Admission to most engineering and technology undergraduate programs requires students to have completed compulsory physics and mathematics at the high school level, the All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE) announced Tuesday, in what is seen as a partial rollback of eligibility standards. which it released last year.
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The previous standards had left the issue of compulsory combinations of subjects in the universities and technical institutes, making it technically possible for those who have not studied physics and mathematics at the upper secondary level to take university courses in engineering and technology.
Last year in conversation with The Indian Express after the standards were issued, chief scientific adviser K Vijay Raghavan and former head of defense research and development organization VK Saraswat urged caution in the AICTE’s move to provide flexibility to admit students without math and physics into secondary school and offer them remedial bridging courses to coping in the classroom. The issue was also raised at a meeting of NITI Aayog, after which the AICTE agreed to define the technical branches to which this flexibility will apply.
According to the AICTE ‘Approval Process Handbook’ 2022-23 released Tuesday, at least 18 of the 29 accredited degree programs in engineering and technology – including computer science and engineering, electrical engineering, textile technology – have listed physics and mathematics at the RUG level. as “mandatory at 10+2 level” against their names.
Rethinking on previous standards
The AICTE had defended its decision to revise the admission standards for engineering courses last year, describing it as a step toward encouraging interdisciplinarity. However, top scientific experts reasoned against the move, calling it retrograde and a step in the wrong direction — observations that forced reconsideration.
The third subject can be anything from chemistry, computer science, electronics, information technology, biology, computer science practices, biotechnology, technical vocational education, agriculture, graphic engineering, business, entrepreneurship.
As many as 15 courses require a student to have studied physics, chemistry, and mathematics in high school. A student who may not have studied mathematics but had physics and chemistry in school can still take agricultural engineering, biotechnology, pharmaceutical technology and graphics technology under the revised standards.
Only UG courses in architecture, packaging technology and fashion technology have no compulsory subject combination requirements.
The total scores of the students in three subjects will still have to be at least 45 percent (general) and 40 percent (reserved categories) to be eligible for admission.
Until the 2019-20 academic session, engineering aspirants should have completed school with Physics and Mathematics as compulsory subjects. The third subject could have been a subject from Chemistry, Biotechnology, Biology and Technical Profession.
Last year, the AICTE attributed its move to abolish compulsory subject combinations. It was also described as a push for interdisciplinary education envisioned by the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. NEP provision on multiple entry and exit in four-year B Tech or BE degrees is also defined by the AICTE under the revised standards.
One of the other highlights of the handbook is the introduction of a surplus quota in polytechnics for Covid orphans under the PM-CARES scheme. Two places are therefore reserved per institution for applicants who fall under this category.