Come 2018, engineering aspirants of the country will be required to appear for one single common engineering entrance exam. Paving the way for this, the AICTE is reported to have passed a resolution to this effect after a series of deliberations amongst the MHRD officials, AICTE officials as well as officials from all the states, in a meeting held early this week. In spite of opposition from the states of Tamilnadu and West Bengal, the regulation was passed and will be enforced from the next academic year – 2018.
The AICTE which is the governing body for all the technical institutes across the country had convened a meeting with all state officials regarding the single engineering entrance exam. The proposal for the national common engineering entrance exam was raised at the behest of the MHRD which in February 2017 placed the onus on AICTE to draft the guidelines for an exam for engineering aspirants on the lines of NEET. This entrance exam was mooted to be mandatory for admission to all B.Tech programmes in the country. The proposal also suggested holding the entrance exam more than once in a year. The National Testing Agency which was mentioned in the Budget this year will be entrusted with the task of conducting the exam.
Objections to the regulation were raised by Tamilnadu and West Bengal in the meeting. Tamilnadu which has no entrance exam and regulates the B.Tech admissions on the basis of the Class XII marks felt that the students of the state would be placed under undue stress on account of an entrance exam when there was none before. West Bengal felt that it needed its own entrance exam as there is a huge disparity in the science curriculum offered and that the national exam will not give advantage to those students from the vernacular medium who write the state entrance exam in Bengali. The MHRD and AICTE are confident that any opposition can be countered easily on account of the support that the Supreme Court has extended to students through the single medical entrance exam namely NEET.
In addition to the single engineering exam, the AICTE put forth a directive asking all institutes to go for induction courses for all students, ensure yearly revision of their curriculum as well as teacher training through the SWAYAM platform. An allocation of Rs 250 crores has been reportedly set aside for this. Under this students will have to undergo a two month induction programme at the start of their course. They will also be required to attend a skilling programme at the end of their course. This step is perceived to eliminate the gap between industry requirements and the knowledge possessed by the students. States on the other hand will need to submit a ten year perspective plan for all engineering courses offered therein.
SWAYAM is the Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds is the programme developed by the government with an aim to reach out to all students across the country. This will open the best teaching learning resources to all students including the most disadvantaged ones by bridging the digital divide.
The regulation has been sent to the ministry for approval following which a gazette notification will be issued. The important point under this regulation is that all states will have to follow it failing which the state will lose the AICTE approval for all the institutes established therein.
The single common entrance exam will do away with all the other entrance exams conducted by the central agencies, states and private universities thereby easing the burden on the students who will have just one exam to contend with apart from the board exams. This also will enable the authorities to make the admission process standardised, transparent and corruption free.
The admission to the IITs however will be through JEE Advanced only. Candidates who will clear the common engineering entrance exam will be eligible to appear for the JEE Advanced.
With more than 3,300 approved engineering colleges affiliated to various universities and a reported annual intake of an estimated 1.6 million students, most engineering institutes are left with a large number of vacant seats and no takers for them. The new reforms are reported to be the first step in the new education reforms aimed at placing India on the global map for quality education.
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