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SC rejects review plea against AICTE verdict
NEW DELHI : On July 23, 2015 the Supreme Court judgement in Association of Management of Private Colleges vs All India Council for Technical Education and others. (Civil Appeal No. 1145 of 2004) got finality when a bench of Justices B S Chauhan and V Gopala Gowda, which had delivered the judgment, declined the review petition.

The judgement says that it is not mandatory for affiliated colleges of a university to take prior approval from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to run MBA and MCA courses.

A curative petition, however, can still be filed for reversal of the order.

“We have considered the averments in the review petitions. Having regard to the facts and issues involved, in our opinion, no case for review is made out. There is no error in the impugned order. Hence, the review petitions are dismissed,” the bench said in its brief order following in-chamber hearing.

The AICTE wanted a review of the verdict which was passed on a bunch of appeals filed by some affiliated colleges under Bharathidasan University and Manonmaniam Sundaranar University in Tamil Nadu.

The colleges had challenged an order passed by the Madras High Court, which according to them, wrongly interpreted the provisions of the AICTE Act, 1987, and held that even though the university was not required to take permission from the AICTE to run MCA and MBA courses, the affiliated colleges are required to do so.

“As per definition of ‘technical education’ under Section 2(g) of the AICTE Act and non production of any material by the AICTE to show that MBA course is a technical education, we hold that MBA course is not atechnical course within the definition of the AICTE Act,” the bench had said.

With regard to the MCA course, it had said: “The same is a technical education and therefore, it comes within the definition of technical education but for its proper conduct of courses and regulation the role of AICTE must be advisory and for the same, a note shall be given to the UGC for its implementation by it but not the AICTE.” The bench had further said the role of AICTE visà-vis universities is only advisory, recommendatory, and one of providing guidance and has no authority empowering it to issue or enforce any sanctions by itself.

The court had found merit in the arguments then advanced by the colleges that the AICTE regulation 2000, bringing MCA and MBA courses within its purview of the definition technical education, could not be given effect to since it had not been placed before the Parliament.

AICTE organizes special CMAT for leftouts
NEW DELHI :  The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is organizing an additional online Common Management Admission Test (CMAT) in May this year on the request of some state governments, says an AICTE notification issued on March 9.

The notification said that the special CMAT would be for admission to all management programme for the academic year 2013-2014 and is being organized as a number of candidates could not appear in the earlier CMAT due to late notification issued by some State Governments.

The candidates who could not avail two opportunities for appearing in CMAT during the year 2013-2014, would be allowed to appear in the CMAT (Additional Test) scheduled in 57 cities from May 19 to 22, 2013. The online registration window will be open from March 10, 2013 to April 10, 2013 at www.aicte-cmat.in . 

According to the CMAT policy, the candidates can make a maximum two attempts in CMAT for admissions for a given academic year and better of the two scores would be used for admission.

The State Governments have been requested to publicise the admission procedure being followed by the State and to give adequate publicity to CMAT May test schedule. The admission will be completed by the admission authorities based on better of the two scores announced for the examinations conducted in September-October, 2012, February, 2013 and May 2013 for admission in the academic year 2013-14.  

The AICTE has already notified that all AICTE approved institutions will have to use CMAT scores for admission to the Post Graduate Degree programme in management for academic year 2013-14.  However, admissions in the post graduate diploma programme in the management will be subjected to Court directives.

According to the schedule the registration windows opened on March 10 and would close a month later, April 10. The students can take out printouts of the hall tickets from May 3, 2013 while computer-based test would be held from May 19 to 22 from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm and then from 2.30 pm to 5.30 pm. The results will be out on June 1, 2013 and the printouts of the score cards will be available from June 1 to July 1, 2013

According to the pattern of exam notified by the AICTE there would be 25 questions each about Quantitative Techniques & Data Interpretation; Logical Reasoning; Language Comprehension and General Awareness.

Further details see www.aicte-cmat.in

Facebook like service for students, faculty
All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and Microsoft have collaborated to host a cloud computing based communication service that would offer e-mail, instant messaging, Microsoft Office web applications, 10 GB mailbox for engineering students and faculty members.

Briefing reporters about the project Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said on April 12 that the service would benefit about 7.5 million engineering students and 5 lakh faculty members spread over 10,000 technical institutes across the country. 

The service -- Live@edu - to be up and running in the next three months - will use cloud computing to expand students' access to high-quality technical education. This will allow students to interact and share content both for work and social networking, and even initiate collaborative research projects.

Sibal said, ``this is an era of collaboration and we hope to empower 7.5 million students and 5 lakh teachers with this use of technology. It is the first project of its kind.''

Live@edu will be a social networking site linked to its portal, allowing engineering students interact with each other about their projects with applications intended for educational needs and as a solution to provide better communication and collaboration platform both for institutes and students.

Talking about the social networking platform, AICTE chairman S S Mantha said the site will help "every student to put their research work on the portal and have an exchange". "This application (live@edu) along with social networking will provide immense opportunities to students to interact and work with other projects," he said.

Mantha added, ``Microsoft's cloud platform will make a progressive ecosystem and contribute to the country's technical education by providing a better communication and collaborative platform for institutes and students.''

According to Microsoft, the cloud suite has more than 22 million people using the service. Microsoft MD Sanket Akerkar said that the implementation was underway, and the deployment would be complete by mid-June.

The platform will be used for student communication and collaboration. It will include email, calendars with 10GB inbox, 25 GB additional file storage, documents haring, instant messaging, video chat and mobile email. More than 10,000 schools in over 130 countries have enrolled in live@edu.

Distance edu : AICTE permits MBA, MCA
: The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has tightened the norms on offering technical education courses through a distance education mode.

In a circular sent to the state governments last week, the AICTE said that only MBA and MCA courses will be considered for recognition in the distance education mode if the respective institutes have the joint approval from the Distance Education Council (DEC), University Grants Commission (UGC) and the AICTE.

The AICTE has barred institutes from offering BE, B.Tech, Architecture, Town planning, Pharmacy, Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Applied Arts and Craft and post-graduate diploma in management courses through distance education mode.

“It is an AICTE policy not to recognise the qualifications acquired through distance mode at diploma, bachelor’s and master’s level in these fields. It now has a policy to consider only MBA and MCA through distance mode,” the circular notes.

The AICTE alerted students pursuing or aspiring to pursue technical education courses through distance education mode to check the approval by the joint committee of DEC, UGC and AICTE and made it clear that the MBA and MCA degrees acquired through the distance education mode without these approvals will not be considered for employment by the Centre and state governments.

Currently, several state universities including the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University-Hyderabad, are offering engineering courses through distance mode by setting up study centres in various districts.

AICTE moves to revise syllabi after a decade

By Sanjiv Dube
All India Council for Technical education (AICTE) has launched an exercise to revise the syllabi for Engineering studies in the country after nearly a decade.

The apex regulatory body for technical education has set up a committee of subject experts to review the existing syllabi, and recommend curricula changes in accordance with the needs of the industry.

This exercise will not affect the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) who have their own system for syllabus revision.

An AICTE official said on March 21 that the move is aimed at addressing concerns about the increasing unemployability amongst engineers.

The apex body has now issued regulations that mandate affiliated technical universities to revise their syllabi annually in consultation with industry players.

The institutions will have to set up subject-wise industry consultation committees (ICCs) every year, and then incorporate their recommendations into their engineering syllabi.

The AICTE has a model curriculum that is used by affiliated universities as a base for preparing their own syllabi. A committee of experts is all set to revise it for the first time in nine years, and the suggestions made in this regard will be submitted after the summer vacation – in time for the next academic session. The panel comprises subgroups of various subject experts, each headed by an IIT professor.

The move has largely been welcomed by the academics. An eminent professor Dr D N Reddy felt that the key cause for the unemployability of engineering passouts is that their skills are not in sync with industry requirements.

The move was spurred by feedback received by the Centre on the dismal state of engineering education in the country. Though India has 3,000-odd registered engineering institutes that produce seven lakh students annually, only 30-40% of them land jobs. The low-employability levels are attributed as much to the lack of requisite skills as the falling demand in the industry.

“The fields of engineering and technology undergo changes every day, and we need to keep up with their requirements. Students need to have skills required by the industry. Some of the institutes are still teaching decades-old syllabi and using obsolete teaching tools,” said a senior official from the human resource development (HRD) ministry.

“There has to be a constant dialogue between educational institutes and the industry. Each institution, while applying for approval, will have to mandatorily certify the completion of this process. If they fail to do so, action will be taken against them,” he added.

AICTE head office gets it's home in Vasant Kunj

By Rajiv Shukla
Nearly 30 years after it was established
in 1988, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) had a building of its own in south west corner of the national capital. It was inaugurated by Union Minister of State (HRD) Upendra Kushwaha in Vasant Kunj on Nelson Mandela Marg here on August 12.Prof S K Khanna snapped just after he left the AICTE

After its split from the UGC under the leadership of a suave and a magnificent manoeuvrist, Prof S K Khanna the AICTE opened its first office in a modest apartment in South Extension II in 1993. After a couple of years it moved to a more spacious building in IG Stadium near ITO.

The IG stadium abode that was promised to be temporary, stayed with the AICTE for over 20 years during which the apex regulatory body of the technical education in the country saw the maximum expansion and maximum lure. About seven years ago it had to shift to 7th Floor, Chanderlok Building Janpath, New Delhi-110 001.

It's new office on Nelson Mandela Marg has been designed and constructed by the DRDO. Spread over 5 acres with 37,500 sq.mt constructed area the office building has G+3 floors with three wings having a seating capacity of 300 employees and 17 conference rooms, an 800 capacity auditorium, a 20 room guest house and canteen for staff and officers. The built-up area is 19500 sqm and parking space of 18000 sqm making it a total built-up area of 37500 sqm in the premises.

A PIB press note said that henceforth the AICTE will work from the new Headquarters.

Inaugurating the office building Mr Upendra Kushwaha stressed the importance of AICTE in cultivating technology and technical education in the country.

Mr V.S Oberoi, Secretary (Higher Education) MHRD and Mr R. Subrahmanyam, Additional Secretary (Technical Education) also spoke on the occasion. Dr. S. Christopher, Secretary (R&D), Dept of Defence and DG, DRDO and Dr G. Satheesh Reddy, Scientific Advisor to Minister of Defence also graced the occasion. Dr Anil D Sahastrabudhe, Chairman, AICTE welcomed the guests.

Temporary relief to AICTE, SC restores powers

By Rajiv Shukla
: On April 17 a demoralised All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) was granted a temporary reprieve by a division bench of the Supreme Court here allowing it to retain its regulatory authority over technical education in the country for the academic year 2014-15.

The interim relief came on a SLP (SLP(C)No.7277/2014) filed by Orissa Technical Colleges Association which was taken up on April 17 by a division bench of the apex court comprising Justice R M Lodha and Justice Kurian Joseph.

In its interim order the bench allowed the AICTE to retain its domain over technical education in the country for the year 2014-15 in accordance with the norms laid down in the AICTE’s Approval Process Handbook.

In its order the bench said : “In the counter affidavit filed on behalf of respondent No.1,i.e., All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), it is stated that Approval Process Handbook (2013-14) is presently in force and the same has been extended and made applicable for the Academic Year 2014-15 as well.

AICTE shall now proceed in accordance with the Approval Process Handbook for the Academic Year 2014-15 insofar as the members of the petitioner Association and all colleges and institutions situated similarly to the members of the petitioner Association are concerned and necessary orders shall be issued by AICTE within ten days.

Prayer for interim relief is ordered accordingly.”

The interim relief came almost a year after the Supreme Court had, on April 25 2013, held that the AICTE did not have any control and supervision over affiliated colleges of their respective universities.

“The applicability of bringing the university as defined under clause 2 (f) of the UGC Act includes the institution deemed to be a university under Section 3 of the said Act and therefore, the affiliated colleges are excluded from the purview of technical institution definition of the AICTE Act,” the Bench held.

The ruling was given by Justices BS Chauhan and V Gopala Gowda who said while allowing the appeal in the Association of Management of Private Colleges vs All India Council for Technical Education and others. (Civil Appeal No. 1145 of 2004).

The case came as a second big blow after the Bharathidasan University & Ans vs AICTE & Ors case delivered on September 24, 2001. The landmark case had sliced off all universities and deemed universities from the ambit of the AICTE Act triggering off a rat race for the deemed university status in the country.

Business management no tech edu course : SC

From Rajiv Shukla
: Over two decades after the establishment of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) the Supreme Court on April 25 corrected a major flaw in AICTE's technical education definition -- it declared that the business management studies ought to be part of humanities.

“We hold that MBA course is not a technical course within the definition of the AICTE Act,” a Bench comprising Justices BS Chauhan and V Gopala Gowda ruled while allowing the appeal in the Association of Management of Private Colleges vs All India Council for Technical Education and others. (Civil Appeal No. 1145 of 2004)

The Apex Court struck down the amendment made to the AICTE Act in 2000 inserting words “MBA and MCA” before Architecture and Hotel Management courses as the amended regulations were not placed on the floor of the Houses of Parliament as required under Section 24 of the AICTE Act.

The appeal had argued that the AICTE Act being an enactment of Parliament could not be amended in year 2000 without being placed in the Parliament. This argument was accepted by the Court to knock off AICTE's jurisdiction.

“As per definition of ‘technical education’ under Section 2 (g) of the AICTE Act and non production of any material by the AICTE to show that MBA course is a technical education, we hold that MBA course is not a technical course within the definition of the AICTE Act,” the bench said.

However, Master of Computer Applications (MCA) fell under the technical education category, but for regulating the course, the role of AICTE must be advisory. “The relief sought for in the writ petitions is granted and there is no need to seek approval from the AICTE for MBA and MCA courses,” the Supreme Court held.

The court also ruled that the AICTE did not have any control and supervision over affiliated colleges of their respective universities. “The applicability of bringing the university as defined under clause 2 (f) of the UGC Act includes the institution deemed to be a university under Section 3 of the said Act and therefore, the affiliated colleges are excluded from the purview of technical institution definition of the AICTE Act,” the Bench held.

The bench held that though MCA was a technical course, the AICTE had no business to lay down standards as for this purpose the Parliament had already enacted the UGC Act. Moreover, the role of AICTE was advisory and could only impose uniform standards of education in affiliated members of a university by putting a note to the UGC, the bench said.

The case has come as a second big blow after the Bharathidasan University & Ans vs AICTE & Ors case delivered on September 24, 2001. The landmark case had sliced off all universities and deemed universities from the ambit of the AICTE Act triggering off a rat race for the deemed university status in the country.

Private, public companies can set up
technical colleges, Parliament told

NEW DELHI ; On November 27 the government told Parliament that all private and public limited companies with a turnover of over Rs 100 crore for the past three consecutive years will now be allowed to set up technical colleges.

In response to a related query on the subject, Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor said that the decision had been taken by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in view of the lack of skills among the passouts who graduate from the engineering colleges.

A PIB press note said that the new rule would be applicable from next year. “The AICTE has allowed from 2013-14 private limited or public limited companies/industries having a turnover of at least Rs 100 crore per year for previous three years to establish new technical institutions in engineering and technology, pharmacy, architecture, town planning, hotel management and catering technology,” Tharoor said in a written reply.

There are several reports by industry based organizations commenting on the lack of adequate skills in the technical education imparted to the students and hence less employability. Therefore, AICTE has reviewed the curriculum and has come up with model curriculum to involve industry best practices. The model curriculum is available on the AICTE website.

AICTE has further proposed scheme of setting up of research park with the industry in certain good institutions where AICTE will fund up to one crore of a rupees along with matching grant from the industry. It is expected that the institute will provide about 350 to 500 Sq. Mtr. of area within the campus to the industry to set up research extension facility within the institute. This facility would provide the students to work on live projects and faculty to participate with the industry experts for the same whereas the industry also would benefit from the faculty expertise.

AICTE also promotes entrepreneurship development with the industry. Further AICTE funds industry institute partnership cell to be set up within the institutions. Further AICTE promotes innovation promotions within the institutes based on the requirement of the industry through its students of technical institutions and funds such projects.

Rajiv Shukla adds
The entry, initially has been allowed to benign companies defined under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 -- and in only 241 districts where currently no AICTE Institution exists -- giving profiteers a fair hint to wait and watch.

Besides, the corporates have been allowed to set up campuses through PPP or through build-operate-transfer mode under agreement with public sector.  Like all other companies, the educational institutions set up by the benign companies will be regulated by the ministry of corporate affairs.

Till now only registered Trusts and Societies were allowed to establish technical education institutions in the country -- this was to keep business coporates at bay.

The announcement of this crucial decision was made by the Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on behalf of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on December 30, 2011.

“We will henceforth allow companies registered as non-profit entities under Section 25 of the Companies Act 1956 to establish technical institutions to allow good corporates to set up institutions. However, no joint venture can apply for this,” Sibal had announced.

Corporate houses have been demanding such a provision for a long time, saying it is much easier to function as a Section 25 company than as a trust or society.

Announcing a major relaxation in the AICTE norms the minister had declared that in rural sector, only 10 acre will be required to set up an engineering institute while in urban sector only 2.5 acre -- obviously indicating a vertical construction module for the technical education institutions.

The AICTE has also modified the approval norms under which institutes could offer stand-alone postgraduate programme. Under the existing norms PG courses were allowed only on campuses that offered undergraduate programmes. However now the AICTE has allowed stand-alone PG institutes as well.

Sibal said B.Sc students could seek lateral entry to a second-year B.Tech degree programme provided they had mathematics at Class XII or at the BSc level.

Tech courses through distance edu invalid: HC

From Our Correspondent
: On November 6 the Punjab and Haryana high court ruled that there is no specific power or function of the Distance Education Council (DEC) to impart technical education through the distance education mode.

The order came from a division bench comprising justice Hemant Gupta and justice Rajiv Narain Raina in Kartar Singh vs Union of India case while deciding a bunch of 148 petitions.

A public interest litigation on the matter was first filed by one Kartar Singh seeking directions to the authorities concerned to stop the illegal educational institutions imparting degrees in professional/technical courses through distance education and take action against the centres established beyond the territorial jurisdiction of such institutions.

In its 160-page detailed judgment, the bench said, “Though the court is sympathetic with the cause of students, but the larger public interest demands that the students who have not got formal technical education should not be considered eligible for appointment under the state.”

The bench mainly decided in respect of technical/professional courses imparted through the distance education mode by Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation, Salem in Tamil Nadu; IASE Gandhi Vidya Mandir, Sardar Shahar in Rajasthan; JRN Vidyapeeth, Udaipur, in Rajasthan, and Allahabad Agriculture Research Institute in Uttar Pradesh. “We hold that the approval granted by the Distance Education Council, dated August 29, 2007, to the institutes in question is illegal and unwarranted and beyond the scope of authority vested in it,” the bench said.

"We hold that the deemed to be universities have started courses in technical education in violation of the guidelines, instructions, circulars and regulations framed by the commission not only with starting such courses, but also in establishing study centres outside their territorial limits and in subjects for which they were not granted deemed-to-be-university status.
Therefore, degrees awarded by such deemed to be universities is an illegal act and such illegality cannot be removed or cured by the actions of either the commission or the Distance Education Council," it said.

“As a necessary consequence, degrees granted by such deemed-to-be universities are illegal and candidates can’t be deemed to be qualified in purported subjects in the absence of approval from the University Grants Commission,” the bench observed.

The Bench held that the approval granted by the Distance Education Council on August 29, 2007, to some institutes was illegal, unwarranted and beyond the scope of authority vested in it.

The Bench held that a deemed to be university was not on a par with a university incorporated by a Central or state statute. Both, however, are competent to award degrees.

Also, a deemed to be university "can start a study centre outside the headquarters in areas where there is a reasonable concentration of students. But such a centre cannot be established beyond the territorial limits represented at the time of grant of such status in the MoA, except with the permission of the University Grants Commission and the state
government, where such study centre is to be located," the Bench observed.

It also stated that the certificate/diploma course in multipurpose health was meant to be approved by the Indian Nursing Council, the State Nursing Council or the All-India Technical Council. “Since the course is not approved by the Commission or by any other statutory authority, the qualification/ diploma granted by a deemed-to-be university will not make such candidate eligible for appointment,” the bench said.

The bench also set aside an earlier judgment of a single-judge bench of the high court which had held that a degree in engineering obtained through distance education mode was a valid degree for the purpose of public appointments.

In case of the Associate Member of the Institution of Engineers (AMIE), the bench said, “Qualification of AMIE is relevant for the purposes of promotion and not for direct recruitment, as an associate member becomes eligible for membership only if he is engaged in the engineering profession.”

AICTE wakes up, plans BE-MBA composite course

From Our Correspondent
: Waking up late -- very late -- the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) announced on April 12 that it would launch an integrated programme from this academic session that will give engineers with management skills.

The five-and-a-half year long integrated management programme will also be available for those aspiring to hold a managerial position in the field of
architecture, pharmacy or hotel management.

Students will be admitted to the course through the Common Management Admission Test (CMAT). The basic qualification for appearing in the test will be 10+2.

It will be a flexible programme which will provide an undergraduate degree in 3 or 4 years followed by a Master’s degree in five years. Apart from this a five year dual degree management course will also commence from this academic session.

The AICTE move has come very late as more and more colleges are closing down their engineering and postgraduate management programme for want of students. "Had the integrated programme come five years ago, it would have clicked well", says an education expert.

“We will soon issue a notification in this regard,” officiating AICTE chairman S S Mantha said.

In the first four years of the programme, students will complete their course in the respective discipline opted by them. Thereafter, they would seamlessly proceed to undergo one and a half year duration management course.

“After completion of integrated course, those from engineering will get a degree in integrated engineering management programme, architecture a degree in integrated architect management programme, and likewise in the case of pharmacy and hotel management,” Mantha said.

Apart from this, the AICTE is also set to launch a dual degree five year duration management programme from this academic session. The basic qualification required for admission to the programme will be 10+2. The students will be admitted to the programme through an entrance test, date of which is yet to be decided by the AICTE.

“A student can take to a job after completing his three- year bachelor programme in management or he can continue one year of the masters programme,” Mantha said.


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