SC stays HC verdict on new engg. courses

KTU says courses sanctioned without proper study on the subjects

The Supreme Court has stayed the High Court verdict directing the A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Technological University (KTU), Thiruvananthapuram, to consider the applications submitted by various self-financing engineering colleges seeking affiliation for starting additional undergraduate courses in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning and Block Chain.

The stay order came on a special leave petition filed by the KTU challenging the High Court judgment. The university in its petition said the action of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in sanctioning new courses to the petitioner institutions without a study on the subjects and without consultations with the State government/university/board was in violation of the provisions of the AICTE Act.

The petition said the university decision was in line with the State government decision in this regard. The State government had decided to grant new courses in the existing engineering colleges only if they satisfy certain conditions. They are the new courses should have NBA accreditation, admission in the previous years should be more than 50% of the sanctioned intake and new courses proposed should be innovative.

These conditions are imposed in view of the fact that the demand for engineering undergraduate courses in private self-financing colleges has drastically come down in the last one decade. There had been an alarming decline in the intake in private self-financing engineering colleges during the academic year 2018-19 and 2019-20.

A study conducted by academic experts in the engineering field which was reported to the government said that the low rate of admission would make the institutions financially not viable and consequently compromise on faculty and infrastructure. It would lead to undermining the already depleted standards of education.

The study opined that indiscriminate sanctioning of courses in institutions which were below standards was against the interest of society at large. In fact, the conditions for starting new additional courses was applicable only to institutions which did not have NBA accreditation. The decision had been communicated to the AICTE.

The petitioner colleges could aspire for new courses only after getting NBA accreditation for the existing courses, the petition added.

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