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AICTE removes cap on increasing intake for well-performing engineering colleges, brings BBA and BCA under its ambit

The cap on increasing intake of students has been removed for “well-performing” engineering institutions from 2024, All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) chairman TG Sitharam announced on Wednesday. While launching the Approval Process Handbook (APH) for 2024-27, Sitharam also said that well-performing technical institutions will now be able to get approval from AICTE for three years at once and undergraduate management and computer application courses will now be brought under its ambit.

Presently, every technical education institute has to reapply for approval every year.

Before the grant of approval for the increase in intake sought by any institution, the Council shall ascertain the infrastructure and faculty availability there, according to the technical education regulator.

“As envisaged in the provisions laid down in National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and the nation’s proactive initiatives towards enhancement of Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER), the Council decided to remove the upper limit on intake allowed earlier for the courses, programs offered by existing institutions.

“This is subject to the fulfilment of infrastructure availability, its readiness and filled faculty position. Before the grant of approval to the increase in intake sought by the institution, the council shall ascertain the infrastructure and faculty availability throughan EVC (expert visiting committee),” the AICTE chairman said.

At present, colleges are allowed to have a maximum of 240 seats in one branch. The upper limit was introduced following a mismatch between demand and supply. The council has, for the first time, released a three-year handbook that will remain valid from 2024-25 to 2026-27.

The Council has also decided to bring undergraduate (UG) courses in Computer Applications (BCA) and Management (BBA/BMS) under the umbrella of AICTE to “ensure coordinated development in technical and management education.”

AICTE member secretary Rajive Kumar said that while the council is already regularising computer application and management courses at the postgraduate level, there is no regulation of these courses at the UG level.

“These courses were running without any proper regulation. Therefore, it has been decided to bring them under AICTE to ensure quality,” he said.

The Council has also decided to give provision for Extension of Approval up to 3 years for well-performing institutions.

It means, existing institutions will be eligible for getting 3 years’ extension of approval (EoA) from 2024-25 to 2026-27. However, they have to meet certain criteria including figuring in the 8th Edition of NIRF ranked Institutions, also in QS World Ranking Asia-2024, institutions having a minimum of 30 pc eligible courses with NBA accreditation having validity till 30th April 2025, institutions with valid NAAC score of 3.01 and above on a scale of 4.0, among others, the handbook stated.

Further, the AICTE has allowed a “hibernation period” for institutions looking to revamp or upgrade facilities for a year less than the maximum duration of the course. Institutions during the hibernation period will be exempted from applying for approval.

“For instance, an institution offering MTech can take a break for one year. An institution offering four-year undergraduate can take a break of three years,” Sitharam explained.

Existing institutions will be required to take prior approval from AICTE for undergraduate courses like BBA, BCA and BMS from 2024-25. The institutions, however, will be permitted to get approval for the existing number of seats “without any restrictions”.

New institutions that plan to offer the UG courses will be permitted to offer up to 300 seats with a division size of 60 or 30. The AICTE Chairman assured that the academic and governance structure running UG courses will remain the same.

As per the new APH, polytechnic colleges will also be eligible to apply for autonomy like engineering colleges in the country. Sitharam said that the polytechnic colleges with good credentials will be selected to be granted autonomy similar to engineering colleges. With autonomy, polytechnic institutions will have the liberty to design their curriculum, offer new courses and increase seats without prior approval from AICTE.

The council clarified that the institutions will not be allowed to offer courses that require mandatory laboratory components in online or open and distance learning mode. Programmes like computer sciences, data science, cybersecurity and management courses like business administration, and computer applications at the undergraduate level will be permitted.

At the PG level, certificate programmes and postgraduate diplomas in cyber security and blockchain can also be offered in online mode.

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