About 10 years back, engineering colleges and technical institutes throughout India were tripping over each other for marketing their information technology departments. Students lined up and recruiters selected almost every pass out, transforming the new millennium into a historic period for information technology professionals.
Currently, the situation is completely different. Many colleges are involved in the procedure of closing down the shutters of their respective information technology departments. As per the information provided by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the supervisory body for technical and professional education in India, one in every three engineering colleges has forwarded a request to shut its Information Technology department down. Nearly 1,000 engineering colleges have sent applications to the AICTE to either close down their information technology departments or switch the seats assigned for this to any other subject areas such as civil or mechanical engineering, stated the Chairman of the All India Council for Technical Education, S S Mantha.
Perturbed by the number of applications for shutting down the IT departments of the engineering colleges, AICTE has rejected all the applications and directed the engineering colleges and technical institutes to visit their specific state governments, acquire a no-objection certificate (NOC) and append it with the applications. Closing down such a huge number of Information Technology departments would have resulted in a distorted expansion of other fields of study, stated Mr. S S Mantha. Ultimately, just about six engineering colleges could receive a NOC from their state government and associate university. Nevertheless, nearly every engineering college mulls over sending a closure request once more for the academic year 2011, taking the information technology movement in India to a hiatus if not a full stop.
In spite of the fact that majority of engineering colleges argued that this was important, provided the difficult periods they are going through, a bulk shutdown of information technology departments will convert into various other problems. What will occur, for example, to the hundreds of teachers, who are associated with these engineering colleges and infrastructure built for teaching information technology? Professionals were of the view that no matter what the causes for the slump in recognition of Information Technology are, it was crucial for professional and technical education to progress in a methodical instead of fanciful way.
Many distance learning programs not approved: AICTE
AICTE, India’s top technical education regulatory authority, has cautioned students that many study programs offered by known distance education institutions such as Punjab Technical University and Sikkim Manipal University are unrecognized. The AICTE has notified students throughout India to stay away from these educational programs since degrees received at the conclusion of these courses will be unapproved. Lately, the member secretary of the All India Council for Technical Education has circulated a public notice and this was substantiated by D.K. Paliwal, the member secretary of the council.
AICTE arrived at this decision once it acknowledged a number of grievances from students and other stakeholders of educational institutions such as Punjab Technical University (PTU) and Sikkim Manipal University (SMU), offering technical education courses via distance education mode, the sources have informed.
Thousands of students throughout India are registered in different distance study programs offered by PTU and SMU. Both of them are among the famous distance education institutions following Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU).
The Chairman of AICTE, Mr. SS Mantha stated that the council under its guidelines recognized distance study programs only in MCA (Master of Computer Application) and MBA (Master of Business Administration). Any other courses of study provided via distance education mode have not been recognized by the AICTE, stated Mantha.
Sikkim Manipal University provides a range of information technology, engineering, and hospitality-based courses of study via the distance education mode. Punjab Technical University (PTU) also provides a B.Sc (Bachelor of Science) degree in Information Technology.
It is prevalent that any educational institution can commence a distance education program only once it is recognized by a joint commission of the University Grants Commission (UGC), the All India Council for Technical Education, and the Distance Education Council (DEC).
Nevertheless, the Dean of Punjab Technical University (PTU), Mr. N.P. Singh stated that the university had received recognition from the joint committee. He further stated that the All India Council for Technical Education notification is unjustified since it will lead to misunderstanding among them.
At the same time, the academic director of Sikkim Manipal University, Mr. V. Sivaramakrishnan stated that they had undergone the whole procedure of applications. The courses of study of Sikkim Manipal University were approved by the Distance Education Council. However, they were subject to worries of the All India Council for Technical Education due to trivial issues, which were not under their control.
Nonetheless, the member secretary of AICTE, Mr. D.K. Paliwal informed Hindustan Times that at the final meeting of the three-party committee, applications from Punjab Technical University and Sikkim Manipal University for different courses of study were turned down.
Log on to IIT courses, AICTE informs engineering colleges
Engineering colleges in India can now access the study materials prepared by the Indian Institutes of Technology without any cost. AICTE is intending to make it compulsory for Indian engineering colleges to utilize fundamental science and engineering study programs, which have been launched on YouTube and Google by IITs.
This will be conducted under the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), which is a project representing the seven IITs - Delhi, Bombay, Madras, Guwahati, Kharagpur, Kanpur, and Roorkee — and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.
Currently, more than 200 engineering colleges throughout India are implementing the entire material that IITs are offering without cost on Google and YouTube.
NPTEL is an initiative of the IITs and it was introduced about 3-4 years back to raise the standard of engineering education in India by designing syllabus-oriented web and video lessons. It commenced in correspondence with Open Courseware by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the United States.
About 15 institutes comprising Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Seven IITs, and other engineering colleges have joined hands to execute the project. The IITs have been chosen as one of the most reputed institutions in offering free university courses.