Hindustan Times | Neelam Pandey | New Delhi | Mar 05, 2018 |
The committee has suggested a number of measures including a focus on projects, training and “situational questions”, an official said.
An All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) committee has suggested changes to the way students are tested in engineering colleges across the country along the lines of the system used in premier institutes like IITs and NITs, officials familiar with the matter said on Sunday. In premier institutes, students are rarely grilled on theory, but on concepts and application with an emphasis on analysis and ‘quants’ or quantitative problems. AICTE had setup the committee on exam reforms comprising of experts from various fields in earlier this year which submitted the draft report in March. Over 3,500 institutes are approved by the AICTE. The AICTE, the apex body and regulator of technical education in the country, has called a meeting on Monday of vice-chancellors of technical universities, deans, directorate of technical education officials, and teachers, to discuss the report, according to an AICTE official, who did not want to be named. The committee has suggested a number of measures including a focus on projects, training and “situational questions”, the official added.
The Hindu Business Line | New Delhi, Feb 28 |
The average level of shortage of skilled talent in this sector has risen from 6 per cent in 2014 to 12 per cent in this year.
Shortage of skilled talent in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) sector persists in India despite the country producing maximum number of graduates globally, says a report. According to data from the leading job site Indeed, the average level of shortage of skilled talent in India has risen from 6 per cent in January, 2014 to 12 per cent in January this year in STEM sector. The leading sectors hiring STEM talent include information technology, banking and financial services. The top job roles these companies offer include software engineer, web developer, business analyst, software architect and SAP consultant.
Findings of the survey assume significance as India produced the maximum graduates worldwide with 78 million fresh graduates in 2016 alone, of which 2.6 million were from STEM. “This puts India in a position to outstrip the US in terms of STEM graduates produced annually, given that it leads by a margin of over 2.5 million,” the report said adding that despite ample talent, some job roles remain vacant due to lack of requisite skills. According to industry experts and academicians, one of the chief contributors to the talent mismatch is the disparity between college curricula and industry expectations. “Today, India produces a significant share of the world’s graduates, and this share will only continue to grow in size as we work towards building and strengthening our knowledge economy,” Indeed India MD Sashi Kumar said. Kumar further noted that the shift towards higher education will not only give a boost to STEM sector, but also help expand India’s contribution to the global talent pool. Indeed’s data also indicates that job seekers in the age group of 21–25 show 12 per cent more interest in STEM jobs than in any other sector. – Courtesy
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
The Economic Times | By Prachi Verma , ET Bureau| Feb 27, 2018 |
With the admission process a few months away at the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), this year focus is on creating 14% seats for women. The government has recently sent out a directive to the IITs urging them to increase womens numbers in admission by creating supernumerary seats (if required) from this year. Experts appreciate the move but said that intervention at the school level is the need of the hour. Only 8% of women got admitted last year to the IITs. There needs to be a shift in how families and female students think about professional choices for women. A large percentage of women decide not to join IITs despite having qualified the exam their decision to opt out is a huge loss to the institutions and to the society at large, said Ruchira Shukla, regional lead, South Asia, venture capital-International Finance Corporation.
This is often driven by the misconception that engineering is not an ideal profession for women, said Shukla, who graduated from IIT Delhi in 1994. Despite outdoing the boys at the boards in the 12th standard, women either do not get through or do not opt for the IITs. The ministry of human resources development (MHRD) sent out a directive to all 23 IITs to have a better representation of women at India s premium engineering colleges. This directive states that each of the IITs should bring up the percentage of women by 14% in 2018 (by creating supernumerary seats, if required) Shukla advocates for successful women who graduated from IITs to serve as role models to inspire young women. This will help groom a strong set of women leaders bringing a multitude of benefits to India and the world economy, she said. SKEWED GENDER DIVERSITY Last year, when IITs admitted nearly 11,000 students, the percentage of women at some of the institutes fell even below 10%. IIT-Kanpur had only 54 women among the 826 it admitted in 2017, a percentage of 6.5% while IIT-Guwahati had only 6.3% women among 643 students. IIT Delhi and Bombay admitted over 10% women students last year. Among all the IITs, IIT Mandi fared better in terms of women admissions last year with over 14% women joining the institute.
Every year, many highly talented women just miss a seat at the IITs. The main reason is societal biases that place geographical constraints on women and deny them equal access to preparation for the highly competitive JEE (Advanced) entrance exam, said Timothy A Gonsalves, director, IIT Mandi. IITs are also targeting schools to inspire young girls to take up STEM courses in higher studies. Going forward, a strong effort is needed to expose school girls to engineering as a career, Gonsalves explained. The imperatives of an equitable gender ratio at classrooms include diverse viewpoints resulting in better learning for all students and ensuring engineering team members of both genders that would cater to the needs of the whole society. The governments aim is to improve the gender ratio at the engineering colleges to at least 20%, or one woman in every five students, by 2020. It will create more supernumerary seats by then if that is needed to achieve the target. Shruti Joshi, currently in the third year of B-tech at IIT-Kanpur, supports the decision of creating supernumerary seats for women. Creating of supernumerary seats for girls will undoubtedly create an atmosphere of inclusion in every campus, said Joshi. She suggests that the coaching classes should take a cue and offer special scholarships to girls. – Courtesy
The Hindu | VIJAYAWADA | February 27, 2018 |
Teaching staff fear large-scale job losses; managements unfazed
The All India Council for Technical Education’s directive to technical institutions to reduce faculty-student ratio has triggered unrest among the academic faculty who fear losing their jobs. Technical education institutions were required to maintain one faculty for every 15 students in the past. Now the AICTE wants it to be one faculty for every 20 students.
Plea to Modi
The pan-India phenomenon has resulted in members of the All-India Private College Employees Union petitioning Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to ensure continuation of the old system. In Andhra Pradesh, members of the teaching faculty are coming together to form Private Engineering Colleges’ Lecturers’ Association to oppose the decision. “Interests of the teaching faculty will be hit if this is implemented. Apart from this, another norm allows colleges to replace an additional 10 % of the teaching staff with visiting faculty from the industry. This will further hit our interests,” says Sai Krishna Kota from Gudlavalleru College of Engineering. Citing cases of a few colleges that have short-listed teachers to be shown the door, he says the association will press the government not to be hasty and try and relocate the ‘excess’ faculty in other departments. Some of the lecturers have estimated that the council move will deprive nearly 20,000 college teachers of their jobs in A.P. and Telangana. The ‘affected’ section in Telangana has already formed an association which plans to move court, said sources. The managements, meanwhile, have welcomed the move saying this would call the bluff of the colleges that had been presenting inflated number of teaching faculty. “The AICTE directive will not change anything as most colleges already have 1:20 teaching staff,” says Gadde Rajaling, Chairman of the Lingaya’s Institute of Management and Technology.
Moreover, with the 6th pay commission coming up, it would be impossible to pay higher salaries to excess faculty, he said. Pointing to the fact that the teachers will have to take not more than 15 hours of teaching per week, he said it would in fact bring in transparency. Ratna Raju, Principal of V.R. Siddhartha Engineering College, said the institution being an autonomous one, it offered many elective courses apart from the regular ones. “There is no need to downsize the teaching staff since we have always maintained this ratio and ensured high standards,” he said. Teachers in engineering colleges apprehend that the downsizing will start immediately after the exams. – Courtesy
PM research fellowship can’t stop brain drain from top engineering, tech institutes, say faculty, students at IITs
The New Indian Express | Sumi Sukanya dutta | 24th February | Opinion |
NEW DELHI: Government’s flagship PM Research fellowship scheme for PhDs at IITs and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore is being touted as a measure to check brain drain of “brightest minds” but the programme is being met with scepticism by students and faculties at premier institutes. On Friday, the Union human resource ministry invited application from the engineering graduates from IITs, IISc, National Institutes of Technology, Indian Institute of Information Technology and Indian Institutes of Science Research and Education for the programme—first announced in the budget this year. The scheme promises up to Rs 80,000 stipend to about 1000 students apart from Rs 2 lakh annual research grant and urges them to come up with research idea in subjects such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology- among several others- with clear deliverables and outcomes.
It also makes it clear that only those students who have the Cumulative Grade Point Average upward of 8 will be considered. “Every year about 20 per cent brightest minds from premium engineering and technology institutes leave country either for jobs or higher studies—this scheme should put a brake on that practice,” a senior hrd official said. Several faculty members across IITs, however conceded that unlike the undergraduate programmes at IITs, PhDs are considered less “prestigious”. “In fact, the reality is that only 200-300 students from IITs prefer to do PhDs at IITs while most prefer to go abroad for better exposure and academic experience,” said an IIT director, not wishing to be named. “Also for many students who want to pursue higher studies instead of taking up high-paying jobs, money is not very high on the priority list nor is what is being offered by the government very lucrative.” Dheeraj Sanghi, professor of Computer Science at IIT Kanpur said that scheme might benefit students from other institutes more than the older IITs and IISc. “The students will be interested in staying back for the purpose of research here if there is a healthy research ecosystem in India but the government perhaps needs to find several other ways to ensure that,” he said. “Also what is the guarantee that after five years of research these students wont go to countries like US for post-doctoral experience or jobs?” Samarth Malik, a mechanical engineering student at IIT Kharagpur said that there is hardly any buzz around the scheme on the campus. “Many talented students are attracted towards PhDs in US universities because of the best academic experiences they promise—I doubt if PMRF can deter such students,” he quipped. – Courtesy
ND TV | Education | Maitree Baral | February 24, 2018 |
B.Tech graduates or those in the final year of B. Tech or Integrated M.Tech or integrated M.Sc. in Science and Technology streams from IISc/ IITs/ NITs/ IISERs/ IIITs are eligible for the fellowship. Additionally, applicants must have also secured 8 CGPA or more for being eligible for the fellowship.
NEW DELHI: Online registration for Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship (PMRF) has begun. The last date to apply is 31 March. B.Tech graduates or those in the final year of B. Tech or Integrated M.Tech or integrated M.Sc. in Science and Technology streams from IISc/ IITs/ NITs/ IISERs/ IIITs are eligible for the fellowship. Additionally, applicants must have also secured 8 CGPA or more for being eligible for the fellowship. The fellowship will lead to direct admission in IISc or 23 IITs for full time PhD programme. Application submission portal will be available at pmrf site. On 7 February 2018, Union Cabinet approved of the PMRF scheme under which 1000 best students with the eligibility criteria mentioned above will get direct PhD admission with fellowship ranging from Rs. 70000 to 80000. In addition to this, a research grant of Rs.2.00 lakh will be provided to each of the Fellows for a period of 5 years to cover their foreign travel expenses for presenting research papers in international conferences and seminars.
Candidates with B.Design admitted through JEE/UCEED and 4-year BS or B.Sc students of IISc, IITs, or IISERs admitted through JEE, KVPY and SCB are also eligible. Applicants must send abstract on topics related to science and technology with focus on national priorities. The word limit of the abstract is 1000 words and must be sent in a PDF format. There will be written test and interview for the selection. The syllabus of the written test will be same as that of GATE/ JAM/ CEED and it will be held at the respective IIT or IISc whichever is the nodal institute. Interviews at nodal institutions will begin in the mid of May (exact date will be notified on the official website) and final list will be out by 1 June 2018. Click here to Apply Online – https://pmrf.in/
ND TV | Shihabudeen Kunju S | February 23, 2018 |
University Grants Commission (UGC) in a recent notification clarified that the Degrees or Diplomas or Certificates awarded for programmes conducted by the ODL institutions, recognised by the commission, should be treated as corresponding degrees of regular institutions.
New Delhi: University Grants Commission (UGC) in a recent notification clarified that the Degrees or Diplomas or Certificates awarded for programmes conducted by the ODL institutions, recognised by the commission, should be treated as corresponding degrees of regular institutions. However, the commission has reiterated that, according to the UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations, 2017, which was notified on last June, the programmes in engineering, medicine, dental, pharmacy, nursing, architecture, physiotherapy and such other programmes which require hands-on training are not permitted to be offered under Open and Distance Learning mode. It said the degrees of Open and Distance Learning (ODL) institutions registered under the erstwhile Distance Education Council (DEC) or the commission, in conformity with UGC Notification on Specification of Degrees, should be treated as equivalent to the corresponding awards of the Degree or Diploma or Certificate of the traditional Universities/ Institutions in the country.
“The Government of India has envisaged a greater role for the Open and the Distance Education System. The envisioned role may be fulfilled by recognizing and treating the Degrees/Diplomas/Certificates awarded through distance mode at par with the corresponding awards of Degrees/Diplomas/Certificates obtained through the formal system of education,” said the notification. According to the notification, non-recognition or non-equivalence of degrees of ODL institutions for the purpose of promotion/employment and pursuing higher education may prove a deterrent to many aspiring students and will ultimately defeat the purpose of Open and Distance Education. UGC (Open and Distance Learning) Regulations lay down the minimum standards of instruction for the grant of degree at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels, through Open and Distance Learning mode. These regulations apply to a University referred to under clause (f) of section 2 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956, an Institution Deemed to be University under section 3 of the said Act, for all degree programmes of learning at the undergraduate and post-graduate level, other than programmes in engineering, medicine, dental, pharmacy, nursing, architecture, physiotherapy and programmes not permitted to be offered in distance mode by any other regulatory body. According to the regulation, “Open and Distance Learning” mode, means a mode of providing flexible learning opportunities by overcoming separation of teacher and learner using a variety of media, including print, electronic, online and occasional interactive face-to-face meetings with the presence of an Higher Educational Institution or Learner Support Services to deliver teaching-learning experiences, including practical or work experiences. Same as, “Open University” means a University which imparts education through distance education or Open and Distance Learning mode using variety of Information and Communication Technology educational aids i.e. online education in the form of Open Educational Resources (OERs) or Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) etc. On last November, the Supreme Court on no deemed-to-be-university can run open and distant learning courses from the next academic year (2018-19) unless it is permitted to do so by the concerned authorities. – Courtesy / UGC Notice : Published on 23-02-2018 : Recognizing and treating the Degrees/Diplomas/Certificates awarded through distance mode at par with the corresponding awards of Degrees/Diplomas/Certificates obtained through the formal system of education.
UGC Notice : Published on 22-02-2018 : Recognition of Distance Education Programmes for academic session 2018-19 and onwards, 2 Pages, pdf