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4,000 more engineering seats in Tamil Nadu? AICTE dismisses reports, says this

Financial Express | Mouli Bose | New Delhi |  May 21, 2018 |

AICTE has dismissed media reports claiming 4,000 engineering seats have been increased in Tamil Nadu by the All India Council for Technical Education this academic year.

AICTE has dismissed media reports claiming 4,000 engineering seats have been increased in Tamil Nadu by the All India Council for Technical Education this academic year. In a report, the Hindu cited data provided by the Council to claim that nearly 40 engineering colleges of Tamil Nadu have been given the approval to increase the number of seats by 4,145. However, when financial express.com contacted AICTE, R Hariharan, Assistant Director of Approval Bureau of AICTE said, “The news is not correct.” Another official from AICTE Chennai office also denied the report. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, “it is not possible to increase 4,000 engineering seats in Tamil Nadu itself. If we are talking about the entire nation, then that might still be a possibility.”

The council approves over 10,000 technical and management institutions with a total of 60 lakh students nationwide, every year. In 2017, a report stated that 51% of the over 15 lakh seats in over 3,900 engineering colleges in India had not been filled. Several private engineering colleges across the country have been demanding and AICTE has also been planning to reduce the total intake of B.Tech and M.Tech. students by almost 1.3 lakhs, because of the lack of interests of aspirants for these courses. As many as 83 engineering institutes across the country, having around 24,000 seats have applied for permanent closure, and over 494 other colleges have sought permission from AICTE to discontinue some undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, an ANI report said last month. – Courtesy

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765 Engineering College Teachers Sacked, 1 Lakh More To Be Axed

News Click | Tarique Anwar |  12 May 2018 |

So far, 765 teachers have already been removed from different engineering colleges across the country.

At least 1.5 lakh qualified and experienced teachers will be terminated or will be made to resign forcefully from most of the self-financing and private educational institutions of various states, estimates All India Private Colleges Employees Union (AIPCEU) – a forum of 10,000 engineering professors across states. With the end of the academic year, a number of engineering colleges in Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have started removing staff members. This is apparently a consequence of implementation of a new student-faculty ratio (SFR) – which is 1:20 – by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for the academic year 2018-19. The ratio was earlier 1:15 in private and self-financing engineering colleges for BE, B Tech, B Arch, MBA, MCA and hotel management. It was 1:20 for diploma in engineering courses. However, the SFR of 1:15 for engineering and technology and other programs such as MBA, MCA, HMCT and M.Pharma has been “irrationally decreased” to 1:20. For diploma, the earlier 1:20 ratio has been lowered to 1:25.

The table below lists number of teaching staff who have already been terminated from different technical institutions across the country:

“This is going to have a negative psychosis in the minds of the students, who had just gone for their vacation. When they return, they will have to adapt with the reduction in the staff members. Since some colleges remove more staff members than required and replace or plan to replace them with less experienced new staff, who could be paid low salary, students will have to face a lot of incompatibility issues and diminished morale,” said AIPCEU founder KM Karthik. Some colleges remove ad hoc staff members, whereas some will target senior staff members. “All these teachers (ad hoc or senior) are reportedly well-experienced to serve as teachers. All of them are master graduates in engineering, and it cannot be said that they are unskilled or poorly talented,” he said.

 

Fees remain unchanged

It is noteworthy here that the students, who have just passed first year of the course, will have to study for the next three years with the same fee structure, but with less staff strength. The fixing of a standard fee in colleges is done by a fee fixation committee under every state’s higher education department (or the Directorate of Technical Education). “Not even a single state government has modified this fee structure for students before reducing their staff strength as per the AICTE’s new SFR ratio. The change in this ratio (from 1:15 to 1:20) is likely to render 25 per cent staff being removed from the institutes,” alleged Karthik.

Accreditations/NIRF rankings void?

The accreditations by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA), National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) and National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) are now allegedly nullified due to the implementation of the new SFR policy. “Very few top-ranking, self-financing institutes still retain their old staff strength. For other institutions, reduction in staff strength with AICTE’s ruling is just like cutting a cake with a knife. So, all accreditations that had happened are not applicable for the new atmosphere,” added Karthik.

AICTE and Trusts in nexus?

The AICTE continuously highlights closure or reduction in number of of colleges and seats, which is “intentionally” reducing the positive perception towards education. “Unfortunately, the AICTE supports such a move despite being a regulatory body,” said Karthik, adding, “When there are plenty of available areas of improvement, AICTE projects only the closure of seats for the last complete month, hinting towards being in the hands of college-owning barons, who could twist the facts to aid their education-business”. It is learnt that the AICTE decided to reduce the faculty to help the institutions recover from financial burdens. It raises a big question as to whether the AICTE has monitored or cross-verified the institutions’ bank statements along with the faculties’ salary statements. The answer is negative. “It is clear that even after demonetisation and digital economy initiatives, the AICTE is not bothered about digitising the students’ fees and staff salaries in the institutions. Issues are of meager importance that are being promoted by the AICTE and important issues are being summarily disregarded,” said Karthik.

In implementing new faculty student ratios, the AICTE – according to the petitioner – has broken the transparency that it followed all these years. The matter was allegedly not released in public domain prior to the decision. The decision was imposed over the society in an autocratic manner. “The AICTE had acted on the advice of associations of the managing trusts of colleges. Every trust is not a non-profitable service organisation, and largely are money-churning, family-owned organisations. Some AICTE officials have acted in nexus with these trusts, making a secret society, and the new faculty-student ratios are only a result of the meetings in these secret societies,” he alleged. During the academic year 2015-16, the total number of staff in all the approved institutions of AICTE was about 7,00,000 (as per the records of AICTE). It is further stated that for engineering & technology colleges alone, the number is a staggering 5,78,000. Even if the number is taken as an approximate of 5,00,000, said the petitioner, the same accounts for 5,00,000 families with direct benefits from the employment in these private engineering colleges. – Courtesy

Devalued Degree: Engineering seats down by 1.67 lakh, sharpest dip in five years

The Indian Express | Ritika Chopra | New Delhi |  May 10, 2018 |  Devalued Degree – An Express Investigation |

The total number of B.Tech and M.Tech seats this year, across all AICTE-approved institutes, has dropped by 1.67 lakh, which is almost double the dip witnessed in 2017-18.

At 14.9 lakh seats, the total engineering intake in the country has witnessed the sharpest fall in five years, according to data released by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) this week. The total number of B.Tech and M.Tech seats this year, across all AICTE-approved institutes, has dropped by 1.67 lakh, which is almost double the dip witnessed in 2017-18. The undergraduate and postgraduate engineering intake was 16.62 lakh seats last year, and 17.5 lakh seats in 2016-17 (see box).  Out of the engineering seat cut, 92,553 seats are on account of 755 colleges approaching AICTE seeking a reduction in approved intake or complete closure of some engineering branches. Another 24,290 seats have been reduced as the Council has agreed to wind up 83 engineering colleges. That apart, the regulator has also imposed penalties on colleges, whether by forbidding fresh admissions this year or withdrawing their approval. About 53 institutes have been penalised and 17,907 seats have been cut as a result, said sources. According to Council sources, the significant drop in engineering seats is a result of poor admissions in colleges for the last few years. Although the intake has been on a downward slide since 2014-15, it has witnessed its sharpest fall this year. “A consolidation of sorts is expected for this sector. The market forces have now come into play and the mediocre institutes are being forced out,” said an AICTE official, who did not want to be identified.

Last December, The Indian Express had published the findings of its three-month-long investigation, which found there were no takers for 51 per cent of 15.5 lakh BE/BTech seats in 3,291 engineering colleges in 2016-17. The investigation found glaring gaps in regulation, including alleged corruption; a vicious circle of poor infrastructure, labs and faculty; non-existent linkages with industry; and the absence of a technical ecosystem to nurture the classroom. All this, it found, accounted for low employability of graduates. A few weeks later, the AICTE announced its decision to reduce the intake in courses with poor admissions by half from the new academic year and the move was aimed at addressing the above mismatch. – Courtesy

No students, engineering colleges tell regulator: Drop 1.36 lakh seats

The Indian Express | Ritika Chopra | New Delhi |  April 21, 2018 |

The AICTE had decided last year to facilitate closure of technical institutions even if applicants are not able to procure No Objection Certificates from the state governments.

Left with a large number of vacant seats, engineering colleges have approached the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to reduce intake by almost 1.3 lakh B.Tech and M.Tech seats from the new academic year starting July. According to the AICTE’s provisional data, 83 engineering institutes that collectively offer 24,000 seats have applied for closure. Another 494 colleges have sought permission to discontinue some undergraduate and postgraduate engineering programmes, which would reduce the national intake by another 42,000 seats. That apart, 639 institutes have requested the regulator to reduce their intake by 62,000 seats collectively. These applications represent a proposed cut of almost 1.3 lakh B.E/B.Tech and M.E/M.Tech seats. The AICTE hasn’t taken a final decision yet but sources told The Indian Express that it is likely to accept all requests for winding up of colleges. It had decided last year to facilitate closure of technical institutions even if applicants are not able to procure No Objection Certificates from the state governments. The AICTE is also expected to approve about 80 per cent of requests for partial or complete closure of selected engineering programmes. The final figures will be available in the first week of May.

In addition to the above, the technical education regulator is also expected to impose penalty on colleges with poor admissions over the last five years. Technical courses, including engineering, where student admission has been less than 30 per cent in the last five years consistently will have their seats reduced by half from the new academic year. Programmes where admissions have been zero during this period will be closed immediately, the AICTE had announced in its approval handbook late last year. Engineering makes up 70 per cent of the technical education seats in India. Management (MBA), pharmacy, computer applications (MCA), architecture, town planning, hotel management and ‘applied arts and crafts’ form the rest. Last December, The Indian Express had published the findings of its three-month-long investigation, which found there were no takers for 51 per cent of 15.5 lakh BE/BTech seats in 3,291 engineering colleges in 2016-17. The investigation found glaring gaps in regulation, including alleged corruption; a vicious circle of poor infrastructure, labs and faculty; non-existent linkages with industry; and the absence of a technical ecosystem to nurture the classroom. All this, it found, accounted for low employability of graduates. The AICTE’s decision to reduce the intake in courses with poor admissions by half from the new academic year is aimed at addressing the above mismatch. According to sources, the final figures for the reduction in engineering seats (M.Tech and B.Tech) will be offset by applications for setting up of new colleges and capacity expansion of existing institutes. This year, AICTE has received 64 applications for establishment of new institutes — a proposed addition of 15,000 seats — and 247 existing colleges have applied for expansion, which would add up to 25,000 seats approximately. – Courtesy

Number of engineering seats to go down by 80,000 this year

Times of India | Manash Pratim Gohain | TNN |  Apr 8, 2018 |

Highlights

  • According to AICTE, nearly 200 ‘substandard’ engineering colleges have applied for closure
  • Most of these colleges had less than 20% enrolment in the last few years
  • Intake capacity decline started since 2014-15, enrolment has been on the decline since 2012-13

NEW DELHI: There will be around 80,000 less seats in engineering this year. This will lead to around 3.1 lakh seats less in four years, including 2018-19 academic session.  Don’t get alarmed. Because actual enrolment has been on the decline since 2012-13, coming down by 1.86 lakh. According to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), nearly 200 ‘substandard’ engineering colleges have applied for closure. Though these colleges will not enrol new students, they will continue to function till the current batches graduate. However, for elite institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) or the National Institutes of Technology (NIT), there has been increase in intake.  Now, AICTE has also decided that by 2022, at least 50 per cent of all the programmes in technical institutions have to get their accreditation from the National Board of Accreditation (NBA). At present, around 10 per cent of the programmes are accredited in India.

Since 2016, the number of engineering seats has been on the decline every year. According to AICTE, it is around 75,000 annually. In 2016-17, total intake capacity at undergraduate level was 15,71,220, of which total enrolment was 7,87,127, which is just around 50.1 per cent. In 2015-16, total intake was 16,47,155, of which enrolment was 8,60,357, which was 52.2 per cent.  “This year too there will be round 80,000 seats less. Around 200 colleges have applied for closure as they were having very low admissions in the recent past,” said Anil Sahasrabudhe, chairperson, AICTE.  The closure of the engineering colleges will, however, not impact the current batches as the colleges would continue to function till the already-enrolled students complete their courses. “The colleges will continue to function till the current batches graduate. However, these colleges will not enrol new students from this year. So, effectively, these colleges will seize to function as engineering institutions from about three-four years from now,” said Sahasrabudhe.

While the intake capacity decline started since 2014-15, enrolment has been on the decline since 2012-13, reaching 7.87 lakh in 2016-17 from that of 9.73 lakh in 2012-13. Based on 2016-17 AICTE data, in India there are 3,415 institutions which offer architecture and engineering courses at undergraduate level. During this period, around 50 institutions had closed down. The decline in seats won’t affect the demand-supply equation for engineering and architecture programmes, as per AICTE and ministry of human resource development (HRD). According to a senior HRD official, majority of the institutions which are going to face closure or have applied for closure have less than 20 per cent enrolment in last three years. “Many of those, in fact, recorded nil admissions. So, even the aspirants don’t prefer these institutions as they are substandard. On the other hand, IITs and NITs have increased their seats and there will be more opportunities here as the new IITs shift to their own campuses. Right now, they are functioning with 300-400 capacity,” the official said. Many institutions that will continue to function may need to cut down on the number of courses they offer as majority of the programmes offered are yet to be accredited.  “Just around 15 per cent of engineering programmes offered in the country are accredited by the NBA. AICTE, as part of its various quality initiatives, has decided that by 2022, majority of the courses will have to be accredited by NBA,” said Sahasrabudhe. – Courtesy

Major blow to Deemed Universities: SC stays engineering admission without AICTE approval

Tech stay on deemed varsities  | The Telegraph | Basant Kumar Mohanty | Mar 26, 2018 |

Deemed Universities will now have to seek approval for continuing or commencing engineering courses.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has imposed an interim stay on engineering admissions at deemed universities that lack the regulator’s approval for these courses, hanging a cloud over 30 such institutions months before the new academic session starts. The technical education regulator, All India Council of Technical Education, had approached the apex court asking that the petitions moved by deemed universities in various high courts challenging its approval rules be transferred to Delhi High Court. These rules require all deemed universities to seek the council’s approval for their engineering courses. The apex court on Friday issued notices to these institutions on the matter of transferring their high court petitions. “In the meanwhile, there will be stay of admission without approval of the AICTE,” the bench of Justices A.K. Goel, R.F. Nariman and U.U. Lalit said on Friday. The next hearing is on May 11.

Last November, the apex court had ruled that deemed universities that had obtained the tag by virtue of their excellence in a particular field would need the regulator’s approval to offer courses in new areas. The council then introduced a provision in its Approval Process Handbook 2018-19, saying “institutions deemed to be universities and private universities seeking approval for the first time from AICTE shall submit an application as a new technical institution for all their existing technical courses”. Some of the affected institutions then approached high courts pleading that engineering was the core expertise that had earned them the “deemed university” status, so they should not need to seek the regulator’s approval. They received interim protection and did not apply to the council for approval. Lawyer Ravi Bhardwaj said Friday’s interim stay would apply to all the deemed universities that had failed to apply for approval before the last date, February 5.

Council chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe said nearly 50 deemed universities had applied for approval. Of the 123 deemed universities, about 80 offer technology courses. Among the institutions that have challenged the regulator’s norms are the SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Vellore Institute of Technology and the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology. Friday’s ruling has hung a cloud also over the MTech course offered by the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, a deemed university that two council sources said had probably not applied for approval. Sahasrabudhe, however, said the UGC, the higher education regulator, had last month allowed institutions with accreditation scores above 3.25 to offer new courses without approval. The IISc qualifies by this criterion, and where the commission grants an exemption, the council is expected to follow suit. – Courtesy

1.78 lakh Teachers in Professional Colleges to Lose Jobs

News Click | Tarique Anwar | 03 Mar 2018 |

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AICTE directive sets alarm bells ringing

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

Teaching staff fear large-scale job losses; managements unfazed

 

Representational Image

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

Plea to Modi

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

Salary burden

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

AICTE rules out moratorium on new engineering courses

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

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

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

With WiFi campuses, cell phones will return to engineering colleges

The New Indian Express | Rashmi Belur  |  Express News Service  |  03rd February 2018 |  VTU : With WiFi campuses, cell phones will return to engineering colleges


BENGALURU: Students of engineering colleges under the Visvesvaraya Technological University will now be able to flaunt their cellphones in the open after more than a decade of keeping the phones hidden. A 2005 directive which instituted a blanket ban on the use of mobile phones in campuses is set to be withdrawn after instructions by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) which ask all engineering colleges to have a WiFi enabled campus. The ban was enforced amid rising complaints of exam malpractice with the use of mobile phones and had been made applicable for both students as well as faculty. While inside the college campus during working hours, mobile phones had to be kept switched off. Now, VTU will revisit this rule, confirmed Vice Chancellor Dr Karisiddappa. “As AICTE asked college campuses to be WiFi enabled, it is the time to revisit our own circular issued long ago where usage of mobile phones was banned.” The move will bring relief to thousands of students who faced the risk of having their cellphones confiscated if found switched on.

However, according to officials from the university, the decision to withdraw the order has to be placed before the Executive Council. “As the decision to impose blanket ban on mobile phones at college campuses was passed by the Executive Council, now even to withdraw the same, it has to be decided through the Council,” explained a senior official of the university. In an official circular issued by AICTE, on January 15, 2018, based on instructions given by the Ministry for Human Resource Development, all Higher Education institutions, universities should be WiFi enabled campuses by August 15, 2018. Meanwhile, this move by both AICTE and VTU has been appreciated by the principals of affiliated colleges and also by students. Dr K Mallikarjun Babu, principal BMS college of engineering Bengaluru, said, “Mobile is a powerful tool and why should we think that it spreads only wrong messages? We are waiting for the university to relax the ban and simultaneously are thinking of placing it before the Academic Council and relax the ban as ours is an autonomous institute.” Rahul M Bogase, a third-semester student, said, “It is not that we need wifi to use mobiles, many of us carry laptops and we need wifi at campuses to use them. And we are responsible students and we know how to use technology right.” – Courtesy

Click here View / Download the AICTE Circular, 4 pages, pdf – Provision of WiFi Services in the Campus