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Engineering aspirant? Rs 2,500 fee, free laptops and bikes at BE, BTech colleges in Gujarat state

Financial Express | FE Online | New Delhi |  July 13, 2018 |

The rising number of vacant seats in engineering colleges across the country has now led authorities to devise a new marketing strategy in order to lure students into joining the course.

If you thought that engineering, once considered the most alluring career options for Indian students alongside medicine, has lost its charm, you may want to reconsider. Engineering colleges in the western state of Gujarat are giving away free laptops and two-wheelers to woo students. While the reason behind such large heartedness may not exactly paint a rosy picture of the popularity of the course, but these colleges do know how to keep things interesting. The rising number of vacant seats in engineering colleges across the country has now led authorities to devise a new marketing strategy in order to lure students into joining the course. Engineering colleges are now offering lucrative things like laptop and two-wheelers to woo students to join the courses with vacant seats.  As per a recent report, an engineering college in Gujarat is charging an annual tuition fee of Rs 2500 after a majority of their seats went vacant. Another college has hired commission agents to bring students. B.Tech/ B.E. colleges are also offering free laptops and two-wheelers to lure students to join the course. According to an Ahmedabad Mirror report, the management in some colleges has lowered fees to somehow fill up 30% of the seats as the AICTE has clearly stated that colleges with less than 30% admissions for five years will be shut down.

This year in Gujarat, 34,642 seats out of 55,422 in engineering colleges remained vacant after first round of admissions. Colleges have henceforth started providing free laptops and two-wheelers to students apart from offering several discounts including reduced fees in the name of scholarship, complete waiver of first-semester fee, half transportation and hostel fee at the end of four-year course to those who pay entire course fee by a single payment. In recent times, engineering that used to attract the creme da la creme students has lost its sheen. In a report that came in May this year, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) approved only 36 engineering colleges that can provide degrees to students with just 66 diploma institutes being approved. As per a report by Indian Express, the total number of B.Tech and M.Tech seats this year, across all AICTE-approved institutes, has dropped by 1.67 lakh, which is almost double the dip witnessed in 2017-18. The undergraduate and postgraduate engineering intake was 16.62 lakh seats last year and 17.5 lakh seats in 2016-17. It was also reported that All India Council for Technical Education is all set to shut down nearly 200 ‘substandard’ engineering colleges over the period of next 12 months. – Courtesy

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AICTE released Research Policy Framework Document (AICTE and Clarivate Analytics)

AICTE Circular | 11 July 2018 | New Delhi |
Aiming for Excellence: Pathways to Institutional Advancement through Research

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) yesterday announced the release of a research policy framework document developed in partnership with Clarivate Analytics, the company behind Web of Science, the world’s most trusted citation index. Web of Science is a publisher-independent platform which provides unrivaled coverage of papers, books, conference proceedings, datasets and patents to researchers in more than 100 countries and 7,000 academic institutions around the world. Released at the AICTE headquarters in New Delhi, the framework was developed to drive research excellence across AICTE approved academic institutions. In addition to offering best practices and guidelines, the research policy framework provides:

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament (Act 52 of 1987) under Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India. AICTE as per its mission to be a true facilitator and an objective regulator has initiated several initiatives with focus on planned and coordinated development of technical education in the country. AICTE has always encouraged academic excellence in academic institutions. AICTE has a vision to improve the standards of technical education and to provide competent technical manpower for the nation. In this endeavor AICTE signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Clarivate Analytics on 25thApril, 2017. Clarivate Analytics is one of the world’s largest providers of intellectual property and scientific information, decision support tools, and services. Clarivate Analytics is well-known for brands that include Web of Science, EndNote, Derwent Innovation, Derwent World Patents Index, Cortellis, and Converis among others.The AICTE-Clarivate Analytics collaboration aims to drive research as an integral component of academic excellence. Clarivate Analytics with AICTE has developed this research policy framework document ‘‘Aiming for Excellence: Pathways to Institutional Advancement through Research’ to help AICTE approved academic Institutions to increase awareness of research and develop a strong research program. AICTE encourages that this policy document may be adopted by the AICTE approved institutions as it would enable institutions to develop short term and long term research program plans, put in place infrastructure to enable research, and establish governance mechanisms to promote and strengthen research.
Research experiences enrich an institution in many ways. First, teachers who engage in research can integrate their experience in the classroom: instead of rote learning an instructor can challenge students to grapple with fundamental questions and problems as researchers do. In such an environment, students report more interest in their coursework and more confidence in their teachers. Second, instilling a research culture improves the institutional environment for all, not only students, and signals high aspirations and a seriousness of purpose of the institution. Third, research requires infrastructure,including modern facilities, equipment, and supplies, so establishing research activities means improving the physical condition of an institution. Doing this requires funding but once established a vibrant program of research can attract support from government, industry, and private sources, a fourth benefit. Fifth, research builds and burnishes the reputation of an institution, attracting superior students and faculty. Not only are faculty drawn to such an institution but they are more likely to remain, which is important because retention of talented instructors and researchers contributes to sustaining excellence. Sixth, a research program opens up possibilities for collaboration, locally, regionally, and globally. These connections raise the profile of an institution and create opportunities for advancement of many kinds, including associations with industrial firms that are nowadays an increasingly important partner in higher education initiatives.These are only a few of the benefits of establishing, maintaining, and extending a program of research at an institution of higher education.
This document describes steps along the road to a robust research program within an institution. It focuses on key considerations, including the necessity of careful, evidence-based planning, both short- and long-term; building human capital,resources and funding, and fashioning collaborations, institution to institution, people to people, and across sectors; ensuring governance mechanisms to track and promote the institution’s research program, including both qualitative and quantitative assessment; and, establishing an enduring system of continuous improvement, with feedback channels across all departments and dimensions of the institution. Click here to View /  download the Research Policy Framework Document document, 28 pages, pdf

Calling applications for AICTE-ECI-ISTE Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards 2018

All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Ministry of Human Resource Development, Govt. of India, Engineering Council of India (ECI), and the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE), are jointly holding a competition “AICTE-ECI-ISTE Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards-2018” for the students of AICTE approved Degree & Diploma level Technical institutions. The Awards are aimed for motivating young individuals, inspiring leaders and institutions/ organizations to raise their performance in their specific domains leading to significant contribution towards the growth and development of the nation.

To recognize and honour innovative work of the students displaying exceptional skills by providing the innovative solution on the given theme.  Applications will be short listed based on their conformity to the guidelines and information furnished by nominees for specific categories. The recipients will be finalised based on the Recommendation and NOC forwarded by the institute and scrutiny of the applications by the jury & practical demonstrations by the contestants.  Awards will be given in following Categories for Degree and Diploma Students (including students from AICTE approved Community College):

Category-I:   Outstanding Innovative Team Award (Degree and Diploma)
Category-II:  Outstanding Teacher Award for mentoring Students Project

The Problem: The participants need to provide and innovative solution to following problem:

“Empowerment of Villages through Technologies”

For the holistic development of villages under the above theme, the following 8 sub-themes have been shortlisted: –

  1. Water & Irrigation
  2. Sanitation & Solid Liquid Waste Management
  3. Rural Infrastructure
  4. Tourism
  5. Agriculture & Food
  6. Education, Skill Initiative & Startups
  7. Rural Craft & Livelihood
  8. Any other Rural Appropriate Technologies

Who Can Apply?

The Awards cover the students of AICTE approved Degree and Diploma Technical Institutions and Polytechnics. It also includes students from AICTE approved Community Colleges.

Nominations/Applications from all girls teams are especially encouraged….!

  • Online application will start from: 10-07-2018
  • Last date to submit the application: 10-08-2018
  • Important:  *Do not use Internet Explore to Fill the Entry*

Guidelines, 6 pages, pdf

List of Winners for Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards 2017

Portal for Registration – AER Portal

NEET and JEE (Main) exams to be conducted twice a year

ND TV | Shihabudeen Kunju S (with inputs from PTI) |  July 08, 2018 |

National Testing Agency or NTA will be replacing the competitive exams related functions of CBSE and will conduct NEET and JEE Main exams twice in a year from next year.

New Delhi:  National Testing Agency (NTA) will be replacing the competitive exams related functions of CBSE and will conduct NEET and JEE Main exams twice in a year from next year. NTA will also conduct UGC NET, CMAT and GPAT, later two were used to be held by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). So far, The Central Board of Secondary Education or CBSE has been organising National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) on behalf of the Medical Council Of India and the Health Ministry and NET on behalf of the University Grants Commission (UGC). Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main has been held by CBSE on behalf of Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry. JEE Main is being held as an entrance examination for admission to engineering courses and as also a screening test for JEE Advanced, its scores have been used for admission in institutes like IITs and NITs. NEET is national level medical entrance examination and its scores have been used for admission in medical and allied courses across the country.

Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) is a national level entrance examination conducted by (AICTE) every year as per the directions of Ministry of HRD and this test facilitates Institutions to select suitable graduate candidates for admission in all Management programs. Graduate Pharmacy Aptitude Test (GPAT) is another national level entrance exam conducted by AICTE and this test facilitates institutions to select suitable Pharmacy graduates for admission into the Master’s (M.Pharm) program. With the introduction of NTA, CBSE, the national level secondary school and higher secondary school education regular which control 19316 affiliated schools in India and 211 schools in 25 foreign countries, will be relieved from its competitive examination duties. This has been a long standing demand of the central school body to relieve it from the examination duties other than its annual all India secondary and higher secondary examination duties. In 2016, the board had approached HRD Ministry and had expressed its inability to conduct the exams due to capacity crunch.

CBSE has been authorized to conduct NEET and JEE Main since the inception of both national level entrance examinations. In recent year, the board was also assigned to organise the UGC NET, a national level teacher eligibility test for recruitment in universities and colleges. CBSE also conducts the school level teacher eligibility test – CTET–, but, in today’s announcement by HRD ministry, there was no mention on who is going to conduct this examination in the future. UGC NET would be the first exam to be conducted by the newly formed body. The CBSE is all set to organise – probably the last UGC NET exam organised by it – CBSE UGC NET 2018 exam on July 8. The NTA would also conduct CMAT and GPAT. But, there have not been any updates on dates of these exams today.

Starting from next edition, the UGC NET exam will be computer based, said HRD minister.

How many times you can appear

According to HRD minister Prakash Javadekar, the students can appear both the times in NEET and the best of the two scores would be taken in account for admission. Two chances will give a choice option to the students especially if they fail to appear in a test due to unwarranted circumstances.

Standard of the exams

Under NTA, these exams will be more secure and at par with international norms, claimed the minister. “There will be no issues of leakage and it would be more student friendly, open, scientific and a leak-proof system,” Javadekar told the reporters here.  NTA is expected to bring in qualitative difference in the examination process by its focus on research and scientific test design using services of Experts, Researchers, Statisticians, Psychometricians, Test Item Writers and Education Specialists.  “The item writers would be trained to ensure that the quality of questions is as per the test design. The experts, statisticians and item writers/subject matter experts are already identified for being inducted into NTA,” said a statement from HRD.  “The new system will be student friendly, fair , transparent and flexible,” the Minister added.

Preparation

The NTA would benefit the students and they would have the option of going to computer centres from August-end to practice for the exams. The tests would be computer-based. The exams would be held over a span of four-five days and students would have the option of choosing the dates, the minister said.

Syllabus

The syllabus, question formats, language and fees for the NEET, JEE Main and NET exams would not be changed. The time table of the exams to be conducted by NTA would be uploaded on the ministry’s website.

JEE Advanced

According to HRD Minister, the Indian Institutes of Technolog (IITs) would continue to conduct JEE Advanced exam.  – Courtesy

Private engineering colleges likely to downsize faculty

Times of India | Aparajita Ray | TNN | Jun 28, 2018 |

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BENGALURU: The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) directive allowing engineering colleges to have one teacher for every 20 students may prompt Karnataka’s private institutions reporting poor admissions year on year, to downsize their faculty. AICTE norms had earlier specified a teacher student ratio of 1:15.  While VTU has urged managements of private engineering colleges not to pinkslip their faculty, it admits it has no control over them whatsoever.

But varsity officials say colleges that have had admissions as low as 32% last year will certainly look at the new directive as a cost-cutting measure. “On an average, private engineering colleges in state reported only 68% admissions last year, while nationally, the figure was only 50%. Many reputed private engineering colleges in the state saw admissions between 32% and 40%. For self-financed institutions where admissions are lower than 50%, having three or four extra teachers is a burden. We cannot do anything if the colleges remove faculty,” they said.  MK Panduranga Setty, chairman of RV College of Engineering, said, “NAAC and NBA accreditation requires colleges to have a teacher-student ratio of 1:12. And we follow that. The problem occurred because many colleges, that neither have a good rate of admission nor the money to spend on faculty, have pressured AICTE and VTU in Karnataka to shut such colleges. Those colleges following higher standards of education and having accreditation cannot afford to lose both and reduce the number of faculty.” He is also secretary of the Karnataka Unaided Private Engineering Colleges Association. KM Babu, principal, BMS College of Engineering, said they would maintain the ratio at1:15 as the quality of education will drop if teachers are burdened. “In fact, there is a dearth of good faculty, while colleges are mushrooming,” he added. There are about 240 engineering colleges in Karnataka. – Courtesy

AICTE tells colleges not to sack faculty

Times of India |  TNN | Jun 28, 2018 |

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CHENNAI: All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has issued a public notice on Wednesday instructing colleges not to sack faculty citing revised teacher-student ratio (TSR). On Wednesday, TOI had reported that engineering colleges in the state had sacked 12,000 teaching staff after AICTE changed the TSR from 1:15 to 1:20. Against this backdrop, AICTE’s notice states that colleges can adjust the ratio only after teachers retire or voluntarily resign.  KM Karthik from Private College Employees Union said the move, aimed at improving students’ welfare, has not done any good to anyone. “By sending teachers out, expenses might have dropped. But it has not reflected on students’ fees.”  He demanded AICTE issue necessary orders to revise the TSR back to1:15 to save the livelihood of thousands of teachers. –  Courtesy    /     AICTE tweaks ratio, 12,000 engineering teachers get pink slipClick here to read more…

Modi government to dissolve UGC, set up new Higher Education Commission of India (HECI)

The Economic Times | Anubhuti Vishnoi |  ET Bureau Jun 28, 2018 |

In one of the biggest move towards reforming higher education in India, the Modi government today announced a complete overhaul of the apex higher education regulator- University Grants Commission, repeal of the UGC Act, 1951 and a fresh legislation to set up the Higher Education Commission of India (HECI).  Stopping short of setting up a single higher education regulator subsuming all regulatory bodies as was envisaged earlier, the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has decided to revamp UGC and its parent legislation completely so that the HERC focusses on setting up academic standards and ensure their implementation rather than invest its energies on grant giving. The HECI will also be backed with penal powers to order closure of institutes that violate set norms, imposition of fines where necessary and provisions for imprisonment up to three years where necessary.  The HECI Act, 2018 is expected to be piloted in Parliament in the upcoming monsoon session. Considering that the Modi government’s term is coming to an end, it will be challenging to get parliamentary passage for a fresh legislation.

The HECI will not subsume the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) as was originally envisaged as there were concerns red flagged over cadre merger and other technical issues. Both, the AICTE Act and the NCTE Act will be revised to fall in tune with the new HERC Act and reflect the same basic principle of focus on effective regulations for academic standards rather than administrative grant giving functions, sources told ET. The provisions of the new HECI Act, 2018 will override the Architects Act as far as academic standards are concerned.  The key thrust areas of the HECI will be downsizing over governance of institutions, bring in disclosure based regulatory regime and powers of enforcement of regulations. A huge focus will be there on academic quality with emphasis on improving learning outcomes, evaluation of academic performance by institutions, mentoring of institutions, training of teachers, use of technology and so on. The HECI will also set standards for opening and closure of institutes, provide greater flexibility and autonomy to institutes and lays tankards for appointments to critical leadership positions at institutions across spectrums and even for those falling under state laws. An advisory council with the HRD minister, Higher Education Secretary and state higher education council heads besides experts will be set up under the HERC Act to advise on various issues every six months.

The UGC and its regulatory regime have been criticised by a number of committees and their reports for its restrictive and suffocating processes. Several committees including the Prof Yash Pal committee and the National Knowledge Commission of the UPA era and the Hari Gautam committee in the Modi regime have recommended a single education regulator to rid higher education of red tape and lethargy. While plans for a single regulator were at an advanced stage, these were dropped after a May meeting chaired by the HRD minister in Mussorie. The meeting saw concerns being raised about the feasibility of merging bodies like UGC and AICTE besides the challenges of establishing a full-fledged new regulatory structure, with a fresh legislation.  The AICTE had red flagged at the Mussorie meeting that they had already brought in several reform measures in their regulatory approach and their merger at this stage into a HEERA like body was hardly then justifiable. That a range of measures for reform in UGC were brought in following announcements in the 2017 budget was also pointed out. Building on these, it is being felt, may be easier than starting from scratch on a new regulator. Accordingly, while UGC will undergo a major overhaul, the legislation’s governing AICTE and NCTE will be amended to bring in changes if necessary. – Courtesy

The Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Shri Prakash Javadekar has appealed to all educationists, stakeholders and general public to furnish comments and suggestions by 7th July 2018 till 5 p.m.on the draft Bill.

The human resources development ministry has extended the deadline for receiving feedback and suggestions from stakeholders on scrapping of the Universities Grant Commission and the draft bill for replacing it with the Higher Education Commission for India till July 20.

The comments may be mailed to reformofugc@gmail.com  –   MHRD Circular, 3 pages, pdf   –    Click here to view / download MHRD HECI Draft Bill – 14 pages, pdf

AICTE tweaks ratio, 12,000 engineering teachers get pink slip

Times of India | Ram Sundaram | TNN |  Jun 27, 2018 |

CHENNAI: Nearly 12,000 engineering college teachers in Tamil Nadu have lost their jobs owing to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) changing the teacher-student ratio from 1:15 to 1:20. The scale-down has happened, ironically, in a state where 40 % of engineering graduates are considered unemployable, because of poor quality of training they received. Tamil Nadu, with more than 550 engineering colleges and 10 lakh students, is the state with the most number of such institutions in the country.  As per the old ratio of 1:15, TN engineering colleges should have appointed 66,000 teachers, but many did not adhere to the norm. “Colleges had only about 55,000 teachers on the payrolls,” said K M Kartthik, founder of Private Educational Institutions Employees Association. Many of the sacked teachers had at least 10 years of experience and were earning more than Rs 40,000 per month, he said. An associate professor in Chennai, who was sacked this May, said he has to dig into his meager savings till he finds a job. “There is no vacancy for teaching staff in engineering colleges here. Some colleges in Andhra Pradesh are trying to take advantage by offering teaching jobs at half the pay. Brokers too demand 20% of the salary every month.” A woman female assistant professor from Coimbatore said her colleagues, who were fired along with her, tried their luck at marketing firms. “But they say we are overqualified. We are left with no choice,” she said.  Karthick said many colleges are trying to exploit the situation, cutting staff and recruiting new employees who were ready to work for four-digit salaries. P Selvaraj, secretary of Consortium of Self-Financing Professional, Arts and Science Colleges said some of these teachers had come to the profession leaving industries. “When the industries were not doing well, many of them thought teaching would be a better career. See how wrong they were,” he said.

Anna University officials confirmed large-scale job cuts, but refused to put a number to it. People at the AICTE regional office in Chennai refused to comment.  A senior official from the state higher education department said the number of students joining engineering colleges has come down, adding to the drop in teaching jobs. More than 1.2 lakh of the total 2.73 lakh first year seats have gone without takers last year. Official data shows that 30% of engineering colleges have two-thirds of their seats vacant. “The colleges have no option but to follow the AICTE norms. The staff strength has to come down as admissions have dropped,” he said.   “Contrary to arts and science teachers who handle classes for more than 20 hours a week, most of the teaching staff in engineering colleges, particularly heads of departments, work for less than eight hours a week. Salaries of teachers account for 70 % of our total expenses. Without enough number of students, why should we have excess teachers in place?” said Selvaraj, who owns a group of colleges in Trichy. – Courtesy

AICTE tells colleges not to sack faculty … Read more

AICTE released Lecture Based Modules for Bridge Courses ( Induction program )

22 June 2018 | AICTE Circular |

AICTE released Lecture Based Modules for Bridge Courses

The Bridge Courses are the foundation classes organized for I B. Tech. students. By conducting an assessment test in their respective subjects, students will be short listed for this course. This course helps students from rural background and will brush up their academic knowledge.  Every student, on admission, would be put through a mandatory induction training to reinforce the fundamental concepts and the required language skills for technical education.

The genesis of this module lies in the Induction Program first conceived and started by IIT (BHU) on 2016 on mass scale for about 1000 students. The fact s that the students are overburdened and stressed out due to a hectic high school life. To refresh their creative mind, they were exposed to month long diverse credit courses like Physical Education, Human Values and Creative practices, as well as several non-credit informal activities. In a welcome step he AICTE has proposed to extend this program to the Engineering Colleges affiliated to them. In fact, purpose of this module is to bridge the gap between that the students need to know before they can start taking the advanced courses in the college level and what they are actually aware of from the intermediate level. Consequently, after the completion of the 3-weeks induction program, it is proposed that (besides other subjects) bridge courses in basic Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics should be taught to these students for the rest of the semester. The bridge courses will cover typical weaknesses of students in science at the 10+2 level.  The concerned University / institution has a flexibility to adopt these modules on bridge courses by adjusting teaching hours accordingly.

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A coming together of modern biology and technology

Times of India | Mohammad Ibrar | TNN | Jun 12, 2018 |

New Delhi: Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi, will soon launch a BTech course in computer science and bio-science, with an “attempt to bridge the gap between the two”. The course will help improve technological aspects of the pharmacy sector. Admissions to the Delhi-based engineering college will start from June 15.  “The programme will usher in technical advancement in the field of modern biology and medicine. The interdisciplinary education will impart knowledge of biology and computer science, as well as train students in modeling and analysis of biomedical data, which will provide solutions to problems on the interface of computation and biology,” the college explained. The course, according to the director of IIIT-Delhi, Pankaj Jalote, is to bridge the gap between computer science and bio-science. “We find that medical science today has gigabytes of data that needs to be collated and studied by computer experts. To be a good bio-scientist, you need to understand technology. Limited knowledge of biology can only make you a technician,” Jalote explained.

The course is an attempt “to prepare a new generation of biologists who know how to use data, and computer scientists who can create software for bio-sciences,” he added. Currently, IIIT-D offers a BTech degree in five mainstream engineering branches — computer science and engineering, electronics and communications engineering, applied mathematics, computer science and design and computer science and social sciences. Admissions to the BTech programme at IIIT-Delhi can be done through the IIIT-D admission process or through the Joint Admission Counseling (JAC). There are a total of 400 seats for admission in all courses through the JAC. Science students with mathematic in Class XII are eligible to apply for admission through the JAC, which conducts admission process for four state universities located in Delhi. Admission to some seats of BTech (computer science and design) and BTech (computer science and social sciences) are also done through IIIT-Delhi’s admission process, which is already under way and will go on till June 15. – Courtesy