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95% engineers in India unfit for software development jobs: Aspiring Minds study

The Hindu Business Line | PTI | New Delhi | 20 April 2017 |

Image for representational purpose only.

Image for representational purpose only.

Over 36,000 engineering students from IT related branches of over 500 colleges took Automata test.  Programming skills are five times poorer for tier III colleges as compared to tier 1 colleges, the survey noted.

“Lack of programming skills is adversely impacting the IT and data science ecosystem in India. The world is moving towards introducing programming to three-year-old! India needs to catch up,” Aspiring Minds CTO and co-founder Varun Aggarwal said.  The employability gap can be attributed to rote learning based approaches rather than actually writing programmes on a computer for different problems. Also, there is a dearth of good teachers for programming, since most good programmers get jobs in industry at good salaries, the study said.  Moreover, programming skills are five times poorer for tier III colleges as compared to tier 1 colleges. “Sixty nine per cent of candidates from top 100 colleges are able to write a compilable code versus rest of the colleges where only 31 per cent are able to write a compilable code,” the report said. –  Courtesy   / Read More…     http://www.aspiringminds.com/technology/automata        /      http://www.aspiringminds.com/

IIT BHU raises objection on NIRF ranking 2017, says list based on ‘incomplete data’

The Indian Express | Express Web Desk | New Delhi |  April 19, 2017 | Opinion |

IIT BHU said the publication data as considered by NIRF is not complete and does not match with the publication data available on Web of Science, Scopus and Indian Citation Index.

Sixteen days after the Ministry of Human Resource Development released the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) 2017, the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU) today said IIT (BHU) Varanasi at 31 rank under the top engineering colleges list is “based on incomplete publication/patent data obtained by NIRF directly from third party like — Scopus, Web of Sciences, Indian Citation Index and Thomas Reuter”. At a press conference Director, IIT (BHU) Prof Rajeev Sangal informed the research publication was obtained by NIRF directly from third party platforms instead of collecting it from respective Institution. “The publication data as considered by NIRF is not complete and does not match with the publication data available on Web of Science, Scopus and Indian Citation Index. Actually, it is very less than the actual. This has adversely affected rank of IIT (BHU),” he said.

Prof Sangal said the total research publications of the institute as published in calendar year 2013, 2014 and 2015 in Scopus is approximately 1500, while NIRF has shown only 205.  Further, total research publication in Web of Science is 1006, but NIRF has shown only 827. Institute has published total 125 research publication in Indian Citation Index, while NIRF has shown only 34. Director, IIT(BHU) has further informed that NIRF has picked patent-related data also from third party and did not take into account the data provided by Institute. “The third party namely Thomas Reuter has not published the patent related data of the Institute on its platform. Hence, based on this incomplete information only, NIRF has given zero marks to IIT(BHU) for publication as well as grant of patent. Though, as per our records our few patents has been published and granted,” he said.  Prof Sangal said that that he is hopeful that if these deficiencies are removed ranking of IIT (BHU) may become under top 20 engineering institutions. Director, IIT (BHU) has also informed that an e-mail has also been sent to NIRF for rectifying this data, and reply from them is awaited.  The Ministry of Human Resource Development had on April 3 released the ranking for engineering along with university, college, pharmaceutical institute, management institute and overall educational institute. Last year, IIT BHU was at number 14 but this year its rank fell down to 31. –  Courtesy

Drop courses with few takers: Central government

Kritika Sharma | Fri, 24 Mar 2017 |  New Delhi |  DNA  |

Analysis of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) shows that chemical and textile engineering are not popular among students

Representational image

In order to offer more market-friendly courses to engineering aspirants, the central government has asked technical institutions including the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) to shut courses that are not getting a good response. According to government’s own data, around 400 private technical institutions were shut down in the last three years because they were not getting sufficient number of students, and also, those who passed out from those institutions were not employable.  Taking a review of the situation, the Ministry decided to overhaul the engineering education system. It has now on its own, appealed to centrally funded technical institutions to close down the branches and courses that have seen less admissions in the past three years.  The Ministry has also said if the institutions want to introduce new courses and disciplines; they should do so after analysing market opportunity, employability and requirement of higher education.

“All Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (CFTIs), which are participating in joint counseling sessions have been asked to review the position of vacant seats in the last three years and to revise the number of seats in each discipline after considering employment opportunities, national requirements, available infrastructure and scope for future,” Mahendra Nath Pandey, Minister of State for HRD, told Rajya Sabha in a written reply. “CFTIs may also consider closure of some disciplines or keep them in abeyance for a few years after following the due process,” he said.  Various disciplines of engineering courses are available under Chemical, Software, Civil and Electronics engineering across various colleges in India. An analysis of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) shows that most number of students enrol for mechanical engineering, followed by computer science, electronics and civil engineering. Branches like chemical and textile engineering get few takers.  The central government has taken a similar route with school education also. It recently asked the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to shut down vocational courses that have very few takers. The board has recently issued a circular with which they have discontinued 34 of its vocational courses.


Steps taken by government to overhaul engineering education

  1. Asking institutes to close down branches that are not getting many takers.
  2. Making internships mandatory for students to get their engineering degree.
  3. Introducing a single-window entrance system on the lines of NEET for all engineering colleges.
  4. Making sure that the new courses that are started in college are market-friendly. –  Courtesy

Google Scholar is a serious alternative to Web of Science

Anne-Wil Harzing | Professor of International Management at Middlesex University | London | Opinion | LSE Impact Blog |

Many bibliometricians and university administrators remain wary of Google Scholar citation data, preferring “the gold standard” of Web of Science instead. Anne-Wil Harzing, who developed the Publish or Perish software that uses Google Scholar data, here sets out to challenge some of the misconceptions about this data source and explain why it offers a serious alternative to Web of Science. In addition to its flaws having been overstated, Google Scholar’s coverage of high-quality publications is more comprehensive in many areas, including in the social sciences and humanities, books and book chapters, conference proceedings and non-English language publications.

Publish or Perish uses Google Scholar as one of its data sources (the other being Microsoft Academic). Many bibliometricians and university administrators are fairly conservative in their approach to citation analysis. It is not unusual to see them prefer the Web of Science (ISI for short) as “the gold standard” and discard Google Scholar out of hand, simply because they have heard some wild-west stories about its “overly generous” coverage. These stories are typically based one or more of the following misconceptions, which I will dispute below.

  • First, the impression that everything “on the web” citing an academic’s work counts as a citation.
  • Second, the assumption that any publication that is not listed in the Web of Science is not worth considering at all.
  • Third, a general impression that citation counts in Google Scholar are completely unreliable.

Not everything published on the internet counts in Google Scholar

Some academics are under the misplaced impression that anything posted on the internet that includes references will be counted in Google Scholar. This might also be the source behind the misconception that one can put simply put phantom papers online to improve one’s citation count. However, Google Scholar only indexes scholarly publications. As its website indicates: “we work with publishers of scholarly information to index peer-reviewed papers, theses, preprints, abstracts, and technical reports from all disciplines of research.”  Some non-scholarly citations, such as student handbooks, library guides or editorial notes slip through. However, incidental problems in this regard are unlikely to distort cita­tion metrics, especially robust ones such as the h-index. Hence, although there might be some overestimation of the number of non-scholarly cita­tions in Google Scholar, for many disciplines this is preferable to the very significant and systematic underestimation of scholarly citations in ISI or Scopus. Moreover, as long as one compares like with like, i.e. compares citation records for the same data source, this should not be a problem at all.

Non-ISI listed publications can be high-quality publications

There is also a frequent assumption amongst research administrators that ISI listing is a stamp of quality and that hence one should ignore non-ISI listed publications and citations. There are two problems with this assumption. First, ISI has a bias towards science, English-language and North American journals. Second, ISI completely ignores a vast majority of publications in the social sciences and humanities.

  • ISI journal listing is very incomplete in the social sciences and humanities: ISI’s listing of journals is much more comprehensive in the sciences than in the social sciences and humanities. Butler (2006) analysed the distribution of publication output by field for Australian universities between 1999 and 2001. She found that whereas for the chemical, biological, physical and medical/health sciences between 69.3% and 84.6% of the publications were published in ISI listed journals, this was the case for only 4.4%-18.7% of the publica­tions in the social sciences such as management, history education and arts. Many high-quality journals in the field of economics and business are not ISI listed. Only 30%-40% of the journals in accounting, marketing and general management and strategy listed on my Journal Quality List (already a pretty selective list) are ISI listed. There is no doubt that – on average – journals that are ISI listed are perceived to be of higher quality. However, there is a very substantial number of non-ISI indexed journals that have a higher than average h-index.
  • ISI has very limited coverage of non-journal publications: second, even in the cited reference search, ISI only includes citations in ISI listed journals. In the general search function it completely ignores any publications that are not in ISI-listed journals. As a result a vast majority of publications and citations in the social sciences and humanities, as well as in engineering and computer science, are ignored. In the social sciences and huma­nities this is mainly caused by a complete neglect of books, book chapters, publications in languages other than English, and publications in non-ISI listed journals. In engineering and computer science, this is mostly caused by a neglect of conference proceedings. ISI has recently introduced conference proceedings in its database. However, it does not provide any details of which conferences are covered beyond listing some disciplines that are covered. I was unable to find any of my own publications in conference proceedings. As a result ISI very seriously underestimates both the number of publications and the num­ber of citations for academics in the social sciences and humanities and in engineering and computer science.

Google Scholar’s flaws have been played up far too much

Peter Jacsó, a prominent academic in information and library science, has published several rather critical articles about Google Scholar (e.g. Jacsó, 2006a and 2006b). When confronted with titles such as “Dubious hit counts and cuckoo’s eggs” and “Deflated, inflated and phantom citation counts”, Deans, academic administrators and tenure/­promotion committees could be excused for assuming Google Scholar provides unreliable data. However, the bulk of Jacsó’s critique is levelled at Google Scholar’s inconsistent number of results for keyword searches, which are not at all relevant for the author and journal impact searches that most academics use Publish or Perish for. For these types of searches, the following caveats are important.

  • Citation metrics are robust and insensitive to occasional errors: most of the metrics used in Publish or Perish are fairly robust and insensitive to occasional errors as they will not generally change the h-index or g-index and will only have a minor impact on the number of citations per paper. There is no doubt that Google Scholar’s automatic parsing occasionally provi­des us with nonsensical results. However, these errors do not appear to be as frequent or as important as implied by Jacsó’s articles. They also do not generally impact the results of author or journal queries much, if at all.
  • Google Scholar parsing has improved significantly: Google Scholar has also significantly improved its parsing since the errors were pointed out to them. However, many academics are still referring to Jacsó’s 2006 articles as convincing arguments against any use of Google Scholar. I would argue this is inappropriate. As academics, we are only all too well aware that all of our research results include a certain error margin. We cannot expect citation data to be any different.
  • Google Scholar errors are random rather than systematic: what is most important is that errors are random rather than systematic. I have no reason to believe that the Google Scholar errors identified in Jacsó’s articles are anything else than random. Hence they will not normally advantage or disadvantage individual academics or journals.
  • ISI and Scopus have systematic errors of coverage: in contrast, commercial databases such as ISI and Scopus have systematic errors as they do not include many journals in the social sciences and humanities, nor have good coverage of conferences proceedings, books or book chapters. Therefore, although it is always a good idea to use multiple data sources, rejecting Google Scholar out of hand because of presu­med parsing errors is not rational. Nor is presuming ISI is error-free simply because it charges high subscription fees.


As I have argued in the past, Google Scholar and Publish or Perish have democratised citation analysis. Rather than leaving it in the hands of those with access to commercial databases with high subscription fees, anyone with a computer and internet access can now run their own analyses. If you’d like to know more about this, have a look at this presentation.

This blog post originally appeared on the author’s personal website and is republished here with permission. Copyright © 2017 Anne-Wil Harzing.  Featured image credit: Viele bunte Bälle by Maret Hosemann (licensed under a CC BY 2.0 license).

Note: This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Impact Blog, nor of the London School of Economics. Please review our comments policy if you have any concerns on posting a comment below.

About the author

Anne-Wil Harzing is Professor of International Management at Middlesex University, London. In addition to her academic duties, she also maintains the Journal Quality List and is the driving force behind the popular Publish or Perish software program. –  Courtesy

Now, West Bengal opposes Centre’s common engineering admission test (NEET)

The Times of India | Somdatta Basu | TNN | Mar 14, 2017 |

KOLKATA: If you thought the saffron landslide in the recent assembly polls will prompt Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to mend her relations with the Centre, think again. Mamata sticks to her “state first” policy and allows her officers to attend meetings in Delhi on a case-to-case basis, the bottomline being Bengal’s interests.  For instance, she has allowed state higher education secretary Vivek Kumar to attend an MHRD meeting in Delhi on Tuesday and oppose the Centre’s proposal to introduce a single national-level entry test for engineering courses from 2018 on the lines of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for medical entrance. Earlier, she also allowed state tourism secretary Ajit Ranjan Bardhan to take up tourism project plans worth Rs 90 crore with his Union counterpart Vinod Zutshi. On the contrary, state officials kept mum during a video conference with railway minister Suresh Prabhu earlier this month on railway security.  “This has nothing to do with polls. Our CM doesn’t budge on issues where she feels the Centre is intruding upon the state’s jurisdiction,” a Nabanna official said.

The reason behind sending Kumar is to oppose the “one nation, one test” proposal because the state feels such a policy doesn’t go well with the Constitution’s “unity in diversity” model. “We will strongly oppose the proposal since we believe it will be detrimental to the future of our students and expansion policy. There needs to be many more rounds of discussions and the Centre can’t arbitrarily impose their decision on us. We have entrusted Vivek Kumar to put forward our concern and demands,” said higher education minister Partha Chatterjee.  Bengal wants to retain West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination -entry exam for the engineering and technology colleges in the state -against the MHRD proposal. The Centre has plans to conduct a similar test for admission to courses in architecture and hotel management as well. The state higher education secretary may flag the dissent with reference to the disparity in science curriculum between the states, the reservation for students from Bengal and also the language problem often faced by state candidates in case the national level test is held in any language other than Bengali. “Education is in the Concurrent List. The Centre can’t impose its views on states. Instead, the MHRD should consult educationists and take their views into account before arriving at a conclusion,” the minister said. The state is also reportedly reluctant to accept the proposal of single engineering admission test because it is only recently that the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination Board was revamped and full term appointments to the post of chairman was made. A legislation was also brought in the assembly to give an entity to the WBJEEB.  However, back home, the government wants state universities to follow a common syllabus in undergraduate and postgraduate programme when the academia wants universities to have the elbow room to decide on the syllabus.-  Courtesy

Hyperloop high-speed transport system proposed for 5 Indian routes

The Indian Express | By: Tech Desk |  January 17, 2017  |

LUX Hyperloop Network – Bengaluru-to-Thiruvananthapuram: 736 km in 41 minutes. Connects two major ports in southern India with population centres of Coimbatore and Kochi.

Hyperloop One transport system has been proposed for 5 routes in India among 30 others across the world, showcase on February 28 in Delhi. Hyperloop Oone, the futuristic tube-based high-speed transportation system, has announced 35 teams from all over the world to actualise the potential of the system in different regions – with one of them being India. If the system finds its way to India, we could potentially see distances like Delhi-Mumbai (~1200 kilometers) being covered in less than one hour.  The ‘Hyperloop One Global Challenge’, announced by the company in May 2016, was able to attract 2,600 teams of engineers and planners from across the globe, according to a report from Inverse. The 35 finalist teams were announced on Friday, and will be present at three showcases that will be held by the company in New Delhi on February 28, Washington DC on April 6 and London on April 27.

The company will be inviting government leaders to these showcases, to display the potential of the high-speed system in their individual regions. Nick Earle, who oversees global field operations of Hyperloop One has said the feedback from governments will be determining if Hyperloop One is considered for the region. Among the proposed routes and their feasibility, Hyperloop is potentially looking at five Indian sectors where the system can be built: Delhi-Mumbai, Bangalore-Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai-Bangalore, Mumbai-Chennai and a port connector project. The company has shared a big list of potential routes across the globe. Earle has said that there could be multiple winners going forward, and the company is keeping all options open.

List of all proposed Hyperloop projects under consideration

List of all proposed Hyperloop projects under consideration

Regions that win will then be checked for feasibility before the company moves forward with any projects. “We want to have three routes in production in the next five years,” said Lloyd to Inverse. This means that Hyperloop will be choosing only three systems to build out of the 35 it has projected. The way forward for the vaccum-tube transportation in India could potentially see large hurdles, as with most major infrastructure projects. Land acquisition for building the Hyperloop system and the funding itself will be one of the largest challenges in India. Even though it might sound like a cool concept, the reality of this coming to India might be a little slim at the moment.  Hyperloop is the brainchild of entrepreneur Elon Musk, and was announced by him back in 2013. The system proposes to propel pod-like vehicles through a near-vacuum tube at speeds close to 1200 km/h. It is projected as the fastest way to travel between two places.  “Hyperloop is a new way to move people and things at airline speeds for the price of a bus ticket. It’s on-demand, energy-efficient and safe. Think: broadband for transportation,” the company says on its website. –  Courtesy   /    http://hyperloopindia.in/

Opinion Poll

Skills Delivery Platform Kerala gets green signal

SKILLS DELIVERY PLATFORM KERALA- Linking Engg Colleges with IT Parks through a Telepresence Network : Mathrubhumi English | 28 February 2017 |

Kozhikode: The state government has accorded comprehensive administrative sanction for Skills Delivery Platform Kerala, a project to link Engineering Colleges with IT Parks via Tele presence network. The Kerala Technological University has been asked to furnish the complete list of educational institutions that are to be included in the implementation of this project. The project aims to create a platform to deliver skills training to around 50,000 students every year. As part of the project, a learning platform will be launched connecting 150 Hi-Tech classrooms in the Engineering Colleges in the state. Besides, a skill database will be prepared that will have the students’ profile and that would be accessible for industry for their fresh graduate recruitment programme, thereby increasing the job placement for students from Kerala.  Earlier, the project proposal was not approved for KIIFB funding since the aggregate amount was lower than the prescribed limit of Rs.100 crores for KIIFB funding. Following this, the Managing Director, KSITIL requested Government to issue revised administrative sanction to proceed with the project. Now, the Govt has accorded comprehensive administrative sanction for the project for four financial years from 2016-17 to 2019-20 at a total amount of Rs 91.16 crore.

ICT Academy of Kerala shall be the consultant for the content development and if required shall source it from third party experts. The affiliating institute should create the physical infrastructure catering to 66-70 seat Hi-Tech classroom, uninterrupted power supply to the classroom and necessary connecting infrastructure for the network. Government assistance for the purchase of computing devices for participants under this project shall be limited only to the students who have obtained the admission on merit basis and students who have been admitted under self-financed/management/NRI Quota will not be eligible for such assistance.  Kerala State Information Technology Infrastructure Limited (KSITIL) was designated as the special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the implementation of the project.  –  Courtesy    /    SKILLS DELIVERY PLATFORM KERALA- Linking Engg Colleges with IT Parks through a Telepresence Network- Click here for KTU Notification

Engineering students get a slice of art at Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2016

The Times of India | Vikram Vinod | TNN | Dec 14, 2016 |

Students work on a Biennale art project

Students work on a Biennale art project

KOCHI: Norvin T Franklin, a third-year computer science engineering student at Government Polytechnic College in Kothamangalam was surprised to know that his engineering skills were needed at Kochi Biennale 2016. Franklin and five of his batchmates, members of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Centre (IEDC) who came to Kochi on December 7, have been aiding artists to help realize the tech aspect of their projects. “We were informed by Kerala Startup Mission members that we have an opportunity to work at biennale, which is shocking because we have worked on numerous projects before this, but Biennale is an art festival. I was very curious as to what I would work on,” said Franklin, who is working on implementing soundboards for a biennale project. Latvian artist Voldemars Johansons, who has been working with the students said, “They are hardworking and cooperative. And it has to be that way because we are all working on a tight schedule.”  IEDC nodal officer Aiju Thomas, who has been mentoring the students said: “We have been doing several projects, even repairs at school. The whole point is to make them ready for employment.And working on art projects is a bit out of the blue. They will learn the diverse ways in which you apply technology .” At present, students are working alongside members of Kerala Startup Mission, who are technology partners of Biennale.

 Vishnu Eashwaran, a fab lab member at Kerala Startup Mission, termed it a new kind of experience. “We had to deal with several other aspects other than technology . Most of these artists are foreigners, so we helped them deal with authorities in getting permission,” he said.  Members of Kerala Startup Mission said that this project will enhance their outlook on technology as well. “As engineers and technologist, we have a different view on things; we look at how to get things done and what can be done. But, artists have a different point of view. We can really learn from them through interactions,” said technical officer at Kerala Startup Mission Daniel Jeevan, who has been working with students from Srishti Institute of Art, Design & Technology , Bengaluru. Kochi Biennale Foundation secretary Riyas Komu believes that artists are benefiting from such interactions. “Biennale is supposed to be placed where creative people can meet and interact.And in technology , creativity is essential to innovate. This platform allows people to meet and peruse other projects in the future,” he said. –  Courtesy     /      https://www.kochimuzirisbiennale.org/

IIT-Kanpur signs MoU with New York University Tandon School of Engineering-Centre for Cyber Security on cyber security

The Times of India | TNN | Updated: Dec 7, 2016 |

KANPUR: IIT-Kanpur, Centre for Cyber Security for Critical Infrastructure (IIT-K-CSC) and New York University Tandon School of Engineering-Centre for Cyber Security (NYU-CCS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build their cyber security capabilities and to increase cooperation in research and innovation. The MoU has been signed for a period of seven years and may be extended after review. The MoU states that both the centres will strive to become the most important centres for research, education, public awareness and national service, and for securing and defending their national critical infrastructures from cyber attacks and electronic warfare.  The information cell of IIT-Kanpur sais that as per the agreement, the two centres will facilitate bilateral academic scientific relationships and develop cooperative research and teaching projects in selected fields such as mechanisms for improved cyber-attack prevention, detection and mitigation, security of cyber-physical systems in sectors such as telecom and transportation and international cyber security and power.

The information cell also informed that bothe the centres have also committed to host visits of minimum of six graduate and/or PhD students and two faculty members per year for research projects. The two centres have also agreed to organise joint research and teaching workshops and bringing together junior scholars and esteemed faculty from both the institutes. Manindra Agrawal and Sandeep K Shukla, joint coordinators, Centre for Cyber Security of Critical Infrastructure, IIT Kanpur said that New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering has a strong research programme in cyber security with multiple research centres spread across their campuses in New York and Abu Dhabi. They also offer a masters programme in cyber security and specialisation in Cyberops.  “In India we need such research programmes and curriculum in order to innovate research deliverables in cyber security space to protect Indian infrastructure and to develop manpower with expertise in cyber security product development and cyber operations”, they said. –  Courtesy

Build a disabled-friendly campus, AICTE panel tells colleges / universities

AICTE issues design manual identifying problems and suggesting changes

The All India Council for technical education (AICTE) has instructed engineering and other colleges affiliated to it to make their campuses a “barrier-free environment” for the disabled.  It has even issued a design manual, which identifies current problems in campuses and stipulates design changes, and has asked the institutes to use technology to evaluate and retrofit technological solutions to meet the objective.  The target group that the recommended measures will help comprises six major categories: wheelchair users, people with limited walking abilities, the sightless and the partially sighted, the hearing impaired, people with difficulties in learning and those persons who are temporarily disabled due to accidents or an illness.  The manual has been prepared by Swayam Foundation and CBR Network.  “The document does not cover all the requirements of disabled people in detail.  Most of the recommended measures have been tested in developed and developing countries, and while some have proven to be effective, the outcome of others is still unknown as local conditions, resources and needs must be taken into account while developing accessible environment,” said an official from AICTE. The officials also said that existing facilities that are in use but are not currently accessible, must be evaluated for accessibility.

To provide wheelchair-accessible classrooms with appropriate height of desk along with utilisation area for people with mobility problems, AICTE, through the manual, has stated that a minimum of two to five per cent of the seating in classrooms should be made accessible to accommodate students with limited mobility or persons using wheelchairs. Tables must be between 0.7 metre and 0.8 metre high, with at least 0.6 metres of knee clearance to accommodate students in wheelchairs, and door width should be minimum 0.90 metres for convenient entry for persons using wheelchair, it says. To tackle the problem of poorly designed steps that hinder foot movement and steep staircases without handrails, it stipulates all steps in one flight should be uniform, and steps should be 15 to 18 cm high and not less than 28 cm deep. At least every 15 steps, landings should be provided to assist people who cannot manage long staircases.

It calls for tactile marking/warning surface, where institutes need to make provision of tactile marking strips at top and beginning of stairs to orient people with visual disability. In case of wider stairs of width more than three metres, intermediate handrails will have to be provided. Again for inaccessible building entrances due to difference between indoor and outdoor levels or lack of or improper design of ramps, the manual stipulates that landings must be provided for resting, manoeuvering and avoiding excessive speeds. It says landing must be provided at least every 10 metres and at every change in direction and at the top and bottom of ramps.  The preferred slope of ramps in educational institutes is five per cent.  Stating that inadequate width and obstructed corridor area makes horizontal accessibility inconvenient, experts have suggested that the preferable width of corridors should be between 1.50 to 1.80 metres to allow easy passage of two wheelchairs without any obstruction.  In extended length corridors of 50 metre or more, consideration should be given to the provision of a bench or other seating arrangement, located at intermediate points along the corridor for elderly staff and others with visual impairment and limited mobility, said experts. –  Courtesy     /   Click here to download the Manual : Design Manual for a Barrier Free Environment in Universities/Colleges