | Hemali Chhapia | Nov 29, 2016 |
MUMBAI: For long, blue chip companies, investment firms and start-ups ruled the first edition of placements at the Indian Institutes of Technology. Phase-1 as it is called has academic institutes that have jumped up the charts this recruitment season. IIT-Bombay has seen a three-fold increase in the number of academic institutes visiting its campus this December. While there were 7 institutes last year that had signed up to recruit teaching talent, there are 20 that have already registered this time around. Most of them are India universities, many of them private and deemed universities that draw teachers from the top rung campuses. “Close to 10% of our total recruiters are academic institutes this year, thus offering a lot of options for our doctoral candidates,” said a member of the placement committee. Teachers matter to them. Even at IIT-Kanpur, 15 academic institutes have registered to pick faculty from among the masters and PhD graduates. Amrita University, private universities like Thapar, DIT (Dehradun Institute of Technology), Nashik’s Sandip University, colleges like SR Patel Engineering College and even coaching classes like Rao IIT Academy. “Generally, academic institutes are visiting the campus after the December. Six institutes/universities have already been registered this year. Last year 12 academic institutes/universities have offered 76 jobs,” said N P Padhy, professor-in-charge of Training and Placement at IIT-Roorkee. Usually relegated slots in the second segment, Manu Santhanam from IIT-Madras said that a clear picture would emerge only next semester as academic institutes hire all the way until May – June. “There is no fixed time limit for them, as they are mostly interested in the research scholars,” he said.
Sandip Jha, chairman of Sandip University, said there were plans afloat to design their engineering school on the lines of the IITs. “For that we need the best possible faculty in the country. Hence we have empanelled ourselves with all the IITs and the NITs. We pay as per UGC norms,” he added. However, the IITs have not yet seen too many international campuses travelling to pick freshers. In 2009, among the many universities shopping for faculty members was the Alfaisal University from Saudi Arabia which had landed up at several IITs and offered an annual compensation of 1.3 lakh Saudi riyals (approximately Rs 17 lakh), apart from housing and other facilities. Again, Texas A&M University, seeking to recruit for its Qatar campus, was scouting IIT-Madras for talent. Indian educational institutes recruiting IIT graduates for faculty positions offer less than half the remuneration offered by their international counterparts. A faculty member at IIT-Bombay pointed out that “a very, very small of MTechs” take up teaching jobs. “At the end of the placement season, it will be interesting to be see how many of these universities actually get serious students,” he added. – Courtesy
Web India | Tuesday, Nov 29 2016 |
In a move to give push to government’s cashless transaction campaign, the Human Resource Development Ministry today directed all schools, colleges and higher education institutions to spread awareness among their students. A high-level meeting chaired by Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar was held here in which all senior officials were directed to spread awareness in all educational bodies, institutions about the use of cashless transactions. NITI Ayog also gave its presentation today to all HRD officials in this regard in which benefits of digital transactions were elaborated to them. The meeting was chaired by Mr Javadekar.
According to sources, “The Ministry directed all institutions and schools across the country to encourage and provide means the students to go for digital payments to pay their canteen bills, school/college fees and other payments within the institutions. “Some institutions and schools have already initiated in this regard and have distributed all the students in-house cards which they could use for their bill payments. “Even in some cases, the students have been seen giving penalty charges of library books through this card,” the official said adding, “Besides, some schools have organized Parents-teachers meet (PTM) so that their parents could support and educate their children to adopt digital transactions.” These directions have been given to CBSE, AICTE, NCERT and all other bodies, who would further spread awareness to their respective educational institutions, the official said. UNI. Courtesy
The Times of India | Arya UR | Nov 29, 2016 | Brainy Students invent device to prevent accidents |
In the wake of increasing deaths of two-wheeler riders in the state due to accidents, four budding engineers from Government Model Engineering College, Thrikkakkara, have come up with an innovative idea to reduce the incidence of road accidents. Termed ‘Accident Prevention and Detection for Two-wheeler’, youngsters G Rahul, Abinav K Subramanian, Paulson Paul and Aban Varghese, third year Electronics and Biomedical Engineering students, bagged the first place for their invention in the Hackathon organised by Bosch, in Bengaluru recently. The prototype of the device was built by the team using an ultrasonic sensor which can alert a rider about over-speeding vehicles nearby. “The ultrasonic device is attached on the back of the two-wheeler which will detect the high speed of vehicles four metres away from the rider. The rider will be alerted about the approaching vehicle through the LED lights attached on the both sides of his or her helmet. If the zooming vehicle is on their left side, the left LED will blink and vice versa. Thus it will notify the rider to be cautious,” says Abinav.
The youngsters got shortlisted from the 500 plus entries registered at the event and made the prototype within the stipulated duration of 36 hours at the competition. They worked on the theme, ‘safety’ taking into account the two-wheeler accidents happening around. The prototype also facilitates the application to inform a nearby ambulance driver if a rider has had an accident. Explaining the project module, Abhinav’s friend G Rahul says, “In the case of an accident, the normal orientation in the accelerometer will change. The high velocity of the vehicle will be sent through the GPS system in a software application to the android phone of the nearby ambulance driver. Or else the GPS message can be connected to a server system or control room that could coordinate with the ambulance service near the accident prone area.” The aspiring engineers assure that if the system is applied in vehicles it will eliminate the number of accidents involving two-wheelers. “Prevention is better than cure and our aim is to safeguard people from preventable accidents,” Rahul adds. – Courtesy
Business Standard | IANS | New Delhi November 28, 2016 |
Two years ago, Sri Charvitha, a student of the B.V. Raju Institute of Technology, walked into the Microsoft campus in Hyderabad to join the Women in Software Engineering (WISE) mentoring programme. Dreaming of leveraging it to land a reputable job, she transformed herself from a rookie coder to an enlightened developer. Microsoft launched WISE in 2014 to inspire women engineers to pursue rewarding careers in the field of software technology. “We have worked with partners who interacted in local and regional colleges to help the volunteers offer the students a strong platform that nurtures their technical capabilities and enhances their soft skills to be job-ready at the end of the programme,” Charumathy Srinivasan, Partner Group Software Engineering Manager at Microsoft India Development Center, told IANS. The idea stemmed from a group of women engineers at Microsoft India who wanted to help women engineering students carve out successful careers in technology. “When we began the WISE mentoring programme, our first batch had 10 students from the B.V. Raju Institute of Technology and each of them developed interesting applications. The students worked from the ideating phase to actually publishing the app,” Srinivasan added. The WISE programme comprises a mentoring ring of volunteers who aim to create an experiential learning for the students to hone their professional skills and cultivate a “can do” attitude. Additionally, it also allows participants to enhance their learning in the area of their technological interest.
After the success of first batch, the second focused not only on helping students build apps but also introduced deep-learning modules with a focus on Big Data and Machine Learning. The second batch students built nine applications across platforms, demonstrating their understanding of agile development of solutions. “The feedback from the college faculties was also extremely favourable, with recognition of how the sessions had enhanced the students’ academic and personal development. Earlier this month, we inducted 35 students for our third batch,” Srinivasan noted. Another participant in the programme, Lalitha Gade, has inspired her fellow students by building a school bus tracking application called Trackyaan as a part of the WISE programme. She credits her transformation into an industry-ready professional to the Microsoft mentors. “The WISE Mentoring Ring has been an ideal platform to help us transform into professionals by enhancing our skills and confidence. The mentoring sessions helped us learn the latest technologies from the experts and gave us an opportunity to build Trackyaan and publish it. Our mentors transmuted us into industry-ready professionals,” Gade told IANS.
“WISE Mentoring Ring helped me gain invaluable knowledge in both technical and soft skills. The sessions made us competent to develop and publish an app, WalletLog, on Google Play Store. During the sessions, I have learnt how to communicate effectively, collaborate with teams and carry myself with poise even in tough situations,” Sravya Kanagarla, another student, said. “While we run an industry collaboration programme with Talent Sprint for Women in Software Engineering, the perspective of applying their learning in a large organisation environment is daunting and challenging to a student,” Ravichandran Rajagopal, Vice Chair, Sri Vishnu Educational Society, one of the institutional partners, told IANS. “The fact that women mentors from Microsoft came together and volunteered to mentor girl students to adapt their career and create a product company mindset was unique and appealing,” Rajagopal added. – Courtesy
The Hindu Business Line || 29 November 2016 |
Jacob Thekkekara and Visakh Sasikumar proudly show off the tricycle they have designed. We are at the IITM Research Park in Taramani, Chennai, and Jacob pedals a short distance on the tricycle to show how easy it is. Of course, the tricycle is not carrying any load. But, still with the pedal-assist technology that the duo has provided on it, they say it should be a cinch to move around with the 250-kg payload that it can carry. The two have founded a company Pi Beam Labs, incubated at the IITM Research Park, which has sold one vehicle, to French multinational tyre maker Michelin for use in its plant near Chennai, to move materials inside the factory. It has orders for at least 30 more, which it hopes to fulfil in the next few months.
Looking for funds
Jacob, 32, Chief Technology Officer, and Visakh, 27, Chief Executive Officer, Pi Beam, are in the process of raising about 1.5 crore that they will use to strengthen the team, especially marketing capabilities. Both of them are engineering graduates from Kerala and worked in different companies before landing up at IIT-Madras to pursue Master’s in different programmes. That is where they met. Visakh had registered a company to do something on renewable energy, but was stuck because his co-promoters had walked out of the venture for different reasons. That the two met up on campus proved fortuitous as Jacob’s mechanical engineering background came in handy when they decided to pivot and pursue the pedal-assist tricycle business. After studying the design faults in some of the tricycles that were in the market, Pi Beam has adopted a single frame modular chassis for the vehicle, which overcomes problems of alignment in some of the other models. The vehicle has a proprietary assist technology, where the rider can choose how much assistance he or she wants from the motor. It has an intelligent torque management system through which the torque sensor communicates the assistance required to the controller, which, Jacob says, describes as the vehicle’s brain.
“The moment you apply a force on the pedal, the torque sensor will sense the torque that is being applied and as per the logic, the motor will kick in. So, then the effort (of pedalling) reduces right from the very beginning itself,” says Jacob. “It is completely pedal assisted. You have to keep pedalling and the motor will run simultaneously,” he adds. “We have the entire chassis design. We have validated whether it will withstand the load,” says Jacob. Pi Beam sources the components from vendors and assembles the vehicle at the IITM Research Park. Thanks to the incubation ecosystem, the two were able to tap into mentors from different fields to help in their project. MM Murugappan of the Chennai-based Murugappa group, is one of the mentors at the research park and through him, Pi Beam was able to connect to TI Cycles, which is part of the Murugappa group, to fine tune their supply chain management.
Pi Beam’s tricycle comes in three variants – the basic model Titan priced at 30,000, Pluto at 60,000 and Mercury at 90,000. Titan has only the manual option, but has disc brakes and a gear mechanism. Pluto is the entry level electric tricycle with a 250W motor, intelligent torque management system and an optional gear mechanism. Mercury, the top-end model, has a 400W electric motor, and has facilities for solar charging of the battery. The canopy covering the cargo has solar panels that can charge the battery on the go. The solar panels are sourced from Cygni, another IITM-incubated company. According to Visakh, their venture has three potential markets that it can address. One is the private work spaces, which includes all factories, IT parks and universities. The latter two for moving people around. “Whatever space you take, they have something that needs to be carried,” he explains. Then there are the public work spaces, which includes various applications for moving cargo such as gas cylinders, garbage collection and ice cream carts. The third category, according to him, is where last mile connectivity is required – say, from a metro rail station to the nearest bus stop. These vehicles are non-polluting and will find use in smart cities that are being set up in India, he adds. Besides, says Visakh, there is a huge export market that is waiting to be tapped. In Bangladesh, Malaysia and Thailand, these tricycles can be used for public transportation or for ferrying tourists in pilgrimage spots. The vehicle has a top speed of 25 km an hour. “We have got initial orders. We need to deliver them, make them happy customers,” says Visakh. Michelin alone, he adds, has requirement for quite a few more of these vehicles, which they hope to tap into.
Their plan is not to set up a plant, but be asset light and source components from various vendors. The company that supplies them the frame can easily handle up to 50,000 orders a year, adds Visakh. They initially plan to concentrate on Chennai and Bengaluru, then move into other cities such as Mumbai, Pune and Amaravati (the new capital of Andhra Pradesh) and the many smart cities that are coming up. “Fourth year is the year of scale up. If we feel that we have enough orders and we are generating revenues and it makes sense to have a factory, then we will put up one,” says Visakh. – Courtesy
The Telegraph | November 28 , 2016 | SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT | Panel for recognition of one-year master’s |
New Delhi, Nov. 27: A government-appointed panel has proposed that foreign degrees be granted equivalence in India despite mismatches in course duration and entry-level qualifications. Headed by UGC chairman Ved Prakash, the panel has, however, placed a quality rider – that the foreign university should be accredited and regulated by institutions comparable to those in India, sources said. If the HRD ministry approves the recommendations, the one-year master’s degrees awarded by most institutions in the UK and Australia would be recognised in India. Students with foreign degrees would then be eligible to sit the National Eligibility Test (NET), which has to be cleared for appointment to assistant professor posts in colleges and universities. As of now, the Association of Indian Universities (AIU) grants equivalence only to those degrees that are from recognised foreign institutions and whose course duration and entry-level qualifications are similar to Indian institutions.
The one-year foreign master’s degrees are not recognised in India. At present, nearly 15,000 students are pursuing higher studies in the UK and about 48,000 in Australia. The panel recommendations were placed before HRD minister Prakash Javadekar recently. The ministry has questioned how it would be determined if a foreign accrediting and regulatory agency is qualitatively comparable to that in India. The committee has based its recommendations on a few arguments. It has found that a few thousand Indian students were holders of UK master’s degrees but were not eligible for higher studies or teaching jobs in Indian colleges and universities. The panel also found that the Centre was sending its senior officials for training to foreign institutions. Under the Commonwealth Scholarships implemented by the UGC, Indian students are sent to UK universities to pursue one-year master’s courses.
Moreover, British universities have started accepting certificates issued by Indian school boards after 12 years of schooling as equivalent to their 13-year schooling system. Considering this, the degrees they award should not face equivalence issues, the committee has argued. Joanna Newman, the vice-president and vice-principal (international) of King’s College, London, has welcomed the proposal to grant recognition to one-year master’s degrees. “There is a strong desire on behalf of both UK and Indian universities for greater collaboration and innovation and anything which can help lift current restrictions on both sides should be encouraged,” Newman said in reply to an e-mail query. In her capacity as director, UK Higher Educational Unit, Newman had met HRD ministry officials in 2012. She had then presented the findings of a survey conducted by the National Recognition Information Centre suggesting that the one-year UK master’s degree be considered comparable to the two-year Indian master’s. The study was based on the similarity of qualification outcomes, course duration, course content, progression routes, research requirements, occupational outcomes, assessment method and rigour and quality assurance, Newman said. “I would stress it is the importance of considering the depth of study and key skills attained upon completion – not simply course duration,” she wrote. The AIU secretary general, Furqan Qamar, said: “We follow the existing norms. A committee was constituted to look into the problems faced by individuals holding foreign degrees. The decision of the HRD ministry is awaited.” – Courtesy