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Tamil Nadu: Self-financing engineering colleges seek 50 per cent engineering fee hike

DECCAN CHRONICLE |  May 26, 2017 |

‘Raise needed to meet AICTE’s teacher salary standards’

CHENNAI: The representatives of self-financing colleges met Justice N.V. Balasubramanian committee on Thursday with a demand of a considerable fee hike for engineering courses from next academic year.  It is learnt that the colleges are demanding around  50 per cent hike for the both management and government quota seats.  Currently, the fee for government quota seats in private engineering colleges is Rs 40,000 and management quota seats is Rs 70, 000.  “We have demanded the fee hike to compensate our teachers’ salary on par with the AICTE’s scale of pay” said RS Munirathinam, president, Consortium of Self-Financing Professional, Arts and Science Colleges in Tamil Nadu.

“AICTE’s handbook has prescribed the maximum fee to be collected for engineering courses. But, in Tamil Nadu, there are many poor students studying in engineering courses. So, we have not demanded maximum hike,” he said. The consortium also requested the fee committee to gather details about the engineering course fee in all the four southern districts. “We just had discussions with the private colleges. The different associations gave different representations. We will go through all their representations and consider various factors before taking a decision,” sources from the committee said. The committee is likely to announce its decision on next week. Tamil Nadu Engineering colleges are going through a tough phase. Last year, around one lakh engineering seats, fell vacant after the general counselling. This year, the IT job cuts are expected to have an impact on engineering admissions this year.

Over 1.3 lakh students register online for BE counselling
If one has to go to the online registration for engineering counselling, IT job cuts and fewer job placements in engineering colleges this year has not dented the interest in engineering courses as more than 1.3 lakh students have registered for the counselling online so far. But last year, more than 2 lakh students had registered online and 1.84 lakh have paid the fees for the counselling. In the end, only 1.33 lakh applications were received by the Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions Committee. “This year we can expect the applications to go further down. If TNEA receives more than one lakh applications for engineering counselling it would be a big achievement,” a senior professor from Anna University said. “The parents and students are keeping the engineering courses as their third option due to the job cuts in IT companies and the reduction in campus recruitments. But, still, to be on the safe side, we have applied to the engineering counselling,” a parent said.  As many as 11 engineering colleges in the state have opted for no admission this year. More than 100 colleges in the state have filled less than 20% seats last year.  As per the engineering admissions, schedule, the engineering counselling will commence from June 27. The rank list will be released on June 22. – Courtesy

1-month orientation programme for engineering students

The Hindu | Chennai | May 23, 2017 | R Sujatha |

Focus will be on communication

The All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) is introducing a month-long orientation programme for students joining engineering courses this academic year. Under the programme, students will get 3-4 weeks to acclimatise themselves to their surroundings. “They will be taught to express themselves in English or in their native tongue. Let the students express themselves in their language and then, they will start thinking critically and analyse situations,” AICTE chairman Anil D. Sahasrabudhe said. AICTE has decided to start the programme in 100 colleges this year and by next year, plans to cover all colleges. The programme has been designed based on successful experiments conducted by IIIT-Hyderabad and IIT-BHU (Varanasi), he said. At present, students receive a one-day orientation programme. The proposed month-long programme would help students from rural areas, he said. “A longer orientation would cut down failures, which occur because many students don’t understand what is being said in class,” he said. The Council had also proposed to make certification mandatory for engineering teachers to continue in their job. A three-month module that includes learning new technology, besides interaction techniques with students, is on the anvil.

 Mandatory for recruits

The programme will be mandatory for fresh recruits, who should complete the training during the summer vacation before classes commence, Prof. Sahasrabudhe said. Older teachers would be given time till the end of the year to complete the programme at a time of their convenience. The council is evolving a curriculum that includes physical classroom training, in addition to MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses). These are part of the 10-point agenda created in conjunction with the industry, industry bodies and the government to improve student-faculty interaction. – Courtesy

AICTE conducts surprise checks at 41 engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu

The New Indian Express | Express News Service  |   21st May 2017 |

CHENNAI: The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) inspected 311 engineering colleges across the country recently. Of these, 41 colleges were in Tamil Nadu, the Chairman Anil D Sahasrabudhe told a conclave on  ‘creating competent engineers for a new India, with innovative minds and entrepreneurial capabilities’ on Saturday. He also announced that from the coming academic year, the first three to four weeks, engineering colleges will have no classes. The period would be used to focus on soft skill development and also socialisation of students. Especially for the ones who hail from rural background and after joining college, feel out of place. Sahasrabudhe said a surprise inspection was done in 311 colleges which was three per cent of the total number of colleges in the country. “Of the 311 colleges, 41 colleges were from Tamil Nadu. In the first round when we checked, 187 colleges were having deficiency. Deficiency may range from minor to major deficiencies. More than 60 percent had deficiency,” he said. When show cause notice was given to the colleges, some of them who had minor deficiencies rectified them. They were given two to three month’s time to rectify. There were 45 percent vacancies in all colleges in every State.

He also said 28 colleges on their own applied for closure, of which six had no admission.  Sixteen new institutions had come up in Tamil Nadu of which eight were  pharmacy, two are for engineering and two for government polytechnic and four for post graduate diploma. Prist University got approval from AICTE for Chennai and Madurai campuses. Amrita School of Engineering is to open a new college with 300 seats. In the MGR Film institute, the diploma courses will be closed and will be upgraded into degree courses. Speaking on soft skill development and socialisation during the first month of the engineering classes, he said that during orientation day, there is not much interaction with students. Students coming from rural areas feel out of place as they might not be speaking good English. Also there are students who have inhibitions to talk to others.“First three to four weeks there won’t be any class at all. Teachers will focus on soft skill development so that those who are not fluent with English or do not know English,” he said adding therefore a student’s ability to express is important. He may express his ideas in his language. This will help develop his self confidence. “We will also teach physics, chemistry and mathematics which they learned in Classes XI and XII. After this they will start their regular course,” he said adding that teachers will be trained in this. Initially, they will be trained by IIT experts. – Courtesy

Madhya Pradesh to teach engineering in Hindi

The Times of India | Ramendra Singh | TNN |  May 18, 2017 |

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BHOPAL: In a first, or should we say ‘pratham’, Madhya Pradesh government has decided to teach engineering in Hindi from the new academic session. So, while students and teachers are scratching their heads to find translations of technical terms like surface tension and osmosis, there just aren’t any tech books in Hindi. Confirming the development, a senior official said that students will be asked to choose between English and Hindi medium of study during admission to engineering courses. The surprise decision was taken on Tuesday at a meeting at Rajiv Gandhi Proudhyogiki Vishwavidyalaya (RGPV), presided over by the vice-chancellor Kalpana Shrivastava. Senior educationists have criticized the decision, saying it is a step back and will end up risking the careers of engineering graduates as they will get no benefit of Hindi during job placements. “There is no point in teaching engineering subjects in Hindi when books are available only in English. How do you translate technical terms, any way?” asked a professor.  Technical education minister Deepak Joshi has a solution. “They need not write the translated meaning of technical terms. They can write the English term in Hindi,” he suggested, adding: “The objective is to help students who are weak in English.” Students wonder if recruiters of big companies will tweak their tests to accommodate someone from MP who has learnt in Hindi. “What will be the future of a student studying engineering in Hindi? Which company will hire students who have Hindi-based engineering degree? These are the issues that should have been answered first before taking such a big decision,” said Vineet Verma, an engineering aspirant. Engineering student Nidhi Sharma said, “Who will teach us in Hindi? Our teachers have studied in English. How and where will one find teachers in Hindi? This is a decision taken without proper research.”

Asking not to be named, a senior teacher of an engineering college said, “Speaking in Hindi with students during a class is a different thing. Teaching a technical subject in Hindi is an entirely different ballgame. Ask any teacher about the meaning of any technical term in Hindi. I bet they won’t have a clue.”  Sources said RGPV hasn’t planned for separate Hindi classes yet. “It is assumed that teachers teach in Hindi,” said a source.  RGPV has decided to provide bilingual question papers. “It will just like MP school board exams. It will help students, who don’t know English very well, understand the questions,” said a senior RGPV official. Even this is futile, said many students. “It is an unnecessary exercise. When books are in English and you have to write answers in English, then what is the point of asking questions in Hindi? Who will write answers in Hindi?” asked one.  Nearly every student TOI contacted said there was no way they would opt for Hindi. “I will not go for Hindi as there is no meaning of doing engineering in that language,” was the refrain. – Courtesy

Anna University cuts intake for courses in 44 engineering colleges across Tamil Nadu

The New Indian Express | S Mannar Mannan  |  Express News Service  |   16th May 2017 |

COIMBATORE: Inspection teams of Anna University, which visited private engineering colleges across the State, have found that select courses offered by 44 engineering colleges are not supported by adequate faculty strength and infrastructure. The university has therefore decided to reduce the number of students allowed for these courses. Ahead of the new academic year, Anna University had sent separate inspection teams to around 530 self-financing engineering colleges to check whether they have adequate faculty strength and infrastructure, including classrooms, laboratories and libraries. The visits, which began in mid-February, were completed recently.  The university had sent notices to the colleges short of the required faculty and infrastructure, asking them to rectify the shortfalls. They were also asked to send compliance reports. Based on the compliance reports, the university has taken a final call.  “As per the Supreme Court order, we have to complete the affiliation process before May 15.

The final decision on extending the affiliation of engineering colleges was taken during a meeting on Saturday,” said a highly placed source in the university.  “The university has decided to reduce the intake of some courses offered by 44 private engineering colleges, as they were found short of faculty and infrastructure. Some of them have rectified the deficiency highlighted by the university and they have been granted affiliation and allowed full intake,” the source added.  Meanwhile, 11 existing private engineering colleges did not apply for affiliation this year. “These colleges will be closing down from this academic year. Existing students could be shifted to other colleges,” the official said. The university has completed its affiliation process and is now awaiting the extension of approval process by the AICTE. – Courtesy

Modules on life skills for fresher engineering students

The Hindu | New Delhi, May 13, 2017 | Vikas Pathak |

Starting from the coming academic year, technical colleges across India will be required to offer semester-long modules to help freshers adjust to college life and beat stress. The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) wants all colleges affiliated to it — around 10,000 — to make these modules a necessary part of their course structure without awarding any grades for them. The Indian Institutes of Technology, too, will have these modules, but the duration for them may be just a couple of months. The blueprint for the courses has been put in place by a professor at IIT-BHU, who was earlier with IIT, Hyderabad, where he developed the module.

 Deal with stress

“The module will work on students’ communication skills, help them come to terms with failures in life, learn situational decision-making and negotiate dilemmas in life,” a senior official told The Hindu. Moral and ethical values will also be part of the module, he added. Colleges may also take help from NGOs or contact psychologists for these. “Since students in many colleges get into engineering courses without sound fundamentals, there may be classes to strengthen their concepts in maths and physics,” he added. Professors who have worked on such modules will conduct workshops for the faculty of engineering colleges to help them structure their modules. Plans are also underway to create online videos so that faculty from other colleges can get useful inputs to put such modules in place. – Courtesy

Struggling engineering colleges to shut

| By Vicky Pathare |

AICTE decision will not affect students; option for shift to other institutes with better infrastructure.

With fewer students seeking admission to technological courses across the country, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has decided to shut down all engineering colleges that could fill only 30 per cent or less than the intake capacity for first-year engineering courses.  The AICTE has taken the decision to find a solution for the institutes running in loses. Records for the last five years of these colleges will be checked before closing them. As per the record, if admission of students for the last five years is found to be 30 or less than 30 per cent, the closure action will be started.  AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe, who was in the city for a programme in Fergusson College, said, “The number of students completing their engineering courses is huge and jobs available are less. We have taken care that the academic careers of students studying in these colleges will not be affected due to this decision. They will be shifted to other engineering colleges with 60 to 70 per cent seats filled.”

In Pune region (Pune, Solapur, Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur), there are around 128 engineering colleges. The college management in this region, too, are concerned as they cannot run the colleges with negligible number of students. According to educationists, unqualified faculty and lack of hostel facilities are some of the reasons for less students taking admission in certain colleges. D R Nandanwar, joint director (technical education), Pune region, said, “Since the last four years, the condition of engineering colleges in our region is dismal. Most of the colleges are able to fill only 40 per cent of the intake capacity. The decision can cause closure of 40 per cent of engineering colleges in the Pune region alone.” Sahasrabudhe added, “The intake capacity of students in junior colleges for higher secondary courses in the science stream is less compared to seats in engineering. This has led to fewer students taking admission for engineering courses.” – Courtesy

Industry consultation in engineering colleges: Useless idea from AICTE

Hindustan Times | May 11, 2017 |   Dheeraj Sanghi  | Opinion |

AICTE appears to have forgotten that it regulates only affiliated colleges, and it has little regulatory control over universities. Affiliated colleges have no control over their curriculum. They teach the curriculum that the affiliating university decides.

Reports suggest that only 5% of computer science and information technology graduates have any reasonable programming skills(PTI)

The employability of engineering graduates in India has been a matter of concern for the last several decades. Many reports have stated that only 20-25% of the graduates are employable in industry. A recent report has mentioned that only 5% of computer science and information technology graduates (a majority of our engineers are in these disciplines) have any reasonable programming skills, which is the most basic skill for such a graduate. Another 15% can still be trained to perform tasks in IT industry.  Whenever a new report comes out, there are immediate calls for greater interaction between industry and academia and to have more industry-focussed curricula in colleges. And seeing that such calls have not had any impact on the ground level, AICTE has announced that such interaction will now be mandatory. Each college must have an industry consultation committee to rework the curriculum of each course taught there every year.  AICTE appears to have forgotten that it regulates only affiliated colleges, and it has very little regulatory control over universities. Affiliated colleges have no control over their curriculum. They teach the curriculum that the affiliating university decides. These universities are expected to have a Board of Studies for each program, and that board invariably has members from industry as well. So there is already an industry input to the curriculum design. Now, if a college creates such a committee and the industry person advises even small modifications to the courses, can the college implement these modifications? The answer, unfortunately, is in the negative for all colleges, barring a few “autonomous” ones.

More fundamentally, do we even know whether unemployability is because of an outdated syllabus, or is it due to poor quality education? How many of our graduates know what they have learnt in existing courses? GATE (graduate aptitude test in engineering) results show that almost half the graduates get a zero in the exam. How are they getting a degree at all? I have been involved with drafting of computer science syllabi in several universities and even AICTE model syllabus. I can confidently say that even if the syllabus is not changed for 10 years, there will be no impact on employability. AICTE should focus on finding out why someone who has never written even a single line of code is not just passing a course on programming, but passing it with distinction. A majority of our engineering graduates do not deserve their degrees. For computer science, that number could be as high as 95%.  Talking about industry, how many people in the industry are capable of understanding the impact of various curricular and pedagogical interventions on learning? How many of these people will be able to understand the interplay of various courses, recognise the gaps, and then suggests revisions to plug those gaps? This is difficult even for experienced academics. Very few people in the industry are capable of this. In the absence of such people, these committees will become another ritual, as most AICTE directives have become.  If the AICTE wants to improve the quality of engineering education and ensure that a larger number of graduates are employable, it has to stop coming up with new regulations. Instead, every month, it should send a note to all colleges on what all previous regulations it is junking. If you don’t control every aspect of a college, they will figure out how to survive in a market where supply is more than demand. For now, their only hope is that AICTE will allow them to close. –  Dheeraj Sanghi is dean of academic affairs and external relations, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi (on leave from IIT Kanpur)Courtesy

AICTE Faculty Training Programme by Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) Government of India

Government of India Initiative for Employability Enhancement

India is fast emerging as a world power in Information, Communications Technology and Electronics (ICTE) sectors. To complement its growth and further development, there is an ever-increasing need for trained professionals with specialization in this space. This include straining of professionals not only in existing and changing technologies but also in the fields of R&D and electronics manufacturing. This will specifically be aimed at the ICTE sector to create a substantial resource pool of talent and generate ample opportunities for entrepreneurs.Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) has approved a scheme and set up Electronics and ICT Academies at 07 (seven) institutions viz. IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur, NIT Warangal, NIT Patna and IIITDM Jabalpur (all five under Category-A); and IIT Roorkee, MNIT Jaipur (both under Category B). The Ministry had earlier setup two ICT Academies at Tamil Nadu and Kerala respectively. Estimated cost and targets for the Electronics and ICT Academy in the two Categories for a period of four years are as under:These Academies are aimed at faculty/mentor development and upgradation to improve the employability of the graduates, diploma holders in various streams, through collaboration of States/Union Territories. Each Academy is being provided funding support for four years and is expected to generate revenue by charging fee and taking up other activities to meet the recurring cost in a gradual manner and become self-sustainable by the end of fourth year onwards. All these Academies will cater to the requirements of identified neighboring States and UTs also. Brief information about all the Academies is available at : About Summer Courses
Faculty Development Programmes in core areas of Electronics and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) streams have been planned by academies for delivery during Summer (i.e., May – July 2017). All these summer courses will be offered through National Knowledge Network (NKN) by inviting experts from IITs, NITs, IIITs and other premier institutes/industries. In addition, local course coordinators at respective academies will take care of practicals and practice sessions. The following six courses would be taken up for delivery during forthcoming summer vacation:
S.No. Course Name Key Coordinating Proposed Dates
1. Fundamentals of Analog and  Digital Communication System – IIT Guwahati 13-5-2017 22-5-2017
2. Fundamentals of Computer  Networks and Security NIT Patna 24-5-2017 02-6-2017
3. Digital VLSI Circuit Design IIT Roorkee 03-6-2017 12-6-2017
4. Introduction to Web Development IIT Roorkee 13-6-2017 22-6-2017
5. Fundamentals of Databases NIT Warangal 23-6-2017 03-7-2017
6. Introduction to Data Structures and Programming in C IIITDM Jabalpur 01-7-2017 10-7-2017

Target Beneficiaries: Interested Faculty of engineering/technical institutions are eligible to attend these summer courses.
Availability of seats at each offering Academy: Fifty (50) seats are available for each summer course to be offered at each academy. Participants will be selected based on first-cum-first-serve basis by each academy. Ten(10) more seats are also available for participants from industry. Selected participants will be communicated through e-mail / notified in E&ICT Academy websites.
Course duration: Each summer course is designed for 80 hours (Theory Lectures: 35 hours, Practicals: 35 hours, and Pedagogy, Soft skills & Demo teaching/Case study presentation by participants: 10 hours)
Accommodation: Boarding and Lodging will be provided at free of cost. No Travel Allowance will be paid to the participants.
Registration Fee for each Summer Course:
Faculty members: Rs. 3,000/- (Three Thousand rupees only)
Persons from Industry: Rs. 9,000/- (Nine Thousand rupees only) –  Click here to download the Brochure : 14 pages, pdf  —>       http://www.aicte-india.org/downloads/e%20and%20ict.pdf

Hyderabad High Court upholds regulations issued by AICTE

The New Indian Express | Express News Service  |   06th May 2017 |

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HYDERABAD:  A division bench of the High Court has upheld the regulations issued by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for online self-disclosure for grant of extension to technical education institutions without undertaking physical verification.  The bench was dismissing a petition filed by Federation of Social Responsibility Professional Institutions of the city challenging the Regulations 4.19 (a) and 4.26 of the AICTE (Grant of Approvals for Technical Institutions) Regulations, 2016.
The Regulation 4.19(a) stipulates that the processing of applications is based on self-disclosure. Only if there is “Zero Deficiency” the system will allot the intake applied for as per the Approval Process Handbook. As for Regulation 4.26, the council is obliged to grant the desired approvals only after confirming that the applicant meets all the norms and standards prescribed in the handbook and the council reserves the right to inspect the institutions, which made self-disclosure. The federation termed it dangerous to grant extension of approvals based upon self-disclosure without making physical verification.  The bench pointed out that “no statutory regulations can be challenged merely on the ground that there is possibility of misuse.” – Courtesy