Admissions to most engineering and technology undergraduate degree programmes will require students to have mandatorily pursued Physics and Mathematics at the high school level, the All Indian Council for Technical Education (AICTE) announced on Tuesday, in what is being seen as a partial rollback of the eligibility norms it released last year.

🗞️ Subscribe Now: Get Express Premium to access the best Election reporting and analysis 🗞️

The previous norms had left the question of mandatory subject combinations on the universities and engineering institutes, making it technically possible for those who may not have studied Physics and Maths at the higher secondary level to pursue UG degree courses in engineering and technology.

Last year, speaking to The Indian Express after the norms were issued, Principal Scientific Advisor K Vijay Raghavan and former head of Defence Research and Development Organisation V K Saraswat had urged caution over the AICTE’s move to offer flexibility to admit students without Maths and Physics in high school and offer them remedial bridge courses to cope in class. The issue had also come up at a meeting of NITI Aayog following which the AICTE had agreed to define the engineering branches to which this flexibility will be applicable.

According to the AICTE ‘Approval Process Handbook’ 2022-23 released on Tuesday, at least 18 out of 29 recognised engineering and technology degree courses – including Computer Science and Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Textile Engineering – at the UG level have Physics and Maths listed as “mandatory at 10+2 level” against their names.

The AICTE had defended its decision to revise the entry norms in engineering courses last year by describing it as a step towards encouraging interdisciplinarity. However, top scientific experts had reasoned against the move, terming it retrograde and a step in the wrong direction – observations which forced a rethink.

The third subject can be anything from among Chemistry, Computer Science, Electronics, Information Technology, Biology, Informatics Practices, Biotechnology, Technical Vocational subject, Agriculture, Engineering Graphics, Business Studies, Entrepreneurship.

As many as 15 courses require a student to have studied Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics in high school. However, a student who may not have studied Maths, but had Physics and Chemistry in school, can still pursue Agriculture Engineering, Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical Engineering and Printing Engineering under the revised norms.

Only UG courses in architecture, packaging technology, and fashion technology courses have no compulsory subject combination requirements.

The overall scores of the students in three subjects will still need to be at least 45 per cent (general) and 40 per cent (reserved categories) to be eligible for admissions.

Till the 2019-20 academic session, engineering aspirants should have cleared school with Physics and Mathematics as compulsory subjects. The third subject could have been one from among Chemistry, Biotechnology, Biology and Technical Vocational subject.

Last year, the AICTE attributed its move to do away with the mandatory subject combinations. It was also described as a push for interdisciplinary education that the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 envisages. NEP provision on multiple entry and exit in four-year B Tech or BE degrees has also been defined by the AICTE under the revised norms.

Among other highlights of the handbook is introduction of a supernumerary quota in polytechnic institutions for Covid-orphans covered under the PM-CARES scheme. Accordingly, two seats per institute will be reserved for applicants falling under this category.

🗞 Subscribe Now: Get Express Premium to access our in-depth reporting, explainers and opinions 🗞️

Sourav Roy Barman… read more

[Read More…]