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Self-financed technical institutes unite to fight ‘AICTE bias’

Deccan Herald | New Delhi, Feb 13, 2017, DHNS |

Self-financed technical institutes have launched a front to fight against what they describe as “the AICTE bias” against them, saying the technical education regulator has framed all the rules for them and let off the deemed and private universities which also offer technical courses.

Demanding for a uniform set of regulations for all higher educational institutions offering engineering and other technical programmes in the country, the unaided private colleges on Sunday announced formation of an All India Federation of Technical Institutes (AIFTI) to carry forward their fight. “While there are government committees in states to fix the maximum tuition fee that we can charge from students, there is no such rule for the deemed universities and private universities offering technical programmes,” said Pradeep Kumar, vice president of the newly-formed AIFTI, at a press conference. The regulations of the All India Council for Technical Institutes (AICTE) require self-financed institutes to have a minimum area of 60,000 square feet to offer just one course, while the deemed universities and private universities can offer any number of courses in just 20,000 square feet area,” V K Verma, chairman of Shri Ram College of Technology, Bhopal, said.

Money power
“If you have money, you can get a degree in a technical programme without attending any classes and taking examination. There are many deemed universities and private universities in the country ready to offer you such a deal if you pay for it. There is no one to monitor their functioning,” the AIFTI vice president said. More than 8,000 self-financed institutes have been offering technical programmes approved by the AICTE in various disciplines.  Of them, over 4,000 institutes offer undergraduate degree programmes in technical education. A total of 554 self -financed technical colleges are operating in Karnataka while 1,201 such institutes are operating in of Tamil Nadu. Deemed and private universities offering technical programmes get their approval from the University Grants Commission.

“While deemed universities offering technical courses have to submit some details to the AICTE, the private universities offering technical courses are completely out of the ambit of the university,” AIFTI president R S Munirathinam, who is also the founder-chairperson of the RMK Group of Institutions in Chennai, said. About 127 deemed universities are operating in the country, besides a total of 176 private universities under the states. While 37 of the total deemed universities are fully run and managed by the government, 11 are government-aided and 79 are fully private deemed universities. “There is no regulation to fix their intake while the AICTE regulations require us to admit a maximum 180 students per course. We do not want such discrimination. We want one rule for all,” Munirathinam added. –  Courtesy

Not just tech: English labs to give campus cutting edge

The Times of India | TNN |  Jan 20, 2017 |

HYDERABAD: Hoping to fix the weak English skills of students pursuing technical and professional courses, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has now made it mandatory for colleges to set up standalone language laboratories within their their premises.  In its approval process handbook released for the 2017-18 academic year, AICTE has listed multiple requirements under ‘essential’ and ‘desirable’. The standalone language laboratory — where colleges are expected to conduct language tutorials for students — figures in the essential list.  Experts say the move is aimed at preparing students for interviews and group discussions during campus placements. “There are a lot of students whose English language skills are weak. As a result, they are unable to crack job interviews and other competitive examinations. Pronunciation is a major issue among many engineering students,” said placement officer at Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology NLN Reddy.

It may be recalled that in 2015, nearly 500 students from Telangana and Andhra were deported from the US, resulting in a major crisis. Among the various reasons for deportation cited by the US border security officials was the students’ poor English skills. The AICTE’s move, experts say, could address this issue. As per its norms, lessons and exercises have to be recorded on a weekly basis so that students are exposed to a variety of listening and speaking drills. The language laboratory sessions will have to include word games, quizzes, extempore and debates. The labs must have 25 computers for every 1,000 students and a faculty who is proficient in English.  Apart from this, an institution-industry cell is another must-have for institutes beginning the new academic year. –  Courtesy

Nod for polytechnics to turn into engineering colleges

The New Indian Express | S Mannar Mannan  |  Express News Service  |  18th January 2017 |

COIMBATORE: THE All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has decided to allow polytechnic colleges to be converted into engineering colleges after meeting necessary requirements. It will also allow conversion of engineering colleges with insufficient patronage into polytechnic colleges. To be eligible for the conversion, the institution concerned should have been in existence for at least five years, the AICTE said in its approval process handbook for 2017-18. Institutions offering courses in pharmacology have also been allowed to similar conversions, provided the requirements.

“Polytechnic colleges which have been in existence for long would like to upgrade themselves into engineering colleges. Now they have been allowed to convert diploma-level institutions into degree-level institutions,” said an office-bearer of the association of engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu. –  Courtesy

AICTE turns the heat on errant engineering colleges

The New Indian Express |  By S Mannar Mannan  |  ENS  |   24th November 2016 |

COIMBATORE: Cracking the whip on private engineering colleges exploiting students by charging exorbitantly, the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has fined around a dozen colleges in Tamil Nadu. The fine amount ranged up to Rs 2 crore. The apex regulatory body has also warned private colleges of withdrawing the affiliation if they fail to pay the fine. This is the first time that the AICTE is taking such stringent action against private engineering colleges for collecting exorbitant fee from students. Sources in the AICTE have confirmed this and said the move followed complaints by students. The AICTE conducted a thorough enquiry by sending its team to verify the complaints and found that some colleges have collected exorbitant fees. Based on the enquiry findings, the AICTE has taken the decision, sources added. The AICTE has also taken similar action against institutions in other parts of the country.

According to AICTE Approval Process Handbook 2016-17, no technical institution is entitled to receive from students any other fee, in whatever name or manner, in addition to the fee fixed by the State fee regulatory committee. If any institute violates this, they are liable for penalty of twice the total fees collected, reduction in student intake, no admission in one or more course for one academic year, and withdrawal of approval of one course, or of the institution. A senior official in Anna University, who also confirmed the development said, “AICTE had fined around a dozen colleges.” “The AICTE has given three months time for private engineering colleges to pay the fine amount, and warned that if they failed to pay the fine, their approval would be withdrawn. In some cases, the AICTE has issued warning to private colleges not to collect higher than the fee fixed by the State-level fee fixation committee,” the official added. Sources also added that a few of these private colleges which were fined are planning to move the Court challenging the AICTE decision. –  Courtesy

AICTE Call on 21 New Technical College Applicants this Week

The New Indian Express |  By Express News Service |  11th April 2016 |

COIMBATORE: The fate of over 400 applications to start new technical education institutions in the country will be decided by the Standing Appellate Committee of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in the coming week. The AICTE has started online application process for starting new technical education institutions, including engineering and technology, pharmacy, architecture, town planning, applied arts and crafts, management, MBA, PGDM, HMCT and MCA degree programmes, from January 21. The apex regulatory body for technical education has received hundreds of application for starting technical education institutions. From this, the AICTE has rejected 408 applications from trusts and societies to start new technical education institutions for various reasons. This includes 21 applications to start new technical education institutions in Tamil Nadu. These trusts and societies were given another chance to appeal against the AICTE decision and told to appear before the Standing Appellate Committee from April 12 to 15.

Apart from this, the Standing Appellate Committee of the AICTE will also hear the case of 40 applications for change in site of the institution, which was also rejected by the apex body.  In addition to this, the Standing Appellate Committee will also look into six applications for converting women only institutions into coeducation institutions. Those applications rejected by the Standing Appellate Committee of the AICTE will not have the chance to start new technical education institutions during this academic year. They have to apply afresh during the next academic year to start their institutions. Meanwhile, the Standing Appellate Committee of the AICTE will also look into the cases of 176 existing technical education institutions in the country, including at least 17 from Tamil Nadu, which have applied for closure of their institutions. – Courtesy       /           Approval Process 2016-17_​Schedule of Standing Appellate Committee (SAC)

AICTE to take lawyers on board

The Asian Age | | Age Correspondent | Mumbai |

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has roped in advocates for the approval process for new and existing institutions. According to officials, the move is aimed at ensuring that the institutions do not resort to any shortcuts as the approval process is online and institutions may submit false or exaggerated details. Accordingto an official from AICTE, ever since the online submission of details for approval was started two years ago, AICTE had received numerous complaints of institutions not sharing accurate details or providing misleading information, as it was not being physically verified. “Complaints ranged from multiple institutions operating from the same premises while each institution has to have an independent structure. Apart from this, classrooms and laboratory details as well as faculty details were being manipulated, based on which the institutions were getting annual approval. Hence, it was decided to not only rope in academic experts but also have advocates on board to initiate penal action against institutions that provide false information,” said the official.

Towards this end, AICTE has issued a public advertisement inviting experts and the legal fraternity to join them so that the online approval process can be strengthened. Institutions coming under the purview of AICTE have to take annual approval for continuation, courses as well as in-take capacity. Based on the information provided through the online submission process, AICTE gives its consent for continuation or permission to increase the in-take or offer newer courses. “AICTE has laid down norms from academic to infrastructure compliances that institutions have to adhere to, failing which their approval is cancelled. While older institutions tend to comply on all parameters, it is the newer ones that try to go around the norms. To curb such practices and send out a strong message AICTE will not tolerate such misdemeanors, experts and advocates will be taken on board,” said the official, adding that AICTE would be including the new persons in the academic monitoring committee too from the next academic year. –  Courtesy

Private Colleges With High NAAC Score Can Seek Autonomy

The New Indian Express |  By Express News Service |  23rd March 2016 |

BENGALURU:  Affiliated private colleges can now secure autonomous status if they have secured high grades from National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC). This is if the college gets permission from the university it is affiliated to, said Union Minister for Human Resource Development, Smriti Irani, here on Tuesday. She was speaking at a national conference on “Making India a Global Hub for Quality Higher Education,” organised by the Education Promotion Society of India. She also agreed with the recommendation made by a few private varsities to not have a government nominee on their Boards of Managements. However, she said that if the varsity had to engage with the University Grants Commission (UGC), a nominee from UGC will have to be selected. Speaking at the venue, Prof D P Singh, Director, NAAC, Bengaluru, said that in order to be an important player in the global arena, Indian higher education needs to adopt a truly global outlook. “It involves international collaborations for teaching, research and training along with faculty-student exchange programmes. Our curriculum also needs to match global standards,” he said. A new Education Policy is being formulated and many schemes and reforms are in the pipeline in the education sector, he added.

AICTE Approval

Speaking of annual approvals for various courses from All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), Irani said such practices will be put to an end. Approval for courses will be equated with the accreditation granted to the varsities, which is for a period of five years. The National Achievement Survey, which is conducted once every three years by National Council of Educational Research and Training, will henceforth be conducted every year in all states, she said. Irani said the annual data collection exercise will help in improving the quality of education.

Hike in Fees

If the demands of private medical colleges are heeded by the Medical Education Department, it is likely that their fee will go up ‘substantially’. Medical Education Minister Sharan Prakash Patil said the demand is yet to be considered by the Department. He said three medical colleges will open in the next academic year in Karwar, Chamarajanagar and Madikeri, and will have a combined intake of 150 students. –  Courtesy

AICTE issues notices to 279 institutions running without approvals

Economic Times | By PTI | March 10, 2016 |

NEW DELHI: The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has issued notices to 279 institutions found to be running without statutory approvals, Rajya Sabha was told today.  In a written reply to a question, HRD Minister Smriti Irani said the notices have been issued to the institutions to close down programmes or fulfill the mandatory requirements and approach AICTE for approval. Responding to another question, Irani said there is no provision in AICTE Act for blacklisting higher education institutions. She, however, said in case norms are not followed action can be taken, including suspension of approval for supernumerary seats, no admission status in respective courses for one academic year, withdrawal of approval in the respective course, reduction in seats intake, withdrawal of approval of the institution and its closure. “121 such technical institutions have been closed during 2015-16,” she said.  In response to another question, the HRD minister said that as per an independent survey commissioned by it in 2014, 60.64 lakh children were out of school in the age group 6 to 13 years.-  Courtesy

AICTE Says 17 Tamilnadu Technical Colleges Applied for Closure

The New Indian Express |  By S Mannar Mannan |   05th March 2016 |

COIMBATORE: As many as 227 technical education institutions across the country have applied for closure, as against 415 applications for starting new institutions, according to Anil D Sahasrabudhe, Chairman, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). In both cases, there are 17 applications from Tamil Nadu.  The applications for closing down completely cite the poor demand from students for their courses. Also, a number of institutions have applied to stop offering courses that are not attracting students. Of the 227 applications the AICTE received for closure, 41 are from Telangana. This is the highest from any state. There are 1,289 applications for ending specific undergraduate and postgraduate  courses. While 107 of them are from Tamil Nadu, 302 are from Telangana, he added.

There are 60 per division in an undergraduate course and 18 in a postgraduate course. In the 2015-16 academic year, the AICTE allowed the closure of 121 technical institutions, including 12 from Tamil Nadu. It also allowed other institutions to stop offering 1,093 programmes, of which 130 were from Tamil Nadu. AICTE, the apex regulatory body for technical education in the country, had started accepting online applications to establish new institutions and for renewal of approvals on January 21. The last date to apply for new institutions ended on February 29. Existing institutions have time till Saturday to apply for renewal of approval, with a penalty. Meanwhile, academics said there could be applications to open institutions in major cities. – Courtesy

AICTE changes parameters of qualifications for appointment of teachers, activists unhappy

 Mid Day | By Pallavi Smart | 10 February 2016 |

To tackle the shortage of faculty in technical institutions, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is bringing changes in parameters of qualifications for appointment of teachers. While activists cry that it will dilute the educational standards, AICTE visions it to be a contemporary approach of striking a balance between tackling faculty shortage and giving multidisciplinary industry oriented approach to technical education. Colleges however are happy with the changes as it is making it convenient to fill positions. The AICTE released its approval process Handbook in the last week if January. Taking a review of several aspects of technical institutions, it brings reforms in certain aspects such as faculty appointments, land requirements, accreditations among all. Of these, faculty appointment reforms are experiencing much wrath from activists. These reforms include having 20% visiting faculty who may not have degrees but with industry experience, a candidate who is not masters in engineering but holds equivalent degree in relevant stream in a relevant subject can apply for teaching position.

Vaibhav Narawade, secretary for citizens’ forum for sanctity in education system, talking about the changes said, “It is a great disappointment. The new approval process handbook 2016 did not attempt to improve the approval process. On the contrary, AICTE reduced and relaxed some important statuary norms ignoring quality education, especially the industry experience clause will be exploited by institutions as the criterion on experience is not specified. This will further lead to reduction in teaching jobs with colleges relying more on visiting faculties, hampering the quality of education.”

Santosh Narayankhedkar, principal of MGM college of engineering, said, “The reforms are welcome. It will allow us strike a good balance of faculty. These new parameter are for visiting faculties coming from industry with huge experience. This will rather be very beneficial to students. More than 70% students go to work in the industry. This will be an opportunity for them to learn new technologies from industry experts.”

Suresh Ukrande, former dean of faculty of engineering at the Mumbai University, also appreciated the reforms. He said, “That colleges are facing shortage of faculty is a known phenomenon. The country is not producing as many PhD holders in technology as we require in academics as per the traditional norms. The reform will allow take advantage of industry experts who may not be holding these degrees but have ample experience to educate students.”

Chairman of AICTE Dr. A D Sahasrabuddhe, explaining the regulatory body’s stand, said, “The relaxation is allowed only for 20% of the faculty members. Colleges will have to fill 80% positions as per prescribed norms over the years. The new reforms will not only help colleges deal with faculty shortages, but will also help bridging gap between industry and academia which has been a raising concern.” Elaborating on the thought, Sahasrabuddhe questioned, “Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for an engineering student to know about latest technologies from an industry expert who will be able to present a real time picture in front of students?” He further said, “Anyways, our faculty members are not up to date with latest industry trends and requirements and then we complain about how our educational system is not able to produce graduates desired by industries.” Giving an expert view on the scenario, Dr. Arun Nigvekar, renowned educationist and former chairperson of University Grants Commission, said, “The reforms are not much about relaxations but bring in interdisciplinary approach to teaching with industry and other relevant subject experts. But, with such reforms, it is difficult to know if institutions are misusing the clauses. In that case, it will hamper the quality of education.” –  Courtesy