Presently, the entry to pursue higher education in Engineering & Technology is based on traditional subjects of Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. However, in the 21st century, the traditional boundaries between different branches of Engineering & Technology are being re-drawn with an emergence of new sub-domains such as Bio-Technology, Cloud Computing, and Artificial Intelligence etc. These sub-domains may also require inputs from allied subjects such as biology, statistics, programming language, vocational streams etc. and thus cannot be entirely dependent on strictly Mathematics, Physics & Chemistry (or any one or two) alone.
Lt Col Kailash Bansal, Director, Media & Margdarshan Cell, AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) said, “From academic year 2021, AICTE has brought about changes in the Approval Process that facilitates entry through a WIDER array of choice of subjects for students to pursue courses in Engineering and Technology. These are Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Electronics, Information Technology, Biology, Informatics Practices, Biotechnology, Technical Vocational Subjects, Agriculture, Engineering Graphics, Business Studies, Entrepreneurship (any of the THREE).”
The broad basing of entry level qualifications is akin to opening the front doors for accepting the students who were erstwhile progressing as lateral entries or getting the equivalence status through allied domains.
The changes enunciated by AICTE in the Approval Process Handbook aims to achieve greater inclusivity through a more pragmatic approach of aptitude & skills. The natural ability of a student should find means to prosper for which AICTE has already introduced reforms; such as specifying a model curriculum which advocates four Mathematics courses, two Physics courses & a course each in Chemistry and Biology. Another step in that direction is the adoption of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) for e-learning and its acceptance into the overall credit system to obtain a formal degree. To overcome the language barrier, AICTE has also taken an initiative of translating courses available on the SWAYAM platform into eight Indian Regional languages. The study of Environmental Sciences, Indian Constitution, and Universal Human Value etc as part of the Induction programme is another step to prepare the student to traverse the academic journey.
At this crucial juncture of Nation’s growth, the progression of technical education should not be merely seen as a choice of entry level subject. From academic year 2021 onwards, there are 14 ENTRY LEVEL options provided in the Approval Process Handbook (APH) that actually provides flexibility to many bright students from small towns/ remote area who were perhaps disadvantaged on account of poorer curricula delivery (on subjects of Mathematics/ Physics/ Chemistry/ Biology) in their class XI/ XII. Such students shall be necessarily required to take the prerequisite additional course(s) – either on MOOCs (e-learning) before joining the degree program or at least in the very first year of engineering before progressing further.