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AICTE to crack down on institutes offering technical education without approval

Prakash Kumar |  DH News Service | New Delhi | Aug 14 2017 |

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is gearing up for a crackdown on the institutes offering technical programmes without its approval in different parts of the country.

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is gearing up for a crackdown on the institutes offering technical programmes without its approval in different parts of the country. It has decided to collect information about such institutes from the general public and take “appropriate legal action” against them. As the Council’s regulations revised in 2016, such institutes are liable to face “punitive and criminal action” for violation of the AICTE Act. “Let people inform us about such institutions. We will conduct an inquiry and take legal action against them. We have issued a public notice inviting people to come forward and inform us about institutions offering technical programmes without obtaining any approval from the Council,” an AICTE official told DH.

To offer technical education in the country, the institutions need to have the mandatory prior approval of the AICTE in accordance with the section 10 and 11 of the AICTE Act, 1987 and Regulation 2016, the official added. The move comes as a large number of institutions continue to offer technical programmes without any approval from the AICTE despite several requests were made to the States to put a check on such institutes in the best interest of students. “We have requested the State Governments and the Universities operating in different parts of the country to ensure that the institutes seeking a grant of affiliation from them have obtained a prior approval of the AICTE to offer technical programmes,” the official said. Any Institute not having prior approval from the AICTE and offering degree, diploma or certificate programmes in technical education are liable “to punitive legal/criminal action” in accordance with para 9 and 10 of the AICTE regulations, 2016 as notified in the Gazette of India on November 30 last year, the official added. – Courtesy  /   AICTE Notification : Public Notice – Prior Approval from AICTE

AICTE eases norms for private firms to offer on-job training through NEEM

Deccan Herald | Prakash Kumar |  NEW DELHI | 15 Aug  2017 |

AICTE also revised the minimum and maximum age limits for trainees.

Representational image

A private company with a minimum annual turnover of Rs 5 crore can now seek registration with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to offer on-job training to the students of technical education. The council has relaxed the conditions for registration of private firms as “facilitators” to offer on-job training, revising its National Employability Enhancement Mission (NEEM) Regulations of 2013. Apart from a Company registered under Section 25 of Companies Act, a non-government organisation, registered as the Society or Trust, can also apply for registration as the NEEM facilitator, provided their minimum annual turnover is Rs 5 crore and they have the capacity to train at least 1000 candidates per year.

Earlier, private organisations with an annual turnover of at least Rs 50 crore and capacity to place 10,000 trainees were only eligible for registration as the NEEM “agents.” The AICTE notified the revised NEEM Regulations in an official gazette recently. Under the revised rules, a private organisation with annual turn over of Rs 15 crore to 25 crores is eligible for registration as the NEEM facilitators, provided they have the capacity to train at least 3000 candidates per year. An organisation with an annual turnover of Rs 25 crore and above may also be registered as the NEEM facilitator if it has the capacity to train at least 5000 candidates per year. The NEEM, launched by the Centre in 2013 along with a national skill development programme, seeks to enhance the employability of the students pursuing degree or diploma courses at any of the technical institutes approved by the Government. Candidates from a non-technical stream or those having discontinued their studies after Class X are also eligible for on-job training to enhance their employability in the industry and other sectors. To enable more candidates to get on-job training under the scheme, the AICTE has also revised the minimum and maximum age limits for trainees. “A person seeking training under NEEM shall be at least 16 years of age and not more than 40 years of age as on the date of registration,” the revised regulations stipulate. As per the AICTE regulations, the government bodies are also required to be registered with the AICTE as the NEEM facilitators to offer on-job training programmes. – Courtesy

Engagement of staff by unaided colleges, not a public function: Hyderabad High Court

The New Indian Express | Express News Service  |  16th August 2017 |

HYDERABAD: Engagement of staff or employees in every private unaided educational institution cannot be said to be a public function. It is a purely private arrangement made by the said institution to carry out its aims and objectives, the High Court has held. Justice MS Ramachandra Rao has recently dismissed a petition filed by Mohan and 19 others challenging their termination of services by the management of Raja Mahendra Engineering College in Rangareddy district. The petitioners contended that the termination of their services without any reason or cause while failing to pay their salaries on the pretext that the college was being closed was unreasonable and in violation of the right to employment and in breach of Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

The judge said that every society or institution imparting education and discharging a public duty was not amenable to writ jurisdiction of the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution. The writ would lie only where a public function breach was alleged. In the present case, the college was not a deemed university and the provisions of University Grants Commission Act did not apply to it, he noted.“Merely because imparting education is a public function, it cannot be said that engagement of employees for the said purpose is also a public function. It is purely a private arrangement made by the Society with the petitioners and so the rights claimed by the petitioners are pure of a private character and relief under Article 226 of the Constitution cannot be granted to them,” the judge pointed out. “If the petitioners’ contention is accepted, it would open the flood gates and every dispute in every private unaided school/college between its management and academic staff would then be brought before the High Court for judicial review,” the judge said while dismissing the case. – Courtesy

IIT Kharagpur plans to take in more girl students from next academic year

Millennium Post | Team MP | 8 Aug 2017 | Kolkata |

Prodded by the ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), IIT Kharagpur has a strong plan to take in more girl students from the next academic year. “We will suo moto take more girl students from the next academic session. The number of girls in the undergraduate level is merely 9 percent. This should be at least 20 percent,” IIT KGP director Partha Pratim Chakraborti said. According to Prof Chakraborti, it has been found that though the number of girl students hovers around 8 to 10 percent, the percentage of girls excelling in their academic performance is as high as 40 percent. “More and more girl students need to pursue engineering. We will be following the supernumerary model to push the intake of girls,” Prof Chakraborti said refusing to divulge the details of the process.

Speaking about the reasons behind this difference in gender ratio, Professor Chakraborti said that there is still a tendency among a number of families not to send their girls to institutions that are far away from their residences. Moreover, the entrance examination in the IITs are tougher and often parents hesitate to send their girls to quality coaching centres when it is at a good distance from their homes. “IIT KGP will identify meritorious girls from Class VIII in their respective catchment areas and coach and counsel them as well as their parents. Some parents think engineering as a subject or the IITs as a destination are meant more for boys only. Several private coaching institutes already have programmes that offer ‘IIT exam-oriented coaching’ from Class VII itself to get them acquainted with what to expect in the entrance tests,” a senior professor said.In a drive to ensure a better gender ratio on campus, IIT KGP has already started a special helpline for girl students along with an exclusive girl’s cell. “To encourage more women research scholars and students to come up with innovative research, publish papers and take part in internationally acclaimed global conferences, the institute with the support of Infosys Foundation plans to provide travel funds for women researchers to attend top International Conferences,” he said. – Courtesy

Bennett University offers international exposure to students

The Economic Times | ET BureauAug 07, 2017 |

Founded by The Times of India Group, the multi-faculty, research-led Bennett University started operations in August 2016.

NEW DELHI: Further strengthening its tie-ups with international universities, Bennett University sent students to academic partner schools such as Babson College, University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and Georgia Tech. More than two dozen BTech students attended lectures, workshops, laboratories, undertook corporate visits and more by taking advantage of the global platform that was provided. “Those who’ve completed their engineering first year were selectively sent to our academic partner campuses for enhancing their overall practical experience,” said Bennett University vice chancellor Dr Yaj Medury. “All students received a certification for this programme from the respective institute. We think there is an increased confidence level in these students upon going to these schools.” Divyaansh Devarriya, 19, said his experience at Georgia Tech included an observational research programme besides various seminars and that he was able to meet several professors during the time he spent there. “We were eight of us from computer science/electronics disciplines and the idea was to give us knowledge in various fields including potential research options,” he said. Devarriya and his classmates also got some hands-on experience in developing code. “The exposure helped us understand topical areas that we can pursue research in as well,” he said.

Another student who attended Babson College’s ‘Babson Build’ was equally happy with her experience. Vidhi Mansharamani and her fellow students were exposed to the programme based on the principles of entrepreneurial thought and action, which prepares students to leverage the power of entrepreneurship to accelerate their potential and create new opportunities for the future over a two-week period.  “The practical experience was the next level. I’m still not over it, since with it we’ve got a new perspective of business,” Mansharamani said. Prem Jotwani went to Omaha and said he attended workshops ranging from American politics to cybersecurity, design and creativity. The two-week Road 2 Omaha programme had courses such as negotiations in business and life, social informatics and creativity, and the design process, among others.  Founded by The Times of India Group, the multi-faculty, research-led Bennett University started operations in August 2016 with the promise of making students “life and career ready”. The university offers programmes in engineering, management, media and law. ET is part of the Times of India Group.- Courtesy

KTU launches ‘Minor in Engineering’

Mathrubhumi Education Online | Aug 6, 2017 |
Kerala: Aiming to impart entrepreneurial competencies to engineering students, the A.P.J Abdul Kalam Technological University has launched Minor in Entrepreneurship programme. Students without backlogs are only eligible to apply for the programme. Talking to mathrubhumi.com, KTU Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr.M.Abdul Rahman said, “the university will commence the programme in the present academic year itself.” “In the era of start-ups, nourishing skills to help students to become entrepreneurs is need of the hour. With this programme, we aim to equip engineering students with additional skills,” Pro-VC added. In the line of minor programmes offered by foreign universities, KTU is planning to introduce a set of minor programmes. Minor in Entrepreneurship is the first among them.
The students should earn additional 12 credits for the Minor degree in two years with the one year break of study provision. However the Minor will be awarded only when the B.Tech programme is completed successfully. For attaining the 12 Credits they should undergo minimum four courses of three credts each during the specified period. The total number of contact hours will be 180 hours during a period of 15 weeks. The university is implementing the programme with the help of government accredited or university-accredited agencies such as ASAP, KSUM, KSDP, ICFOSS, ICT Academy etc. KTU has empanelled five Govt. approved TBIs for conducting Minor in Entrepreneurship. A student, who has passed in all courses till the third semester, can apply for the Minor. Interested students seeking admission have to attend a free MOOC course to understand the preliminary lessons in student startup. This could help the students in their self assessment for the programme as well as in their admission process. – Courtesy  /   KTU Notification : Approved Implementation Framework for Minor in Engineering

Data science and artificial intelligence research centre to be set up in IIT-Madras

The Times of India | Ranjani Ayyar | TNN | Aug 4, 2017 |

CHENNAI: Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions (RBEI) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras) on Friday to set up the Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence (RBC-DSAI).  The mission of the RBC-DSAI is to create societal impact through multidisciplinary interactions with government, academic, research and industrial collaborators on core challenges in Data Science (DS) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The Centre will receive Rs 3 crore – Rs 4 crore funding per year for five years. Vijay Ratnaparkhe, MD, Robert Bosch, said, “This partnership is to accelerate research for societal impact, taking a long-term view. It will set a precedent in the way big-data is used to improve our problem solving capability in industry. At the same time, the collaboration will result in shared outcomes for the benefit of society.”  Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT-M said, “IIT-Madras has been nurturing its interdisciplinary data sciences and artificial intelligence research group for more than three years now. The launch of this centre in partnership with, and generous support from, RBEI is an affirmation of the rapid growth and impact of the group’s research and teaching activities. I am confident that the RBC-DSAI will become a globally acknowledged centre working at the cutting edge of various aspects of machine learning, data science and artificial intelligence, leading to work with high social impact.”
The Robert Bosch Centre will undertake foundational research in many areas of AI and data science — deep learning, reinforcement learning, network analytics, interpretable machine learning, and domain aware AI. The areas of activity include research projects, knowledge management and dissemination, developing prototypes, outreach projects and setting up collaborative facilities and laboratories among others. The centre’s mandate requires interaction with industry and other universities, including international student and faculty exchanges. The objective is to advance scientific innovation for societal benefit.  Several technologies currently require large datasets to improve their accuracy and to adapt these technologies for the Indian context. As part of Bosch’s research and innovation portfolio in India, the centre in IIT-M will become part of a network to support ‘Digital India.’ It will advance the country in the fields of innovation and research as the world moves towards more connected hardware and software products. This research network also includes the Robert Bosch Centre for Cyber Physical Systems at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. – Courtesy

Done in 58 weeks: 15-year-old (Nirbhay Thakkar) prodigy finishes BE in a year

The Times of India | Bharat Yagnik | TNN |  Aug 6, 2017 |

Nirbhay Thakkar and his parents

  • Nirbhay Thakkar’s accelerated education started from class VIII
  • Nirbhay completed class VIII to X in six months and XI and XII in the next three months
  • These accomplishments have been registered by a boy who was found ‘weak’ by teachers in the senior KG

AHMEDABAD: When children of his age furiously prepared for class X board exams, 15-year-old Nirbhay Thakkar completed his BE (Electrical) course. In October, Nirbhay became the youngest engineering graduate from the Gujarat Technological University (GTU). His accelerated education started from class VIII. After passing the class VII exam as a state board student from Jamnagar, where his father was posted in a private sector firm as an engineer, Nirbhay completed class VIII to X in six months and XI and XII in the next three months under the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) system run by Cambridge International Examinations.  These accomplishments have been registered by a boy who was found ‘weak’ by teachers in the senior KG. “I was surprised by the remark when they suggested that and I took it upon myself to get the best out of my child,” said his Nirbhay’s father, Dhaval Thakkar. “While the conventional examinations focus merely on testing students’ memory, we devised a method with which Nirbhay truly became fearless about marks and focused instead on learning – not just by reading but also listening, visualizing, and finding applications of concepts. Thus, he could learn much in short time.” Nirbhay’s father, an engineer, and his mother, who is a doctor, represented his case as a special one to the GTU, Admission Committee for Professional Courses (ACPC) and All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). Nirbhay was thus admitted to SAL College of Engineering.  Dr Rupesh Vasani, the principal of the college, said that a special schedule was prepared for the fast-track course in coordination with faculty members. “The course is credit-based and Nirbhay spends nine hours at the college,” he said. “According to the GTU norms, the paper was set and results were declared only for him.”

Nirbhay said that it was the sense of wonderment towards the world around instilled by his father helped him prepare for the subjects over the years. Dhaval Thakkar had left job at the age of 36 years to concentrate on the child. “I intend to complete 10 degrees of engineering over next three years once the BE is completed as there are a number of common subjects,” said Nirbhay who enjoys football, chess, or swimming in his leisure time. “As I intend to go into research and product development, the degrees will make my approach multi-disciplinary.” Dr Navin Sheth, the vice-chancellor of GTU, said that Nirbhay would be the youngest engineering degree holder in the university’s history. When questioned about the multiple-degree plan for Nirbhay, he said that the permission would be granted on the basis of relevant UGC guidelines. Dhaval Thakkar said that no child is dull or bright in studies – all depends on how the child’s mind is programmed for excellence. He said that he would like to reach out to more students with his theory. As his graduate project, Nirbhay is developing a windmill based on maglev (magnetic levitation) technology which can remain functional and generate energy even with minimal wind. In the future, he wishes to work with the defence sector to develop next-gen weaponry.- Courtesy

This online course aims to spread STEM education to women from small cities across India

Edex Live | Reshma Ravishanker | 03rd August 2017 |

Participants have to use the knowledge gained from the course and make a submission for the project

The Anita Borg Institute (ABI) India launched 2017  Codeathon.in for women students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) from smaller cities across India. As a part of the event, participants have to use the knowledge gained from the online course and make a submission for the project: Navigate the Mars Rover. The project involves designing and implementing a solution that will apply a variety of shortest path algorithms to help the Mars Rover find the optimal path between the starting point and the destination marked by the user. The end user will have the ability to choose the algorithm to be used.  This initiative is an online platform that offers the students an opportunity to enhance their coding skills while developing innovative solutions.

“Currently, the industry efforts in this area are concentrated in the six to eight metro cities. At times there is so much happening that the talent in these cities is spoilt for choices. There is a large pool of untapped talent in smaller cities that have a lot of knowledge, they need more exposure and confidence-building. 2017 Codethon.in aims to bridge this gap. The participation from colleges and students in the selected cities has been positive and we look forward to some great codingsaid Geetha Kannan, MD, ABI India. The event is being held in select engineering colleges in Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), Mysore (Karnataka) and a few cities in Kerala. It will be conducted online from July and will go on until September 2017. It will also offer all participants coaching and practical experience that will better prepare them students for exciting careers in technology. –  Courtesy    /   Click here to take a look at  Codeathon.in        /  The Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology is a nonprofit organization founded by computer scientist Anita Borg. The institute’s primary aim is to recruit, retain, and advance women in technology.The institute’s most prominent program is the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference, the world’s largest gathering of women in computing.        https://anitaborg.org/about-us/india/

Half Of Those Who Crack Civil Services Exam Are Engineers, Majority Of Them Opt For Subjects Like Sociology: Jitendra Singh

ND TV | Edited by Maitree Baral | : August 03, 2017 |

Minister of State for personnel, public grievances and pensions Jitendra Singh has stated that, ‘Nearly half of those who crack the civil services examination are engineering graduates and a large number of them do so by opting for subjects like public administration and sociology.’

New Delhi: Minister of State for personnel, public grievances and pensions Jitendra Singh has stated that, ‘Nearly half of those who crack the civil services examination are engineering graduates and a large number of them do so by opting for subjects like public administration and sociology,’ in response to BJP member Subramaniam Swamy’s question on whether the government had received representations to include Ayurveda as an optional subject for civil services examination, during the question hour in Rajya Sabha, today. ‘There are 48 optional subjects for the examination and added that Ayurveda not being an optional did not mean that Ayush graduates could not appear for the examination,’ he added further to support his statement.

However he said that the issue is under examination by the government. Among 20 toppers this year, 19 were engineers and one was a doctor. Civil services final result 2016 was declared in May. Nandini KR, 26 year old civil engineer, topped the examination. Highlighting more, he said not even 10 per cent of the doctors opt for medical science as their option. Doctors and engineers choose optional subjects different than what they have studied, for the civil services exam. Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) had declared the result of the civil services preliminary exam in June and the main exam is scheduled to be held on October 2017. Close to 14000 candidates have qualified the civil services preliminary exam.  – (With Inputs From PTI) – Courtesy