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Supreme Court closes deemed university case, HRD seeks legal opinion

At KTU, view evaluated answer scripts online

Sovi Vidyadharan  |  Express News Service  |   28th October 2016 |  

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Not satisfied with the marks awarded to you in the engineering examination? Don’t jump into the routine ‘scrutiny, revaluation’ bandwagon. You can consider that option after taking a look at your evaluated answer sheet.  In the first such initiative by any university in the state, APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU) has introduced the provision of sending evaluated answer scripts to the students. KTU is the affiliating university for engineering institutions in the state. The move, aimed at ensuring transparency, has been a long-standing demand of the student community.

How it Works
After the results are announced, the university will give the option for the students to apply online for getting a copy of their answer scripts. The student has to apply online with the login provided to him. The answer scripts will be scanned and uploaded to the portal. This will then reach student’s institute login. Simultaneously, a confirmation e-mail will be sent to the student and the principal of the institution.
The advantage

At present, universities in the state provide a scrutiny facility through which the student has to visit the university concerned to peruse their answer scripts. The student can only view the answer scripts but cannot get the copies. With the new facility introduced by KTU, the students can access scanned copies of their answer scripts from any location.

A New Beginning
“Initially, KTU will charge a fee for this facility as the papers are kept at different centres across the state and manpower is required to facilitate the copying of the answer scripts. Once the valuation system is automated, the facility will be available to the students free of cost,” says M Abdul Rahman , Pro Vice Chancellor, KTU.  The candidates of the first and second semester BTech special examinations conducted during August/September 2016 can avail of this facility. Students can register for the facility at the KTU portal from October 31 to November 4. –  Courtesy

Enrolment to engineering courses dips over stagnant job market

Neelam Pandey  | Hindustan Times | New Delhi |  Oct 27, 2016  |

Engineering appears to be losing its attraction as a top career option among Indians.

The number of students getting admitted to government and private engineering colleges and institutes — excluding IITs and NITs — is recording a steady decline, by at least 100,000 in the past two years. Barely half of the number of seats across the country got filled last year.  The All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) discussed the worrying trend at a recent meeting after states such as Odisha and Madhya Pradesh asked the human resource development (HRD) ministry to conduct a demand-supply analysis before granting approval to new engineering institutes. The trend could be attributed to a near-stagnated job market for engineers or availability of a glut of career options for students from non-engineering fields. Jobs have dried up, with just one out of three engineering students getting campus placements. Placements have increased from 31% in 2013-14 to about 40% last session, but as has the number of graduates from new institutes that have come up in the past few years and private colleges, which have increased their seats.  These are churning out more graduates than there are jobs. Besides, most of the students don’t meet expectations of companies offering placement.

“A majority of students graduating from engineering institutes don’t have the required skills and knowledge for specific jobs. Naturally, they don’t get employed. Faculties at engineering institutes are a cause of worry too,” said Deepak Pental, former vice-chancellor of Delhi University. A NASSCOM survey in 2011 says only 25% graduates working in the Indian IT sector have the required skills. The situation has not changed much a decade on. “Many new engineering colleges are coming up every year. The AICTE grants them approval if the infrastructure and faculty requirements are in place. But one needs to examine the demand and supply, an HRD ministry official said.  The AICTE’s own data say more than 800,000 students were admitted to state-run and private engineering institutes in 2015-16, but only 340,000 got jobs. “We are ending up opening teaching shops across the country. It should definitely be assessed whether there is a demand for such institutes as many seats are also lying vacant,” Pental said. The AICTE, which grants approvals to institutes, said enrolment has been down because many students are opting for tech institutes of private universities.  “Private institutes have increased their seats substantially, without seeking our approval. That means we don’t have updated data on recent enrolments,” a senior AICTE official said.  In Odisha, there are 221 engineering institutes with an approved intake of 97,590 students, but only 47,601 took admission in the previous academic year.  Similarly, in Madhya Pradesh, 82,048 students took admission in 299 engineering institutes, though the intake capacity is 149,796. –  Courtesy

Bulk hiring decreases by 40% at engineering campus placements

The Times of India | Ranjani Ayyar | TNN | Oct 25, 2016 |

CHENNAI: In what seems like a sequel to the downtourn in the IT industry, hiring by software service companies dropped by a 40% in engineering campuses across Tamil Nadu this year. Over 30,000 students have been placed across campuses in the state and while the overall number is almost the same as last year, it is the super dream (pay package of over Rs 20 lakhs per annum) and dream companies (pay package of over Rs 10 lakh pa) including startups and core engineering companies that have hired in large numbers.  “It is too early to comment. More companies will visit campuses in the next 6 months and we have a positive outlook on placements as of now,” said K Purushottaman, senior director, Nasscom.  Earlier this year, industry body Nasscom had estimated a 20% drop in IT hiring (for the first time since 2009) with companies resorting to automation of entry-level coding jobs and look at optimizing their bench strength. True to Nasscom’s guidance, campuses across the state have seen restrained hiring from biggies like Wipro, TCS, Cognizant and Infosys who hired in few hundreds against the usual thousands of hires.

“It’s the cyclical nature of the industry along with Brexit and US elections that has brought a period of uncertainty for large IT companies,” said Sriram Padmanabhan, director career services, SRM University where about 50% students have been placed as of now. Bulk hiring was down 30-40% at SRM University.  Wipro was the only recruiter to offer roles focussed on ‘digital’ in select campuses including VIT. Over 125 students at VIT who underwent a separate coding test and a tougher technical interview, bagged offers of Rs 6 lakh pa, almost double the offer made by IT service companies otherwise. After 2015’s fiasco with hiring by startups like Flipkart and Stayzilla, who offered jobs, but didnt honor those offers, engineering campuses are wary this year, undertaking a due diligence before letting them participate in the placements.   There was an increase in the number of core engineering companies. SRM saw companies like Elgi Equipments, Seimens and Tata Technologies while VIT had Maruti Suzuki, Continental Automotive, Hyundai, Mahindra & Mahindra coming in. Sastra University has seen 1390 offers from 47 companies so far. “As of now, placement percentage is 75% and will reach highers 90s by April,” said Vaidhya Subramanian, dean, planning and development, SASTRA University.   –   Courtesy

Stray dog-repellent for motorcyclists : ‘Sudog’ (Super Dog Chaser)

The Hindu | Special Correspondent |

A prototype of Sudog

A prototype of Sudog

‘Sudog’ will produce a high-frequency sound which will unsettle the animal

Two-wheeler riders who often come under stray dog attacks have something to cheer about.

A group of engineering faculty members have come up with ‘Sudog’ (Super Dog Chaser), a device that would produce high-frequency sound to keep away dangerous dogs from coming near motorcyclists. A prototype of the equipment was showcased at the makers’ workshop organised by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technological University at the Federal Institute of Science and Technology in Angamaly on Saturday. The engineering faculty members behind the product include Vishnu V. of Ammini College of Engineering; Merin Antony of KMP College of Engineering; Jyothi Krishna P.G. of NSS College of Engineering; and Jijo Jose of UKF College of Engineering.

 As per the project proposal, the Super Dog Chaser would employ two methods to prevent dogs from attacking two-wheelers. “One is the discomforting, but not harmful, high frequency sound (20,000Hz-25,000Hz), audible to dogs but not to humans. The second is a super bright LED flashing strobe that temporarily blinds and confuses the dog. This electronic repellent will stop the approach of stray dogs at up to 40 feet,” it said. The innovators said the power for the device could be taken from the two-wheeler’s battery. “We can also use dynamo section as input. It is basically a generator for producing direct current. Normally 5 to 9 volt is required as input. We have to generate a frequency that will make the dog stay away. The hearing frequency of dog is in the range of 67 Hz to 45 KHz,” they said.  M. Abdul Rahman, Pro Vice Chancellor of the university, said the aim of the event was to inculcate best practices on entrepreneurship among the faculty members. The idea is to foster an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation, he said. –  Courtesy

Centre plans to link higher education institution’s autonomy to performance as measured by NIRF

The Hindu | Vikas Pathak |

The first NIRF rankings of universities were released earlier this year.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry is considering linking the autonomy of higher education institutions to their performance as measured by the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF). The NIRF is a comprehensive ranking system for universities developed by the Ministry. The first NIRF rankings were released earlier this year.

Three categories

“We are thinking of dividing universities in three categories — A, B and C — on the basis of their NIRF rankings,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said. “The first will be most autonomous while the last will require more regulation.” The A category will comprise institutions with high NIRF rank and these will be highest on the autonomy scale, the B category will comprise middle-ranking institutions with part autonomy but also government regulation, and category C will mean institutions with low ranking that will require greater regulation and hand-holding for improvement. Mr. Javadekar said greater autonomy could imply a number of things, including the complete freedom for institutions to have their own syllabi and curricula.

Next round in April

The next round of NIRF rankings will be published on the first Monday of April 2017. As per the 2016 rankings, IIT Madras topped among engineering colleges, followed by IITs at Mumbai, Kharagpur, Delhi, Kanpur and Roorkee. IIT Madras had a score of 89.41. Among universities, the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, topped, followed by the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai, Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, Hyderabad University and Tezpur University. Among management schools, IIM Bengaluru was ranked first with a score of 93.04, followed by the IIMs at Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Udaipur and Kozhikode. –  Courtesy

VTU to start training institute for engineering faculty

The Hindu | 

The Visvesvaraya Technological University has planned a special professional academic institute for teaching faculty of engineering colleges. All those lecturers with less than five years of experience in teaching have to undergo special training in the proposed institute, expected to come up at university’s regional centre at Muddenahalli in Chikballapur district in the next academic year. Dr. Karisiddappa, Vice-Chancellor of the university, here on Sunday, told The Hindu that the teachers would undergo the training programme during the semester vacations. “The teachers have to undergo four-month programme over a period of two years. This is compulsory for all those with less than five years of teaching experience,” he said. Dr. Karisiddappa, a native of Hassan, was in the town to attend a felicitation programme organised by Malnad College of Engineering.

As of now, there are no institutes to train teachers of engineering colleges. “Those who joined the teaching profession recently require training on teaching methodology and techniques. We have planned the academic training institute with the help of the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research in Chandigarh,” he said. “Initially, the training programme will be held at the regional centre in Muddenahalli. In the later stages, we may open some centres for training. Similarly, we will plan webinars as well,” the VC said. Dr. Karisiddappa, who studied and worked as a teaching faculty for many years in MCE, was felicitated by the institute on Saturday. He was principal of Government Engineering College in Hassan, when he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of VTU. –  Courtesy

Cosmetic surgery to get affordable as VNIT researchers develops implants

The Times of India | Snehlata Shrivastav | TNN | Oct 23, 2016 |

Nagpur: If the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives its approval, four different types of implants will soon be manufactured in the city. A group of researchers from the mechanical engineering department at the Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT), with the support of some city doctors, have formed ULPS Silicon Implant Pvt Ltd. It will manufacture implants for nose, chin, cheek, breast and a T-tube to open windpipes.  The start-up venture will be incubated at the Centre for Innovation at VNIT (CIVN) before moving out as an independent entity.  “Over the last year, we developed the basic technology to make these implants. With a few modifications we can begin manufacturing in about a year in the CIVN as per FDA norms . The team has conducted a market survey and is expecting good demand for all the implants. As 70-75% of implants are imported, these can fetch us good revenue,” said Rashmi Uddanwadiker, assistant professor and project supervisor.

Except for the T-tube, all other implants have cosmetic purpose. The T-tube was developed with the support and guidance of head and neck surgeon Dr Madan Kapre. “This is used to open the windpipe and restore normal breathing. The T-tube is then pulled out and the opening is closed,” said Uddanwadiker.  The VNIT team that developed these and few other biomedical tools includes Piyush Ukey, Chetan Kuthe, Rahul M R, Saurabh Bagde, Nikhil Adhe, and Apurva Sharan. It had the support of ENT surgeons Dr S N Lulay and Dr Prashant Naik and orthopaedic surgeon Dr Alankar Ramteke.

The engineers have also developed forceps to be used in osteotomy or surgical cutting of a bone and have patented the technology. “The first of its kind forceps will replace the use of chisel and hammer to correct any bone deformity in the nasal bone. It reduces surgery time for doctors, simplifies the osteotomy process thereby reducing the surgical trauma to patients,” said Lulay.  VNIT has identified a Mumbai-based company to manufacture the forceps and is in the process of technology transfer. The project was funded by the Biomedical Engineering and Technology (incubation) Centre (BETiC), a multidisciplinary and multi-institution project.   The engineering team has also developed a model of the human temporal bone which is used for academic purposes. Uddanwadiker said that it is the first such model with very fine details of the temporal bone. “The real size bone has been developed using 3D printing technology and is a very useful dissection training tool,” said Naik.  The mechanical engineers have developed a software for non-invasive evaluation of muscle strength in patients. “The software is unique and can help athletes improve their game,” said Ramteke. – Courtesy

IITs discuss ways to make institutions world class

Kritika Sharma | Fri, 21 Oct 2016-07:05am , New Delhi , DNA |

The directors of the institution have decided not to hike fee.

In a meeting of the seven oldest IITs on Thursday, it was decided that the fee structure of these institutions will remain the same for the coming academic year, no fee hike has been suggested in the meeting. The Directors of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, Bombay, Roorkee, Madras, Guwahati, Kanpur and Kharagpur met under the Vishwajeet scheme of HRD Ministry, aimed to promote IITs. Under the scheme, the seven oldest IITs also got the autonomy to hike or change their fee structure. The institutions have however decided to retain the current structure. The scheme was launched by the ministry in the month of August this year to promote IITs that have a potential to go up in the global rankings. In this connection, the older IITs were asked to make a plan on how to go about the scheme. On Thursday, the IITs discussed their plans and made the presentation with senior officials in the ministry.

Making the laboratories world class by augmentation is one of the important points suggested by the IITs. They also discussed ways of making the infrastructure world class. “We discussed how encouraging more foreign faculty and foreign students can help in making the institutes go up in global rankings,” said one of the Directors who was present in the meeting. Encouraging foreign faculty is something that the ministry itself has also been keen about. Recently, visa norms for foreign faculty who want to engage with institutions in India, have been eased. “In order to improve global rankings, we are also looking at joint collaboration for research with foreign institutions,” the official added. While a good number of IITs have featured in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), the government’s ranking of educational institutions, they have failed to make a mark as far as international rankings are concerned. In the global rankings, IITs have featured in 200 or below positions. –  Courtesy

VTU gives 6,000 students a chance to complete engineering course for the 2006 batch

The New Indian Express | By Express News Service  |   22nd October 2016 |

BENGALURU: For more than 6,000 candidates who are waiting for a second chance to get their degree certificates by completing the course, here’s some good news. Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Belagavi, has decided to give them a one-time opportunity to complete the course. As per the decision taken by the university, the students will be given two more years to complete the course. Speaking to Express, VTU Vice-Chancellor Dr Karisiddappa said, “Till 2005, there were options for students to complete the course during the grace period. But in 2006, University Grants Commission (UGC) changed the norms and the option was cancelled. Students who got admission during the 2006 academic year and could not complete their course due to various reasons will now get the opportunity to complete it.”

As per information available from the university, over 6,000 candidates have been approaching the university for many years now. “There were a series of representations from candidates. As they could not complete the course and did not have degree certificates, many of them found it difficult to get jobs. To help them, we have taken this decision,” Karisiddappa explained.  However, this is a one-time measure and will not be extended to any other batch. “This applies only for the 2006 batch and students from other batches can’t claim this,” the V-C said. Candidates are only allowed to appear for subjects in which they failed. There are no restrictions on the number of subjects and they can complete it in the next two years. –  Courtesy

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