It can mean an end to their trials and tribulations. Following an intense campaign by HT Education, highlighting the plight of BTech students in various colleges of Delhi University, who faced an uncertain future as their courses did not have All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) approval (mandatory for all technical instiutes), a DU pro-vice chancellor circular recently directed all institutes concerned to get the approvals. This has to be done within one week from the issuance of the letter, ie, February 19, 2015.
The DU order brings relief to 6,000 students who have been pursuing five branches of four-year BTech courses, namely computer science, electronics, food technology, instrumentation electronics and polymer science – from 17 DU affiliated colleges, without AICTE approval.
On February 4, 2014, HT Education’s story on the BTech programmes led to a number of protests by hundreds of students impacted by the story. They first demonstrated on February 9, 2015 outside the office of the vice chancellor followed by a massive rally at Jantar Mantar on February 12, 2015.
Realising the gravity of the situation, the SHO of Parliament Street police station asked the agitating students to select a group of five students who would represent them before the HRD ministry. Loveneet Narula, Dev Saluja, Nikita Khanna from Keshav Mahavidyalaya, Prerna Kaul from Maitreyi College and Shantanu Pandey from Sukhdev College of Business Studies were then accompanied by the SHO to the MHRD. They first met Satyanarayan Mohanty, secretary, higher education, and later in the evening, HRD minister Smriti Irani.
“Satyanarayan Mohanty told us that he would hold a meeting with Prof Ved Prakash, chairman UGC and Avinash Pan, chairman (acting) AICTE, to deliberate on the issue,” says Nikita Khanna.
Irani’s response was positive. “When we met Smriti Irani, she was visibly upset with the DU administration for keeping quiet on the matter for so long. She said that she had told the DU vice chancellor last year in June to ask all the colleges to apply for the AICTE approval, but the VC did not do anything. Irani was very humble and approachable when the students met her and assured us that the matter would be sorted out within a week,” adds Khanna.
“The HRD minister immediately called the secretary, higher education, putting her landline phone on speaker mode for us and directed him to resolve the issue within a week,” adds Prerna Kaul
Soon after Irani’s assurances to the students that their problems would be sorted out, the same day, at around 6 in the evening, a letter was issued by the pro-vice chancellor for all the colleges which had offered BTech courses in 2013.
The letter read, “The University of Delhi is earnestly seized of the matter of seeking AICTE recognition for the BTech course that is being offered in your college at present.”
Directing the colleges to apply for AICTE approval by February 19, 2015, the letter added, “The process to be followed for seeking this approval shall be initiated by your office with the submission of the online form by printing it and filing a hard copy of the form. It must be submitted offline (hard copy) in the office of the AICTE with all necessary documents. Please note that you may ignore the requirement of admission through an entrance test for this special approval that is being sought.”
“A copy of the form along with all documents shall also be submitted to the office of the provice chancellor by February 20, 2015,” concludes the letter, which bears the signature of Sudhish Pachauri, pro-vice chancellor. College principals say that after DU’s clarification, they would apply for AICTE approval within the given time frame.
HT Education had also reported in its story on BTech colleges that if DU colleges did not apply for AICTE approvals within February 20, 2015, they would have to wait for a year for the same.
The colleges had been waiting for the last six months for clear instructions from DU on getting AICTE approval. Now the confusion is over, Dr SK GARG, principal, deen dayal upadhyaya college