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Science displaces engineering at No. 2 spot in undergraduate stream

Times of India | Hemali Chhapia | TNN | Mar 18, 2018 |

MUMBAI: With engineering losing its sheen, science courses have re-emerged as the country’s second most popular undergraduate stream. Arts has always had the biggest draw and that trend persists.  While 97.3 lakh students joined BA in 2016-17, 47.3 lakh chose BSc courses and 41.6 lakh took up engineering, HRD ministry data shows. “Thanks to growing diversification with BSc courses in branches such as computers, electronics and pharma, science is no more a plain vanilla option. And an engineering degree is valued only if the student has passed out of a reputed institution. We often see an engineer competing for the same job as a BA or a BCom grad,” said Prakash Gopalan, director, Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology. “Programmes are closing down and so are colleges. Piece all this and it speaks about the engineering education scenario. The word is quality. In times to come this trend may get pronounced if quality is not upped,” he added.

Choices exercised by undergrad applicants have changed dramatically in the past half-a-decade. Till about five years ago, commerce was second to arts while science and engineering vied for third spot.  In 2013, BA courses had 75.1 lakh students, followed by commerce, which saw an enrolment of 28.9 lakh students. B Tech had 17.9 lakh; BE 16.4 lakh candidates and BSc 25.4 lakh students, as per the HRD ministry data.  Then suddenly, commerce lost its appeal and was relegated to the fourth spot. In 2014-2015, engineering was the second-most popular course as the IT sector continued to account for mass recruitments. The emergence and popularity of engineering saw this professional stream become a broadbased course like BA, BCom and BSc. In fact, as an expert said, even those aspiring to do business or a course like an MBA started signing up for engineering given the design of entrance exams for B-schools. But now the proliferation of second-rate colleges has acted as a spoiler. Data from 2015-16 and 2016-17 shows science admissions are up while placements in engineering are dipping.  – Courtesy


Engineering students with cancelled degrees get 2nd chance

DNA India | Mar 19, 2018 | DNA Correspondent |

Students from the four engineering institutes, whose eligibility for distance learning was cancelled by the Supreme Court last year, will get to appear for a qualifying exam in June. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), which is the authority for technical education in the country, has prepared the curriculum for the qualifying exam and the applicants will have to get at least 40 per cent marks in both theory and practical exams to pass the exam. The curriculum has been put on the official website of AICTE. Students will be tested through objective-type questions, which will include questions from both mathematics and core engineering. An expert team from the AICTE and officials from the Human Resource Development Ministry decided on what should be included in the question paper.

The Supreme Court had in December last year cancelled engineering degrees obtained between 2001 and 2005 through distance learning from four institutes and ordered authorities to conduct an examination to give students another chance to validate their degree. According to officials in the AICTE, those who are unable to clear the June examination will get another chance to write the qualifying exam in December. Those who have not been able to register with the council will also get a chance to register before the December qualifying exam. That exam, however, will be the last chance for the applicants to validate their degree. The colleges disqualified for long distance courses were JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth in Udaipur, the Institute of Advanced Studies in Education in Rajasthan’s Churu district, Allahabad Agricultural Institute in Uttar Pradesh and Vinayaka Mission Research Foundation in Tamil Nadu. While cancelling the degrees of students obtained from these colleges, the Supreme Court further ruled that technical education cannot be provided through distance learning or correspondence courses.


  • JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth, Udaipur, Institute of Advanced Studies in Education, Churu, Rajasthan, Allahabad Agricultural Institute in UP and Vinayaka Mission Research Foundation, TN.  –  Courtesy

Click here to view / download the AICTE Circular, 1 page, pdf  – Public Notice on Examination to be Conducted by AICTE in respect of 4 Deemed to be Universities

AICTE takes on UGC burden of regulating standalone institutions

Deccan Herald | Prakash Kumar |  DH News Service | New Delhi |  Mar 9 2018 |

All standalone institutions will be regulated by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) from this year.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has given up its authority to regulate these institutions, which are categorised as those offering diploma level courses in various streams. Higher education institutions, which are not affiliated to any university but recognised by various councils or ministries of the government, as well as polytechnics fall under the category of standalone institutions. The decision to hand over the responsibility of regulating these institutions to the AICTE was taken by the UGC at its recent meeting, ending confusion over jurisdiction of the two regulatory bodies to regulate various types of standalone institutions as a major chunk of these institutions offer teachers’ training courses. A committee of experts, set up to review the rules for allowing higher education institutions offer distance education in various streams except in engineering, had recommended placing all standalone institutions under the jurisdiction of the AICTE.

Power to regulate

“The AICTE has a provision in its Act which vests authority in it to regulate standalone institutions,” a UGC official said. There are 11,669 standalone higher education institutions. Of them, 3,672 institutions offer diploma courses in technical education, 4,308 teachers training, 3,077 nursing, 433 post-graduate diploma in management and 179 institutions are functioning directly under various government bodies. Only 24% of the standalone institutions are run by the government and the rest are private.Courtesy

1.78 lakh Teachers in Professional Colleges to Lose Jobs

News Click | Tarique Anwar | 03 Mar 2018 |

Teachers’ body approaches SC against AICTE’s ‘Draconian’ diktat on staff-student ratio.

The table below is tentative number of professors who shall get affected and lose their jobs:

Throwing the whole professional education system into chaos, an estimated 1.78 lakh techers in private engineering, MBA, hotel management and other professional courses will be thrown out after AICTE, the regulatory body that looks after these colleges changed the faculty-student ratios. Teachers of these colleges have rushed to the Supreme Court seeking withdrawal of the new ratios. Their petition may be heard on March 9. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) declared that faculty-student ratio will henceforth be 1:20. Earlier, the ratio was 1:15 in private and self-financing engineering colleges for B.E/B.Tech/B.Arch, MBA, MCA, hotel management and 1:20 for diploma in engineering courses. The faculty-student ratio of 1:15 for engineering & technology and other programs such as MBA, MCA, HMCT, M.Pharm has been “irrationally decreased to 1:20”. For diploma, the earlier 1:20 ratio was converted in to 1:25.

The Private Educational Institutions Employees Association (PEIEA) of Tamil Nadu along with other self financing college teachers’ associations of Telengana have approached the Supreme Court for stay and withdrawal of AICTE’s new faculty-students ratio. “The total numbers of jobless professors after implementation of new ratios in all AICTE-monitored courses shall be around 1.78 lakh (one lakh faculties in private engineering colleges alone). It is stated that the new faculty-student ratio is not only going to create a defective education system but is also going to be liable for a loss of a massive amount of intra-national brain drain. Students presently opting for B.E/B.Tech or other technical education will not opt for it in future due to scarce quantity of teachers at engineering colleges. These students will opt for science and arts degrees, which cannot develop and stimulate the knowledge of students similar to the level of engineering or other technical education. Naturally, as a result of this anticipated downfall, the youth shall lose in global competition and nation shall also lose many crores of its technically qualified human resource,” PEIEA President KM Karthik said in his petition. Further, the professors – said the petitioner – who are retained are also going to come under the thumb of the management of private institutions and shall be intimidated to work for less salary because of the fear of being replaced by those who lost their jobs.

The new faculty-student ratio is way beyond the prevalent norms in other countries (see Table below for top 10 universities of the world).

There are almost 3000 self-financing/private engineering colleges across the nation. Most of them were just allowed to start and run at will during the last one and half decade. The jobless situation for engineering graduates attributed to automation, contracting, outsourcing and privatization of the industry is allegedly diminishing the craze for engineering education. “Even under this prevailing scenario, the trusts operating self-financing colleges are increasing the fees received from students and reduce the salaries earned by professors. The educational institutions feel the business will not yield the same old profit margin and decided to wind up the business and move on for other businesses. Before the educational trusts could exit the business, the AICTE indirectly helps the trusts to reap good profit by implementing a great reduction in number of professors,” said the petitioner. He said with an aim to meet the requirements of affiliations and inspections, several private engineering colleges are in the practice of appointing “fake” staff members. “The private institutions are not even following the earlier ratio of 1:15. The fact has been stated by the chairman of the AICTE himself,” he said.

It is learnt the AICTE decided to reduce the faculty to help the institutions from financial burdens. It raises a big question as to whether the AICTE has monitored or cross verified the institutions’ bank statements along with the faculties salary paid statements. The answer is negative. “It is clear that even after demonetization and digital economy initiatives, the AICTE is not bothered to digitise the student fees and staff salaries in the institutions and remains content only on oral statements of institutions. Issues are meager importance are being promoted by the AICTE and grave important issues summarily disregarded,” said Karthik. In implementing new faculty student ratios, the AICTE – according to the petitioner – has broken the transparency that it followed all these years. The matter was allegedly not released in public domain prior to deciding and thrust over the society in an autocratic manner. “The AICTE had acted on the advice of associations of college managing trusts. Every trust in no more a non-profitable service organization, and largely a money churning family owned organization. Some AICTE’s officials had acted in nexus with these trusts making a secret society and the new draconian faculty student ratios are only a result of the meetings in these secret societies,” he alleged. During the academic year 2015-16, the total number of staff in all the approved institutions of AICTE was about 7,00,000 (as per the records of AICTE). It is further stated that for engineering & technology colleges alone, the number is a staggering 5,78,000. Even if the number is taken as an approximate of 5,00,000, said the petitioner, the same accounts for 5,00,000 families with direct benefits from employment in these private engineering colleges. – Courtesy

AICTE panel suggests new way to test engineering students

Hindustan Times | Neelam Pandey  | New Delhi | Mar 05, 2018 |

The committee has suggested a number of measures including a focus on projects, training and “situational questions”, an official said.

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An All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) committee has suggested changes to the way students are tested in engineering colleges across the country along the lines of the system used in premier institutes like IITs and NITs, officials familiar with the matter said on Sunday. In premier institutes, students are rarely grilled on theory, but on concepts and application with an emphasis on analysis and ‘quants’ or quantitative problems. AICTE had setup the committee on exam reforms comprising of experts from various fields in earlier this year which submitted the draft report in March. Over 3,500 institutes are approved by the AICTE. The AICTE, the apex body and regulator of technical education in the country, has called a meeting on Monday of vice-chancellors of technical universities, deans, directorate of technical education officials, and teachers, to discuss the report, according to an AICTE official, who did not want to be named. The committee has suggested a number of measures including a focus on projects, training and “situational questions”, the official added.

 “Currently we have descriptive questions that encourage rote-learning rather than promoting the critical thinking of the students. It also focuses more on testing the subject knowledge of the student,” the official said. The committee’s report also includes model exam papers prepared along the lines of the new method. The plan now is to “have clear-cut learning outcomes for each programme and have an exam to test each of those outcomes,” said the official. Explaining the new system, the official said that the committee modelled its approach on Bloom’s taxonomy, which is a tool to help develop learning objectives. The system classifies educational objectives in a hierarchy as cognitive, sensory and affective. Experts think the move will help students develop thinking abilities. “It’s definitely a good step. For instance, Bloom’s taxonomy has been in existence for quite some time and the sensitisation that AICTE is doing is quite important. Framing of questions is significant as it can force a student to think, Even during the accreditation, institutes are currently also asked what outcomes have been achieved and how have you achieved it?…” said Dheeraj Sanghi, a professor of computer science at IIT Kanpur. – Courtesy

‘To improve gender ratio at IITs, start at school level’

The Economic Times | By Prachi Verma , ET Bureau| Feb 27, 2018 |

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With the admission process a few months away at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), this year focus is on creating 14% seats for women. The government has recently sent out a directive to the IITs urging them to increase womens numbers in admission by creating supernumerary seats (if required) from this year. Experts appreciate the move but said that intervention at the school level is the need of the hour. Only 8% of women got admitted last year to the IITs. There needs to be a shift in how families and female students think about professional choices for women. A large percentage of women decide not to join IITs despite having qualified the exam their decision to opt out is a huge loss to the institutions and to the society at large, said Ruchira Shukla, regional lead, South Asia, venture capital-International Finance Corporation.

This is often driven by the misconception that engineering is not an ideal profession for women, said Shukla, who graduated from IIT Delhi in 1994. Despite outdoing the boys at the boards in the 12th standard, women either do not get through or do not opt for the IITs. The ministry of human resources development (MHRD) sent out a directive to all 23 IITs to have a better representation of women at India s premium engineering colleges. This directive states that each of the IITs should bring up the percentage of women by 14% in 2018 (by creating supernumerary seats, if required) Shukla advocates for successful women who graduated from IITs to serve as role models to inspire young women. This will help groom a strong set of women leaders bringing a multitude of benefits to India and the world economy, she said. SKEWED GENDER DIVERSITY Last year, when IITs admitted nearly 11,000 students, the percentage of women at some of the institutes fell even below 10%. IIT-Kanpur had only 54 women among the 826 it admitted in 2017, a percentage of 6.5% while IIT-Guwahati had only 6.3% women among 643 students. IIT Delhi and Bombay admitted over 10% women students last year. Among all the IITs, IIT Mandi fared better in terms of women admissions last year with over 14% women joining the institute.

Every year, many highly talented women just miss a seat at the IITs. The main reason is societal biases that place geographical constraints on women and deny them equal access to preparation for the highly competitive JEE (Advanced) entrance exam, said Timothy A Gonsalves, director, IIT Mandi. IITs are also targeting schools to inspire young girls to take up STEM courses in higher studies. Going forward, a strong effort is needed to expose school girls to engineering as a career, Gonsalves explained. The imperatives of an equitable gender ratio at classrooms include diverse viewpoints resulting in better learning for all students and ensuring engineering team members of both genders that would cater to the needs of the whole society. The governments aim is to improve the gender ratio at the engineering colleges to at least 20%, or one woman in every five students, by 2020. It will create more supernumerary seats by then if that is needed to achieve the target. Shruti Joshi, currently in the third year of B-tech at IIT-Kanpur, supports the decision of creating supernumerary seats for women. Creating of supernumerary seats for girls will undoubtedly create an atmosphere of inclusion in every campus, said Joshi. She suggests that the coaching classes should take a cue and offer special scholarships to girls. – Courtesy

AICTE directive sets alarm bells ringing

The Hindu |  P. Sujatha Varma | VIJAYAWADA |  February 27, 2018 |

Teaching staff fear large-scale job losses; managements unfazed


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The All India Council for Technical Education’s directive to technical institutions to reduce faculty-student ratio has triggered unrest among the academic faculty who fear losing their jobs. Technical education institutions were required to maintain one faculty for every 15 students in the past. Now the AICTE wants it to be one faculty for every 20 students.

Plea to Modi

The pan-India phenomenon has resulted in members of the All-India Private College Employees Union petitioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to ensure continuation of the old system. In Andhra Pradesh, members of the teaching faculty are coming together to form Private Engineering Colleges’ Lecturers’ Association to oppose the decision. “Interests of the teaching faculty will be hit if this is implemented. Apart from this, another norm allows colleges to replace an additional 10 % of the teaching staff with visiting faculty from the industry. This will further hit our interests,” says Sai Krishna Kota from Gudlavalleru College of Engineering. Citing cases of a few colleges that have short-listed teachers to be shown the door, he says the association will press the government not to be hasty and try and relocate the ‘excess’ faculty in other departments. Some of the lecturers have estimated that the council move will deprive nearly 20,000 college teachers of their jobs in A.P. and Telangana. The ‘affected’ section in Telangana has already formed an association which plans to move court, said sources. The managements, meanwhile, have welcomed the move saying this would call the bluff of the colleges that had been presenting inflated number of teaching faculty. “The AICTE directive will not change anything as most colleges already have 1:20 teaching staff,” says Gadde Rajaling, Chairman of the Lingaya’s Institute of Management and Technology.

Salary burden

Moreover, with the 6th pay commission coming up, it would be impossible to pay higher salaries to excess faculty, he said. Pointing to the fact that the teachers will have to take not more than 15 hours of teaching per week, he said it would in fact bring in transparency. Ratna Raju, Principal of V.R. Siddhartha Engineering College, said the institution being an autonomous one, it offered many elective courses apart from the regular ones. “There is no need to downsize the teaching staff since we have always maintained this ratio and ensured high standards,” he said. Teachers in engineering colleges apprehend that the downsizing will start immediately after the exams. – Courtesy

Engineering graduates from Bengaluru most employable: AICTE India Skills 2018 report

The New Indian Express | Rashmi Belur  |  Express News Service  |  18th February 2018 |

BENGALURU: Engineering graduates from Bengaluru are among the most employable across the country according to a survey by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). The India Skills 2018 report lists Bengaluru ahead of cities like Chennai, Indore, Lucknow and Mumbai in terms of the quality of industry-ready graduates and their likelihood of gaining employment. Karnataka has been ranked fourth in the list of 10 states/Union Territories with highest employability. Scope for CS and IT grads According to the report, companies are looking forward to hire students graduating in computer science and other information technology-related courses. Engineering graduates from Bengaluru are some of the most employable across the country, says a survey by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). The survey report, India Skills 2018, lists Bengaluru ahead of cities like Chennai, Indore, Lucknow and Mumbai in terms of the quality of graduates and their likelihood of employability by companies. The city is also at the top of the list when it comes to the employability of female graduates. The report says that companies are showing a greater interest in hiring graduates this year as there is a strong hike of 10-15% in the intent of companies to hire compared to 2017. Karnataka ranked 4th in the list of 10 states/UT with highest employability and is behind Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Gujarat. According to the report, which covered more than 5 lakh students and 130 corporates across the country, companies are looking forward to hire students graduating in computer science and other information technology related courses. Employability scores, which tell us how likely a student being employed is, have touched a record 45.50%, up by 5.16% from the previous years score.

“This is certainly a good sign and movement in the right direction. Curriculum revision, teacher education, student inductions, mandatory internships, outcome-based question papers and industry interaction cells are some of the steps taken for this result. In addition, platforms like the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan, Smart India Hackathon, student startup policy and others will further improve employability in the next two years. Crossing 75% is an easy target,” said Dr Anil Sahasrabude, Chairman, AICTE. Talking about the report, which has been published in association with PeopleStrong, Pearson and the Confederation of Indian Industry, he said, “The report reflects the requirement of skilled manpower of industries in the future. The findings also show a change in the trend which was ruling all these years where one out of every three graduates was considered employable. In the latest report, this figure has reduced to one out of every two graduates was now considered employable by companies. Compared to 2014, the overall employability among graduates has increased from 34% to 46%. – Courtesy      /          Click here to View / Download the  India Skills Report 2018 – 62 Pages, pdf

AICTE rules out moratorium on new engineering courses

The Times of India | B S Anil Kumar | TNN | Feb 9, 2018 |

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has rejected the state government’s request that no new engineering courses be granted to any of the existing engineering colleges in the state, for the time being.  The AICTE regional council committee, chaired by AICTE south-western zonal committee chairman T G Sitaram, however, agreed with the state’s argument that no more new engineering colleges should be set up in the state, at least for now. Generally, the AICTE central committee seldom makes changes in the decisions taken by the regional committees on state-centric issues.  The state government, in its perspective plan for engineering education, submitted to the AICTE, had pointed out the large number of vacant seats in engineering colleges and the deteriorating quality of engineering education as the reasons for batting for a moratorium on new colleges and courses. The regional committee, which met here on Wednesday, questioned the rationale behind the state’s demand that no more courses should be sanctioned in existing colleges. As per the AICTE norms, only those institutions having accreditation of the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) are eligible to apply for new courses.

The NBA accreditation has to be obtained department wise and only 15 colleges in the state have so far acquired accreditation for their courses. Among them, majority are in private sector. The regional committee, according to sources, asked how it would be possible to deny new courses to NBA-accredited colleges since the norm was applicable to engineering colleges across the state. Education department principal secretary Usha Titus who represented the state at the regional committee meeting, however, argued that the AICTE should stop the practice of sanctioning new courses to all NBA-accredited institutions. “Rather than blindly reciprocating to the applications from NBA-accredited institutions, AICTE should sanction courses on need basis. If the AICTE is not in favour of rejecting applications for new courses in the state, it should at least ensure that strict norms are followed while sanctioning new courses,” she said. According to sources, applications of at least two engineering colleges, including one in government sector, for new courses are pending with the AICTE whereas nobody has approached AICTE with the request for permission to start new engineering colleges.- Courtesy

Employability of fresh engineering graduates is rising, says survey

Live Mint |  Thu, Feb 08 2018 | Prashant K. Nanda |

Among fresh engineers, employability is even higher, says the survey

New Delhi: Employability of Indian graduates is rising, a new survey has found, questioning conventional wisdom that many of them are not trained to start work. Among fresh engineers, employability is even higher, says the survey. The survey conducted jointly by Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), United Nations Development Program, leading human resource consultancy Peoplestrong and skill assessment firm Wheebox, said that “this year, employability score has taken a big leap as compared to last year.” Since 2014, overall employability among graduates has risen from 34% to 46%, a jump of more than 35%. In other words, nearly one out of two fresh graduates are employable now, up from one out of every three four years back. Fresh engineers, often termed largely unemployable, were found to have 52% employability. Within the engineering domain, those pursuing computer sciences have the highest employability, says the report that surveyed 510,000 students and 120 companies.

The survey showed that in 2018, most of the higher education domains have showed improvement in job-readiness of fresh graduates. However, employability of graduates of management institutes, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and bachelor in commerce are showing a negative trend. “MBA is the new B-Tech,” said the report, underlining how management education quality has slipped. Overall, the improvement in the employability factor will have three key impacts—one, the competitiveness of graduates will improve, more quality employment will be demanded, sharpening the jobs debate in India, and third, industries will find it easier to get a job-ready workforce. “This is good news for the economy and for industries. And the effort put in by authorities and institutions were showing results. But the employment scenario is changing swiftly and jobs that were on demand five years back, may not be favourites now or two years hence. So, everyone needs to be on their toes,” said Nirmal Singh, chief executive of Wheebox, which conducted the skill assessments of students for the survey.

Among states, Delhi was on top with nearly 75% of its graduates being termed as employable. Other than the capital city, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat are the other top states in terms of graduate employability. Bengaluru, Chennai and Indore are the top three cities in terms of employability. Automation will be a key disrupter in the jobs market, study showed. It said “32% respondents claim that automation is affecting 10 to 40% of existing jobs. Engineering, automobiles, manufacturing, consumer durables and core sectors have highest responses of this impact category.” The survey said more companies showed higher hiring intent in 2018. The overall hiring trend suggests that graduation courses and engineering graduation or equivalent courses are high in demand as both put together 45% of total hiring requirements. It further said fresh graduates and employees with up to five years of experience are in high demand and their improved employability will positively impact productivity. AICTE chief Anil Sahasrabudhe claimed his organization, which is the apex technical education regulator, has taken suitable measures to make students industry ready. He said the council will take inputs of this survey in further improving the quality of technical education. – Courtesy