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VTU has never had a full-time PhD student & In 19 years, VTU earns nothing from patents

It has been 19 years since the Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) came into existence and quite shockingly, the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) report by the Ministry of Human Resource Development reveals that the university has no PhD students and has no earning from patents as well. While the university has produced many tech-savvy students, research as a whole has not been given importance in the biggest technological university in the state. The NIRF report in its PhD students details revealed that no students are pursuing doctoral programme till the academic year 2016-17. But, there are 106 part-time students as per the reports. What led to this situation at the tech varsity? Jagannath Reddy, registrar of VTU, told BM, “There was no provision in the university to pay the doctoral students’ stipend all these days. Monthly, we have to pay and earlier students were not taken for this reason ultimately because there was no provision. Also, they must quit the job and pursue PhD. So only part-time PhD was happening. Now, the research work will start.”

The earning from patents (IPR) section also reveals that from 2014 to 2017, three consecutive financial years, the university has received no single penny. Reddy said, “These patents are basically those who are enrolled in colleges. We did not have it all these years and only from past three and half years we have got full-time staff and recently we have received 12(B) University status, this will start the process now.” An expert said, “It is quite shocking not because there were no PhD students all these years, it is shocking how all these years the provisions were not made and why all these years the managements which have come and gone did not even look into the research field in VTU.” Not just that, the annual capital expenditure on academic activities and resources also show some stunning numbers. VTU has not spent a single penny towards the new equipment for laboratories in 2016-17. But, in 2015-16, the varsity has spent around 37 crore and in the year 2014-15 it has spent around 13 crores. Reddy added, “From the last one-and-a-half years, we have been working out on this and around Rs 10 crore has been budgeted for the expenditure for new equipment for laboratories. We are doing it and we will get it done this year..” The expenditure on teachers and non-teaching staff salaries too has seen a major change. In 2014-15, the varsity spent around 68 crore on annual salaries and in 2015-2016 it spent a whopping Rs 86 crore and in 2016-17 it spent only Rs 65 crore. Why only last academic year there was a dip? Reddy said, “Previously, the contract and outsourced faculty was also calculated as part of teachers’ salaries. Even now if we add the contract staff it will go up to 80 crores. But, as of now, these people are not included and this year it is coming up to 72 crores for teaching, non-teaching and University BDT College of Engineering (UBDTCE), Davangere, a constituent college of VTU staff.” –  Courtesy

In 19 years, Visvesvaraya Technological University earns nothing from patents, The New Indian Express, Rashmi Belur  |  Express News Service  |   16th January 2018 |

BENGALURU: It has been 19 years, and the Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU), Belagavi, the only Technical University of the state, has not earned a single rupee from patents since its inception. This has been revealed in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), which was released by Union Ministry for Human Resource Development recently. As per the report, the earning of VTU through patents is zero. Although it is not mandatory for a university to get a particular number of patents, when compared to its own affiliated colleges and autonomous colleges, it is far from getting patents. “Being a university, we should definitely have got more patents. Shortage of regular faculty members was a major hindrance,” said a senior official of VTU.

‘Lack of earnings’ from patents is a reflection of lack of research activities by faculty members at the university. Faculty members are the ones who generally apply for patents of their research work. “As there was a shortage of regular faculties at the university, it was difficult for us to apply for patent. Each faculty member has to apply individually for patents for the research work done by them. The university received permission to hire regular faculties three years ago. This year onwards, we will apply for patents,” said the official. Another reason for the university’s failure to get patents was non-availability of 12 (B) status all these years. Recently, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has granted 12 (B) status to VTU, under which the university will now be eligible to apply for Central funds, which also includes earnings from patents. – Courtesy



UGC and AICTE will soon come out with an updated commerce curriculum, says Prakash Javadekar in Pune

Hindustan Times | Nadeem Inamdar |   Pune | Jan 15, 2018 |

Union HRD minister, Prakash Javadekar, who in his key note address, said that the lethargic attitude portrayed by colleges under universities had to be stopped and that new practices with a practical orientation related to commerce was needed in the syllabus.

HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar during the International Conference for CA students at Mahalakshmi Lawns on Saturday.

Chartered Accountancy (CA) experts, who had gathered for the international conference for CA students in the city, stressed on the need for a complete overhauling of commerce education being taught at universities across the country. President of the Indian Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), Nilesh S Vikamsey, emphatically said that there was a wide gap between commerce and CA education and that an upgradation of the commerce syllabus was urgently needed to make the commerce degree useful for the students. His views found support amongst other dignitaries present at the occasion with Union HRD minister, Prakash Javadekar, who in his key note address, said that the lethargic attitude portrayed by colleges under universities had to be stopped and that new practices with a practical orientation related to commerce was needed in the syllabus. “The universities will have to change with the changing times and the commerce field has to be made compatible with the modern requirement of globalisation and digital disruptions. The UGC and AICTE will soon come out with a modern curriculum with regards to the subject, which will be implemented across India ,” he said.

The Pune branch of Western India Regional Council (WIRC) of ICAI, along with the Pune branch of Western India Chartered Accountants Students Association (WICASA) of ICAI, on Saturday, inaugurated its two-day international conference for CA students which was organised by the Board of Studies, ICAI, and hosted by the Pune Branch of WIRC of ICAI and WICASA. The event will see the participation of over 2,500 CA students. The conference will conclude on Sunday (January 14). Also present on the occasion were other dignitaries including CA Nilesh Shivji Vikamsey (president, ICAI), CA Atul Kumar Gupta (chairman, Board of Studies, ICAI),CA Mangesh P Kinare (vice-chairman, board of Studies ICAI), and CA Shiwaji Bhikaji Zaware (Central Council Member, ICAI). Vikamsey also dwelt upon the point that India was one of the countries with the largest number of chartered accountants across the world and ICAI was technically amongst one of the largest associations with almost 2,70,000 chartered accountants on its roll register globally. – Courtesy

Internship scouting for engineering students to be onus of BOATS

Deccan Herald | Prakash Kumar | DH News Service | New Delhi, Jan 11 2018 |

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The autonomous Boards of Apprenticeship Training (BOATs) will have to find internship openings for engineering/technology students from this year as part of a bid to make them employment worthy. The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has directed the four autonomous Boards to provide industry exposure to B.Tech students months after a six-month internship was made mandatory for engineering students to enhance their employability. The current mandate of the BOATs is to provide internship opportunities to the engineering and technology graduates after completion of their B.Tech programme in their respective streams. “HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar recently approved a proposal to involve all the BOATS in arranging internship opportunities for the students pursuing B.Tech programmes across the country,” official sources told DH. The BOATS in Mumbai, Chennai and Kanpur, as well as the Board of Practical Training in Kolkata, have been asked to initiate the process of providing internship opportunity to engineering students “in addition to their present mandate of providing apprenticeship training after B.Tech,” they added. The move comes in the wake of reports that about half of engineering graduates do not find jobs after completion of their B.Tech due to lack of requisite skills. The percentage of students placed during campus recruitment organised by their respective institutions is also very low.

Campus recruitment

According to data with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), about 33% of engineering and technology students were picked by various employers through campus recruitment in 2016-17. Out of a total of 15,50,324 students from 6,531 technical institutes (excluding those offering programmes in management and art and craft), only 5,08,863 students were placed in 2016-17. “The BOATs have been roped in to provide industry exposure to the students in view of this scenario. All the institutes have been urged to contact their respective BOATs,” sources said. Many engineering colleges were finding it difficult to arrange internship for their students after the AICTE made it mandatory for every B.Tech student to undergo a six-month internship as part of the study programme, the sources added. – Courtesy

Engineering colleges may run BSc courses, if they have a justifiable proposal

The Times of India | K Sambath Kumar | TNN | Jan 9, 2018 |

TRICHY: All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) member secretary Alok Prakash Mittal said that the body will consider giving permission for engineering colleges to run BSc courses, if they are grossly vacant over poor enrollment, but they must provide a concrete proposal. Speaking on the sidelines of a workshop on Smart India Hackathon-2018 in Trichy, the member secretary said that, those colleges who have closed their programs over poor patronage, despite having the infrastructure, can make a request to AICTE. It’s not that the AICTE will instruct engineering colleges to close the program, but if colleges have additional infrastructure with them, they can use it for anything, he said. The AICTE has set norms specifying required infrastructure to run a program.

However, representatives from the self-financing engineering colleges said there are no specific orders from AICTE to allow BSc programmes. To which, the member secretary said that AICTE is ready to do what is in the interest of technical education. “They body is in favour of any development for the progress of technical education in the country,” he said.  To the question thrown by secretary of consortium of self-financing professional arts and science colleges in Tamil Nadu P Selvaraj, whether AICTE will declare it officials, the member secretary said that the college has to give justification for such a move and is perhaps ruled out for the upcoming academic year.   Executive committee member of the consortium MA Maluk Mohamed said that, the move will be in the interest of utilising the infrastructure that lay unused in many of the engineering colleges. “Except for 4-5 colleges in Trichy almost all among the total 53 engineering colleges in Trichy have less than 70 per cent of required student strength, he said. – Courtesy

UGC Ban on distance engineering degrees: Engineers of DRDO, IT, Aeronautical streams move Supreme Court for relief

Jan 09, 2018 | Times Now Digital, Agencies |

New Delhi: A group of engineers, including those from DRDO’s chemical warfare unit, who are facing the threat of suspension of their degrees, today moved the Supreme Court for relief, saying most of them have been working for over 10-15 years and their career will be jeopardized. The engineering degrees of these candidates, many of whom are employed in aeronautical and IT streams also, were obtained after pursuing distance learning course from four institutions in academic session 2001-2005. However, according to a November 3 order of the apex court, the degrees of students, who studied in these four deemed universities–JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education (IASE), Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute (AAI) and Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation, Tamil Nadu, will remain suspended from January 15 this year. A bench of Justices Adarsh Goel and U U Lalit today said that it will pass orders on multiple petitions separately on January 12. Senior advocate V Giri appearing for some of the engineers said that there were candidates who appeared in competitive examinations based on degrees obtained from these universities and qualified it to get a job. They are now at senior positions in their respective organisations.

“These candidates risk losing their jobs after being 10-15 years in service. The court should have a humane approach towards them as it will have a cascading effect on them and their families will be in trouble,” he said. Giri said that there were also some candidates who were in service and used their degrees to get the promotion. The top court said that the degrees were wrongly given by the universities and it had the interest of students in its mind while granting them two opportunities to clear the examination to be conducted by AICTE. “Post facto approvals were granted to these universities by the authorities concerned despite there being a provision for prior sanction for enrolling the students. There was ambiguity between them but we didn’t want the students to suffer and hence granted them opportunities,” the bench said. After their degrees were held to be “illegal and void”, it was not the students’ right that they are given such an opportunity, it said. “There has to be some test of their abilities as many of the study centres affiliated to these universities did not even have the necessary infrastructure. Those who will not pass the examination will have to face the consequences,” the bench observed. Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, appearing for one of the students who studied from ITM University (now Northcap University) at Gurgaon, said that his client didn’t even know that his degree was in the distance learning category. Arora said that there is another category of students who didn’t know it was a distance learning course as they attended regular classes. “World-class companies tested their skills, they qualified for the post, did their post-graduation all on the basis of that degree,” she said. “It is not the case where their skills were not tested. They had all necessary infrastructure at their colleges and students attended all the classes just the degree was from another university,” she contended.

Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh supported the cause of the students and said that some other methodology could also be there for testing the abilities of students. He said that if on the basis of this foundation degree, a candidate acquires another superior degree than his case can be considered by the court. Similarly, other candidates who are now mining engineers, many with the Central Armed Police Forces like ITBP and Seema Suraksha Bal have also approached the court seeking relief. The bench said it will consider the petitions and pass the orders on January 12. On November 3, the top court had set aside the ex-facto approvals granted by the UGC to the four deemed universities, terming them as “incorrect” and “illegal”, saying that such institutions were not justified in introducing any new course in technical education without the approval of AICTE. The top court had directed the AICTE to hold tests for the students whose degrees would stand suspended by January 15, 2018 and said these students should not be given more than two chances to clear the examination. If the students do not successfully clear the examination within the stipulated time, their degrees will stand cancelled and every single advantage on the basis of that degree shall also stand withdrawn, it said. The court had said that any promotion or advancement in career on the basis of such degree shall also stand withdrawn. It had also cancelled the engineering degrees awarded to students who were admitted after the academic session 2001-05 in these four deemed universities in distance education mode. – Courtesy

Parliamentary panel to provide statutory powers to NCVT

Tue, 09 Jan 2018 |

There are nearly 14,000 ITIs in the country. They are both public as well as private, and their numbers are increasing with time.

A parliamentary panel has recommended to accord statutory powers to the National Council for vocational training so that it could play the role of a regulator for skill education, on the lines of bodies like the UGC and the AICTE. The Standing Committee talked about the labour in their report and said that “Such a move will empower the NCVT (National Council for Vocational Training) to not only enforce the norms set by it for vocational training in the country but also help it to ensure compliance and act against the alleged defaulters, apart from adding further credibility to the skill training by it is.” The panel which is headed by Kirit Somaiya is of the view that the NCVT should be further empowered by bringing its powers under the ambit of law since this would help it to perform better regulatory functions and oversight over the industrial training institutes (ITIs) in India. There are nearly 14,000 ITIs in the country. They are both public as well as private, and their numbers are increasing with time.

The board additionally proposed that the star rating framework ought not to be left to be willfully received by ITIs however made pertinent on every one of them to enhance the nature of aptitude preparing. It has prescribed an elective approach while managing ITIs who neglect to consent to standards identified with framework offices and resources for preparing rather than de-alliance by the Directorate General of Training since the de-association unfavorably impacts the students enlisted in such foundations. The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has begun grading the industrial training institutes across the country by giving them star ratings based on their facilities, performance and placement record last year. ITI administers all the government’s vocational training programmes, which cater to about 36 percent of the 7 million people enrolled in various training programmes in India. The grading of ITIs helps the students to choose from the best institutes, and employers by providing them the formal governmental recognition for the level of quality of training and facilities provided at the institutes.

The assessment is done in two stages, a self-examination took after by a top to bottom evaluation by the Directorate General of Training, the umbrella body managing the working of ITIs and other preparing establishments. Fundamentally, the NCVT acknowledgment is pulled back from ITIs quitting the reviewing strategy and their declarations bear “ungraded ITI”, accordingly bringing down the work prospects of understudies considering in these foundations. Then again, ITIs which decide on reviewing and secure a rating of 3-star or more can profit a large group of advantages. Such ITIs are qualified to get money related help under the administration’s plans, including those supported through World Bank help, and their principals and teachers will be prepared in focal foundations in India and abroad. The grading process of these vocational training is based on 43 parameters, including infrastructure around a particular institute, level of engagement with the industry, availability, and specification of machines, tools, and equipment, qualified instructors, availability of a full-time principal, drop-out rate, record of placement, pass-out ratio, among others. – Courtesy

No plan to merge technical colleges in vicinity: HRD

Press Trust of India | New Delhi, Jan 4 (PTI) |

New Delhi, Jan 4 (PTI) The government is not planning to merge two technical colleges if they are in the vicinity of each other, the Rajya Sabha was informed today.

Minister of State for Human Resource Development Satya Pal Singh clarified in response to a written question in the Rajya Sabha that the “All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) is not toying with the idea of merging two colleges in the vicinity of each other”.

“However, as per provisions under the approval process, the private technical institutions with large number of vacant seats may apply for voluntary closure of the courses or reduction in intake,” Singh said. – Courtesy

AICTE blinks, revises student-faculty ratio

The New Indian Express | S Mannar Mannan  |  Express News Service  |   02nd January 2018 |

COIMBATORE: Following strong opposition from teachers to the All India Council for Technical Education’s (AICTE) move to reduce the faculty-student ratio from 1:15 to 1:20, the council has decided not to consider adjunct faculty members in calculating the ratio. In the 2017-18 academic year, the AICTE allowed technical institutions, including engineering colleges, to employ people from industry as adjunct faculty or resource persons to provide students industrial exposure and improve their employability. According to the rule, at least 80 per cent of the faculty members should be regular, full-time people; the remaining can be adjunct faculty/resource persons. However, from the academic year 2018-19, adjunct faculty/resource persons will not be included in calculating the faculty-student ratio. Only regular faculty members will be counted for computing the ratio.

This decision was taken after the academic community, particularly teachers, strongly opposed the AICTE’s recent decision to reduce the student-faculty ratio from 1:15 to 1:20. Academics argued that this would affect research work. However, in the case of Architecture and Planning, adjunct faculty or resource persons up to 30 per cent are permissible, as the programme requires exhaustive practical field exposure, AICTE said. In all other programmes, under exigent conditions like delay in recruitment or relieving/retirement of regular faculty members, adjunct faculty/resource persons up to 10 per cent of the requirement may be availed. This too is allowed only for a period not exceeding one academic session. However, T D Eswaramoorthy, secretary of All India Federation of Self-Financing Technical Institutions, said, “If adjunct faculty is not considered while calculating the ratio, many colleges will not employ adjunct faculty. From the industry side, people who are interested in sharing ideas and teaching will not get opportunity.”

Stiff opposition

Teachers had strongly opposed the AICTE’s recent decision to reduce the student-faculty ratio from 1:15 to 1:20. Academics argued that this would affect research work. – Courtesy

Govt suggests Aadhaar-linked biometric attendance for faculty at technical institutes

Deccan Chronicle | Prakash Kumar | DH News Service | New Delhi |  Jan 1, 2018  |

The Centre has suggested all technical institutes to install Aadhaar-linked biometric devices for recording attendance of their regular faculty members online

The Economic Survey 2016-17 had suggested the introduction of biometric attendance system in “all primary schools,” identifying “teacher absenteeism” as one of the main causes of the fall in learning outcome. A “successful testing” of a biometric attendance registration project was carried out by the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry in Manipur in consultation with the state government. An Android-based mobile tablet along with biometric finger scanner was distributed among the teachers and other staff at government schools in five districts. The device was also built to record attendance of students as well as monitoring the financial and physical progress made on Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) funds. “We will expand it across all the states,” HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar told the Lok Sabha on July 21, while concluding a debate on the Right to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017. –  Courtesy

Six states urge AICTE to disallow setup of new engineering colleges there from 2018

Money Control News | Dec 28, 2017  |

Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana have also petitioned AICTE to impose a temporary ban on capacity expansion in existing institutes.

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As the trend of large number of vacant seats in technical programmes continues, six states are said to have written to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) urging it to disallow establishment of new engineering colleges in these states from 2018, reports Indian Express. Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Telangana have also petitioned with AICTE to impose a temporary ban on capacity expansion in existing institutes. Engineering makes up for 70 percent of technical education seats in India. AICTE Chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe has agreed to the suggestions of four of the six states (Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana) who have backed their plea with reasons and proposed a perspective plan. Himachal Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh still remain under consideration.

There are 3,291 engineering colleges(and 15.5 lakh BE/BTech seats) across the country, 51 percent were vacant in 2016-17, according to AICTE data. In 2016-17, more than 50 percent of the engineering seats in Madhya Pradesh were vacant while three quarters of the BE seats were vacant in Himachal Pradesh. According to the AICTE enrolment data,  crisis in engineering education was at its worst in Haryana at 74 percent engineering seats being vacant in 2016-17. In its letter addressed to AICTE, the technical education department of Haryana has estimated that almost 70 per cent of its BTech seats were left vacant even in the current academic year. Reasons for the vacant seats include bad infrastructure and no regulation which led to there being little to account for in terms of the technical labs and faculty. This, and the fact that a BE or BTech degree fails to generate employment anymore has meant there has been a devaluation in the preference of students vying to pursue the degree.- Courtesy