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Salaried class to carry home more with 9% hike, but engineers to lose out

Business Standard | Sahil Makkar  |  New Delhi |  February 28, 2018 | Opinion |

Professional service firms flooded with work following GST rollout may loosen purse strings the most…

Those expecting double-digit salary hikes in their annual appraisals are likely to be disappointed as Aon, a consulting firm, has projected average pay increases of about 9.4 per cent for 2018-19. The projection is close to the actual annual salary growth of 9.3 per cent in 2017-18. “Companies in India handed out an average pay increase of 9.3 per cent during 2017, marking a departure from the double-digit increments since the inception of this study. The projections for 2018 are expected to be similar at 9.4 per cent, highlighting increasing prudence by companies while finalising pay budgets,” Aon said in its 22nd annual survey report. India has been recording double-digit salary growth for the last 10 years, barring 2009, when growth was 6.6 per cent because of a global meltdown. Average salary growth was 15.1 per cent in 2007, 13.3 per cent in 2008, 11.7 per cent in 2010, and 12.6 per cent in 2011. Between 2012 and 2016 annual average growth remained a little over 10 per cent. Salary growth, however, slipped below 10 per cent for the first time to 9.3 per cent in 2017. “The graying of salary increases in India is a reflection on how India Inc is coming of age,” it noted. Anandorup Ghose, partner at Aon India Consulting, said the decline was mainly on account of creating new jobs and low economic growth. “India was seeing double-digit growth when the economy was growing rapidly and new jobs were being created.

But with job creation having slowed, lower attrition and lower economic growth, the average salary hike is expected to be lower,” the survey said. It pointed out that last year there were seven sectors – consumer internet companies, chemicals, consumer products, professional services, life sciences, entertainment, and automotive vehicle manufacturing – which had handed out more than 10 per cent hikes in salary. But this year chemicals and entertainment are unlikely to hike salaries in the double digits. “The double-digit club further shrinks this year with only five members. Additionally, we observe faster moderation of pay increases in sectors like consumer internet companies and life sciences,” the survey noted. Consumer internet companies or e-commerce companies are likely to pay around 10.4 per cent this year as compared to 12.4 last year. Similarly, life sciences companies are expected to be around 10.3 per cent, down from the 11.3 per cent annual average salary hikes in 2017. “The information technology sector, which has gone through a spate of upheavals in recent times, is projecting an average hike of 9.5 per cent in 2018, whereas third-party IT services are projecting an average hike of 6.2 per cent,” it said. Aon noted that companies were pruning their salary budgets in the “wake of ongoing economic uncertainty” and were increasingly taking into account the performance and salary budgets of key competitors to determine their own budgets. Ghose said the companies, however, were paying more to their top performers, leading to a rise in pay differentiation between the top and average performers. “The focus on performance is getting sharper year on year. A top performer is getting an average salary increase of 15.4 per cent, approximately 1.9 times the pay increase for an average performer.”Courtesy


Friendly fire on teacher pay

The Telegraph | Our Special Correspondent | Feb 08, 2018 | Opinion |

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New Delhi: A University Grants Commission member who comes across as a BJP supporter in his social media posts has criticised the move to link higher pay for teachers with internal generation of resources, using the word “unthinkingly” to describe how some decisions are taken. The criticism came in a Facebook post by Prof. Inder Mohan Kapahy, who was appointed a member of the higher education regulator by the NDA government in February 2015. While issuing the 7th Pay Commission order, the human resource development ministry had said institutions would have to generate 30 per cent of the required additional cost for implementing the revised pay scale. “Routinely the departments of Finance Ministry sends such circulars to ‘autonomous institutions’ connected financially with the Union Government and the same unthinkingly, without application of mind, percolate down to UGC and then to the university systems,” Kapahy said in his post.

The 6th Pay Revision documents had spoken about an 80:20 formula. “Nothing happened,” Kapahy wrote. “Any such formula may have some relevance in the revenue generating autonomous PSUs (public sector undertakings) but no meaning for our universities and colleges. It can be easily ascertained that even those PSUs can’t and don’t follow the impractical formula.” “There is absolutely no way in which the HRD Ministry or the UGC can implement the 70:30 formula in university systems,” he added. It wasn’t clear whether he intended to take up the matter in the commission. Kapahy could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. In some of his other posts, however, Kapahy comes across as a BJP supporter. “There is no doubt this budget is geared towards the poor and the farmer,” he had written after last week’s budget. “The opposition naturally shall berate it as an election budget of unrealistic promises! In fact it is afraid that over 70% of Indians may actually appreciate it to its horror.” The issue of internal funds generation has led to protests by teacher associations across the country. The Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) observed a strike on Wednesday. The All India Federation of University and College Teachers Organisations will also support the DUTA in opposing the new funding formula. – Courtesy   /   https://www.facebook.com/public/Inder-Mohan-Kapahy

An Express Investigation: Want an honorary doctorate? Will help if you are in power

The Indian Express | Shyamlal Yadav | New Delhi | February 6, 2018 | Opinion |

Individuals whose job is to monitor, regulate institutions are getting honorary doctorates from them — raising questions of propriety and conflict of interest

One of them is in charge of the University Grants Commission (UGC), which monitors standards in teaching, examination and research in universities. Another heads the executive committee of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), which grants accreditation to institutions of higher education. Then there are Union ministers heading the Human Resource Development ministry. All of them are on the honour list — hundreds of politicians and bureaucrats who were awarded honorary doctorate degrees by public universities in India over the last 20 years when they were in charge of monitoring these very institutions, an investigation by The Indian Express has found.  The Indian Express filed Right To Information (RTI) Act applications to 470 public universities seeking data for the last 20 years from 1997 to 2017. An analysis of responses received showed that 160 public universities and institutions conferred nearly 2,000 honorary doctorates to around 1,400 people; 126 did not give any honorary degree during this period; and, 184 did not respond. Honorary doctorates do not come with monetary benefits but they carry enormous cache in an educational system that values degrees as markers of credibility and influence — many recipients add the prefix “Dr” to their names.

Records show that those who received these degrees included two serving Presidents at the time, Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee, who were Visitors occupying the apex position at central universities. A more telling case is that of former IISc director and scientist Goverdhan Mehta who was chairman of the NAAC’s executive committee from 2006 to 2012. During these six years, RTI records show, Mehta — who has an academic PhD from Pune University — received 18 honorary doctorates from public universities across the country, from Karnataka to Kashmir.  The NAAC is an autonomous body established by the UGC to “assess and accredit institutions of higher education in the country”. Close behind Mehta is economist Sukhdeo Thorat — a PhD from JNU— who received seven honorary doctorates between 2006 and 2011, when he was chairman of the UGC. Other UGC chairpersons who received such honorary degrees during their tenures include Hari Gautam (four honorary doctorates from 1999-2002); Arun Nigavekar (two honorary doctorates from 2002-2005); and, Ved Prakash (three honorary doctorates from 2013-2017).

RTI records also show that when Ketan Desai headed the Medical Council of India, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Tamilnadu Dr MGR Medical University in 2009. A year later, Desai was arrested by CBI on corruption charges. Records establish a similar pattern when it comes to public agricultural universities granting honorary degrees to those in charge of monitoring their activities. Topping the list is S Ayyappan, when he was secretary of the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture, between 2010 and 2016. During these six years, Ayyappan received five honorary doctorates from various agriculture and veterinary science universities. Next on this list is Ayyappan’s predecessor at DARE, Mangla Rai, who received two honorary doctorates during her tenure. Rai had earlier received an honorary degree during her previous assignment as deputy director-general, crop sciences, from 1997 to 2003. Before Rai, R S Paroda, who was DARE secretary from 1992 to 2001 received two honorary doctorates during his tenure. The website of DARE states that it “provides the necessary government linkages for the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the premier research organisation, for co-ordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country”.

These honorary degrees broadly come under three categories: Degree of Doctor of Letters (D.Litt) for literature, philosophy, art and music, and for services rendered to the cause of education; Degree of Doctor of Science (D.Sc) for science and technology or for planning, organising or developing scientific and technological institutions; Degree of Doctor of Laws (LL.D) for lawyers, judges or jurists and statesmen, and for contributions to public good. RTI records also show that five honorary doctorates were conferred on technocrat Sam Pitroda, who served from 2005 to 2009 as chairman of the National Knowledge Commission, advising then prime minister Manmohan Singh on policies for educational institutions and research. In 2010, Pitroda founded the National Innovation Council and served as advisor to the prime minister with Cabinet-rank. During these stints, Pitroda was conferred honorary degrees by Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum (2014); University of Mysore (2014); Shivaji University, Kolhapur (2013); Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya, Bhopal (2013); and, IIT-Kharagpur (2011). Among the serving HRD ministers who have received such honorary doctorates include Murli Manohar Joshi (two, 1998-2004) and the late Arjun Singh (one, 2004-2009). D Purandareswari, HRD Minister of State in the UPA government, received two honorary doctorates during her tenure from 2006 to 2011 — she is now a BJP leader. Universities have the power to confer honorary degrees for which proposals have to be approved by their academic and executive councils before final approval is granted by Chancellors and Visitors. RTI records show that as Visitor to central universities when he was the President, Pranab Mukherjee received three degrees — from Goa University (2017), Assam University, Silchar (2012) and Calcutta University (2014). Mukherjee declined an honorary doctorate from IIT-Kharagpur in 2012. Pratibha Patil received three degrees as President — from Padmavathi Medical College (University), Tirupathi (2008), North Maharashtra University, Jalgaon (2012) and Goa University (2009).

A university should have the right to decide who to give an honorary doctorate to but the institution — or the honorary degree — should not be reduced to an exercise of power politics, said a senior official of a leading public university who did not want to be named. “What kind of a signal are you sending to today’s young graduates at a convocation when the highest degree of the university is given to someone not because of what they have done but because of who they are and what they can get done,” said the official. Speaking to The Indian Express on the findings of the investigation, Prof Durg Singh Chauhan, former vice-chancellor of UP Technical University, was clear that those “occupying top positions and those who control higher education must not accept such degrees”. “Sometimes, vice-chancellors offer doctorates to persons occupying high positions and those who can offer some benefit in return,” said Chauhan. “Honorary doctorates must not be flaunted as a symbol of achievement and credibility. Many of those who receive such degrees may not have done anything in academics or research for which such degrees are meant. They may have got it due to the position of power they held at the time,” said Prof Makhan Lal, founder director, Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management.

‘There is misuse, can’t stop it’

When contacted by The Indian Express seeking comment, former NAAC chief Goverdhan Mehta said there was no conflict of interest involved in the honorary degrees he has accepted. “I received many honorary doctorates before and after NAAC. I did receive some honorary doctorates while I was with NAAC, but I never received a doctorate from a university where the evaluation was done by me. I don’t think there is any conflict of interest,” he said. Asked about accepting such degrees while heading the UGC, Sukhdeo Thorat said: “It depends on both, the institution awarding the degree and the individual accepting it. Both one must take care of basic principles. I have declined some degrees from deemed-to-be universities.” Former DARE secretary Ayyappan said: “These degrees are conferred for some achievements. But I would not like to comment anymore on this issue now.” However, Mangla Rai, another former DARE secretary, admitted that there were instances of “misuse” of powers granted to universities to award such degrees.  “Sometimes, there is misuse, but we can’t stop it. If you can’t stop the UGC chairman or D-G ICAR or persons in some other positions, how can you stop others, like ministers, occupying prominent positions? This should be left to the inner voice of the individual being conferred,” said Rai. – Courtesy

Engineering overhyped; quality takes a beating

THE ASIAN AGE. | ANUSHA PUPPALA |   Feb 3, 2018 | Opinion |
80 per cent graduates are not employable; a few takers for other courses. In 2017-18, there were 97,961 sanctioned seats for engineering where 68,594 seats went vacant.

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Heavy emphasis on engineering is resulting in poor quality of engineers and less focus on other courses. Students are joining engineering colleges because of increased affordability and easy access to institutions, irrational expansion of engineering education, advent of high paying jobs, particularly in the IT sector, and social pressure, said experts. Though about 1.5 million engineers graduated annually across the country, only 5,00,000 got absorbed in the market due to low campus placements. Forty per cent placements happened in AICTE colleges and 66 in Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), said education expert Prof. Venkata Gaddam Reddy. “About 80 per cent of engineering graduates are not employable because of poor quality, shortage of quality faculty, inadequate funds and infrastructure, lack of practical training or industry internships and no research activities,’’ he said. In 2017-18, there were 97,961 sanctioned seats for engineering where 68,594 seats went vacant.  Similarly, in 2017-18 the degree intake was 4,21,947 and vacant seats were 2,21,142, according to DOST. According to data submitted to Parliament a month ago, there were 3,325 engineering colleges in the country as of academic year 2017-18 which offered full-time UG and PG courses.

Most of the students and their parents preferred to pursue engineering courses abroad as well as in India and focussed less on other courses. In contrast, students abroad preferred management, arts and other courses, said experts. Reportedly, 20 per cent of the local students abroad enrolled for engineering or IT programmes. Prof. V. Venkata Ramana, Vice-Chairman of Telangana State Council of Higher Education (TSCHE), said, “Giving more emphasis to engineering courses is slowly becoming a thing of the past because in our prospective plan for technical education, we said, we don’t want more engineering colleges in the state as the demand is less and supply is more. The plan was also appreciated by the chairman of ACITE.’’ Also, AICTE was reducing credits which would really help engineering students improve the quality of education. It would also help them broadbase their skill sets and not just stick just to theory and classrooms. While it was always there abroad, in India engineering education is seen as very rigid, focused and one had to go through a pipeline of courses. Structural changes were required and the choice should be given to the students. Engineering students are needed to be exposed to out-of-the-box thinking to produce quality engineers, he added. However, a few experts said, emphasis on engineering education had at best limited impact or no impact on quality of education. Dr Srini Bhupalam, vice-president of All India Federation of Self-Financing Technical Institutions, said, “Actually the student quality and type of education received in the elementary, high school and intermediate college hasmore impact on what type of an engineer he or she will be and their success in the job market. “The amount of tuition fee paid by the student has some impact on the quality of education because the college can provide some extra programmes that will help in succeeding in the competitive job market.’’

Engineers in demand abroad

The number of Indian students who went to the US for UG and PG courses in 2016-17 was 1, 26,876, while it was 1,21,152 the previous year. Engineers are in great demand in Australia, Canada, Europe and the US. The most sought after are electrical, electronics, mechanical and civil streams. A few niche courses like aerospace, mining and nuclear are also in demand.  Global Tree director Subhakar Alapati said, “There is no specific statistics to determine the number of engineers going abroad every year, but they are one of the largest group going for studies. If we include computer science and IT engineers also, they constitute more than 50 per cent of students going abroad every year. Computer science and IT engineers are the highest of the lot.’’ “If we include CS and IT in the engineering domain, more than 60 per cent prefer to go for these courses. Management and finance and accounting courses are preferred by 20 per cent and the rest of the courses and domains constitute 20 per cent. There is also a strong reason for preferring the engineering and IT domain as most of the local students there in the college-level prefer management, arts and other courses for their studies,” he said. Subhakar added that only 20 per cent of the students abroad took up engineering or IT programmes. That gave Indian students a lot of opportunity. As these countries are technically very advanced and had lot of opportunities, Indian engineers got the advantage in work and research and the salaries are also high compared to other career courses. – Courtesy

Engineering graduates have poor awareness of research: Study by Aspiring Minds

The Economic Times |Saumya Bhattacharya| ET BureauJan 29, 2018 | Opinion |

NEW DELHI: Engineering students in India have poor awareness about research in their field and they don’t get enough guidance to build careers in research, according to a study which has revealed that less than three in 10 top engineering graduates in India are aware of any international research journal or conference in their field of study. The number slips to a meagre 22% for students beyond the top 50, it has found.  The findings of the study are based on a qualitative survey conducted among top engineering undergraduates to understand their awareness of research in their field of study. The students were identified on the basis of their scores in AMCAT, India’s largest employability assessment test conducted by Aspiring Minds. The survey considered only the top 15% or 3,000-4,000 AMCAT assessed students.

The study was conducted as part of the book ‘Leading Science and Technology: India Next?’ written by Varun Aggarwal, co-founder of Aspiring Minds. As per the study, as many as 81% engineers have no clue about any prominent researcher in their field of study. “There is considerable focus on engineering, medicine or management as top career options.  However, a research career is lacklustre in India,” Aggarwal said. “The first and foremost reason for this is lack of awareness of the importance of research, how it happens and why it is exciting.” The main reason for lack of awareness about research, according to the study, is the lack of critical mass of researchers in India to voice their opinion on science and technology.- Courtesy

Revamped AICTE curriculum says engineering students will study Vedas, Puranas, yoga

Hindustan Times | Neelam Pandey | New Delhi | Jan 25, 2018 | Opinion |

Image Courtesy-Times of India

Along with the internet of things, big data and bullet trains, engineering students will now have to study the Vedas, Puranas and tark shastra (logic), according to the revamped curriculum released by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on Wednesday. They will also be expected to know something about the Constitution and environment sciences as part of mandatory courses whose scores will have no bearing on their final credits. The changes will kick in this academic year. “The syllabus has been revamped by preparing a model curriculum as an updated curriculum is a student’s right,” said HRD minister Prakash Javadekar. The course on Essence of Indian Knowledge Tradition will also focus on Indian philosophical, linguistic and artistic traditions, along with yoga and Indian perspective of modern scientific worldview. “The course aims at imparting basic principles of thought process, reasoning and inferencing,” according to the course objective. It is good to teach non-discipline courses as it helped broaden horizons, said Dheeraj Sanghi, a professor of computer science at IIT Kanpur, but said that it should not be mandatory. The new curriculum lays emphasis on practical knowledge and lab work — the credits required for theory have been reduced to 160 from 220. Students will also be required to intern with industries as well as the social sector. “This will help engineering graduates connect with the need of the industry and society at large,” Javadekar said, adding that the curriculum should be updated every year and changes made per the needs of the industry.

Industry has often voiced concerns over the quality of engineers in the country, saying a majority of them were not employable and had to be trained on job. India’s more than 3,000 institutes produce about 700,000 engineers every year but barely half of them find employment. In 2015-16, of the 758,000 graduates, only 334,000 got jobs through campus placements, AICTE data says. “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,” AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe said. Universities have been asked to set up committees and update the curriculum every year. Vice chancellors who attended the meeting agreed to adopt the new curriculum, an AICTE official said. Management programme courses, too, have been changed. “The minimum number of credits for award of MBA (master in business administration)/ PGDM (post graduate diploma in management) course is 102 credits,” Sahasrabudhe said.Courtesy

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


As takers dwindle, experts say engineering has lost its allure

Hindustan Times | Shreya Bhandary | Jan 06, 2018 | Opinion |

Highlight how it no longer has the prestige it earlier did, as students choose courses that offer better options

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Blame it on tougher competition or lack of job opportunities after a degree, engineering institutes, including the premier Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), are increasingly complaining about the declining demand for their courses. The fall in demand has also automatically reflected in the rising number of vacant seats in engineering institutes across the country. Many experts highlighted how an engineering degree no longer has the prestige it earlier did, and this could be one of the reasons for the declining number of JEE aspirants over the years. “Students are very clear about the institute they want, especially for the quality of education it imparts. If they don’t get a seat in a good institute of their choice, they’d rather choose something else more lucrative and interesting to do instead of struggle in an institute which cannot promise them the best education,” said Devang Khakkar, director of IIT-Bombay. Some also felt the increasing level of difficulty of the JEE exams is another reason for the drop in demand for JEE. “Students prefer state-conducted Common Entrance Tests (CETs) compared to an all-India exam because that gives them a chance at engineering institutes closer home, and the level of difficulty is less compared to JEE,” said Pravin Tyagi, founder and director of Pace Junior Science Colleges.   Of the 10,988 seats in 23 IITs in 2017, the number of vacant seats stood at 121, up from 96 in 2016 and 50 the year before that. Similarly, 36% of the 1.31 lakh seats available in engineering institutes in Maharashtra had no takers in 2017-18. However, this lack in demand is limited to only certain branches of engineering, said another head of an engineering institute.

Colleges also said that some courses like electronics and telecommunications are losing popularity, leading to higher number of vacant seats for these courses. These courses account for the highest number of closures across the country, according to the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). “It’s not that engineering altogether is losing its sheen, but the fact that certain branches of engineering have become defunct over the years. Branches that do not promise steady jobs after the degree are seeing very few takers, whereas other branches are overflowing with applications,” said Dhiren Patel, director, Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI), Matunga, Mumbai. In December 2017, the AICTE announced that it might allow mergers of institutes, especially those struggling to fill vacant seats for some time. The decision has been welcomed by many, especially since the AICTE was previously planning to shut down institutes with zero enrolment in the past five years. – Courtesy

I would be quite optimistic if I am an engineer in India even today: Rishad Premji, Wipro

Economic Times | ET NowDec 20, 2017 | Opinion |   Edited excerpts  |

In an interview with ET Now, Rishad Premji , Chief Strategy Officer, Wipro, says there is always employability for relevant skills.

Rishad Premji

What is your view on skilling in IT sector?
Given how much change is happening in the technology space, the lifespan of skills is becoming much shorter and as a consequence the need to upgrade faster is that much more important. Upgrading of skills, moving your capabilities into new skill areas is very, very important and organisations and the IT industry is very focused on helping people get there. Reskilling of people to move into new technology areas is a big focus today.

While it is about doom and gloom and hiring at Nasscom that you are part of, you sort of clarified, that there are enough jobs. Would you really put the onus there on jobs while it is the right skill set that is really required now?, It is not as bad as it is really made out to be?
There is always employability for relevant skills. Look I think there is a still a lot of growth potential in the industry from an employment standpoint as well. The speed may not be as fast as it has been historically but certainly there is an opportunity for growth. You have seen what the industry added last year which is 150,000 people net jobs. I think it will add a similar number this year. There is still a lot of growth in the industry both in terms of overall revenue growth and employability.

What would like to tell an engineering graduate who is at college right now looking for a job?
Be optimistic. There is huge opportunity in terms of what your engineering degree can do for creating employment whether it be with IT services companies, some of the product companies or in the start-up ecosystem. I would be quite optimistic if I am an engineer in India even today.
What would like to tell an engineering graduate who is at college right now looking for a job?
Be optimistic. There is huge opportunity in terms of what your engineering degree can do for creating employment whether it be with IT services companies, some of the product companies or in the start-up ecosystem. I would be quite optimistic if I am an engineer in India even today. – Courtesy

Engineering colleges in Karnataka upbeat over AICTE move to capping fee

Deccan Herald | DH News Service |  Bengaluru | Dec 18 2017 | Opinion |  Engineering colleges in Karnataka upbeat over AICTE move to cap fee |

M K Panduranga Setty

The Karnataka Unaided Private Engineering Colleges Association (KUPECA) has welcomed the move by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to fix a minimum and maximum fees for engineering colleges across the country. The AICTE has assigned the task to a committee headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice B N Srikrishna, who had previously headed a committee that had submitted recommendations on capping fee for professional colleges. Welcoming the move, secretary of KUPECA, M K Panduranga Setty said that this would be a relief to colleges in the state. Every year, the state government fixes the fee for CET and ComedK seats through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with private colleges. Setty said that this was not being done in a scientific manner. “The fee that the state government fixes is very low. It does not cover our costs. They are not enough even to pay our teachers, especially when taking the 7th Pay Commission into account,” he said. Last year, the state government had capped the fee for engineering courses at Rs 55,000 for CET candidates and Rs 1.7 lakh for ComedK candidates.

“The fee cannot be the same for every college. Colleges with better facilities, infrastructure, and colleges approved by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) should be allowed to charge more. The recommendations that the Justice B N Srikrishna committee had made took these things into account. So, we expect reasonable rules,” Setty said. Dr S Kumar, chancellor of D Devaraj Urs Academy of Higher Education and Research, Kolar, said that the move would also benefit students. “Every year there are so many instances of students paying the prescribed fee through the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) and then when they go to the college for admission, they are forced to pay extra fee in the name of lab fee and so on. This is not a fair practice. Hopefully, the AICTE will be able to ensure that the fee rules are not violated,” he said.  Shravan Kumar, a final year engineering student said that the move will ensure that students pay only for the education and facilities they get. “Colleges which have poor placement records have the same fee as colleges with very good placement and facilities. A fee structure that takes quality and infrastructure into account is welcome,” he said. – Courtesy