The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has no objection to Kerala preparing the rank list for admission to engineering courses by giving equal weight to the marks scored in the qualifying examinations and to those scored in the entrance examination.
Under such a scheme, the students will have to do well in both these examinations and this might be an added pressure on them, chairman of the AICTE S.S. Mantha has said.
He was speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the first National Technological Congress which got underway at the College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram. (This is for the first time that the AICTE has publicly okayed the 50-50 experiment initiated by the department of education for the entrance examinations of 2011. This will apply only to the preparation of the rank list for admission to engineering courses. The medical rank list will be prepared solely on the basis of a candidate's performance in the medical entrance examinations. Five months ago, the government of Kerala had forwarded to the Central government the Kerala Professional Institutions (criteria for admission) Bill 2010 which sought to give legal sanction to the preparation of the engineering and medical rank lists by giving equal weight to the marks in the qualifying examinations and to those in the entrance tests. The idea was to get Presidential assent for the Bill which would, presumably, have shielded it from any objections from the AICTE and the Medical Council of India. The Centre, however, returned this bill saying that there is no Constitutional requirement for getting prior Presidential assent for a Bill to be introduced in a State Assembly.)
“Initially, many States did admit students to engineering courses solely on the basis of marks scored in the qualifying examinations. Then many people raised queries about the normalisation of marks scored in different board examinations. This led to the introduction of entrance examinations. However, once the entrance examinations were introduced, students lost interest in performing well in the qualifying examinations. This is perhaps why State governments are thinking of factoring in the marks of these examinations while preparing the engineering rank list,” Dr. Mantha said.
When asked to comment on the recent spurt in the numbers of engineering colleges — particularly in the private unaided sector — Dr. Mantha said, that India was a large and diverse country. The number of engineers the country requires is dependent on the rate of its industrial growth and on a candidate's employability potential after his graduation. “There has been a growth in technical education. I believe it is good for the country in the long run. Because it provides opportunity and quality comes out from a measure of competition. So if quality has to be built, the numbers have to be there,” he said.
Also, going by the number of students who pass out of Plus Two courses, a large number of technical institutions are necessary. This is because a major chunk of these students would want to study medicine or engineering because the perception is that you would do well if you study such courses. The AICTE has, this, year, mandated that a candidate should have scored at least 50 percent in the qualifying examination to be eligible for admission to an engineering programme. Then, the new regulations for pay scales also specify that the entry-level qualification for a teacher is an M.Tech degree.
The Council is also supporting the institution of colleges offering postgraduate engineering courses alone. The AICTE has also designated all government and aided technical institutions as “Valid Quality Improvement Programme (QIP)” centres. The requirements for a teacher to become a qualified research guide have also been modified and anyone meeting these criteria automatically becomes a research guide. He or she can then register with the nearest QIP and contribute to research activities, Dr. Mantha said. The Council estimates that in about four years there will be a large number of teachers of engineering who have either an M.Tech or a doctoral degree. The Council is also supporting postgraduate programmes in the second shift in some, reputed, engineering colleges. This would enable regular teachers to enrol themselves for PG courses and update their skills.
As part of its initiative to promote institution-industry cooperation and to promote meaningful research the AICTE would support incubation facilities in colleges. The Council would soon come out with a model for this. Under this scheme an institution will provide about 2500 sq.ft. of floor area to industries. Companies can then set up their R&D centres inside these facilities and get some work done there. The best of the students and faculty members would participate in these projects and this, in turn, would promote interaction between industry and teachers. If 10 such centres function in each state there would emerge a big synergy between industry and these institutions, he said. AICTE too would participate in such ventures by funding a percentage of the costs, he added.