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After four days of relentless protests by 160 students,the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) University on Monday offered to restructure its five-year Bachelor of Planning (B Plan) to make it a four plus two year programme. However,this will be applicable only to the three batches the university has admitted since 2011.
The move will enable students to graduate with a Bachelor of Planning and a Master of Planning degree in six years. The authorities specified that it will be implemented only if all 160 students accept it and give an undertaking about the same. The 160 students of B Plan have been up in arms,concerned over their career prospects as it is the only course neither recognised by the Institute of Town Planning of India (ITPI) nor approved by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
CEPT is not considering reduction of the UG course to four years. But if a student decides to graduate with B Plan and exit the course after four years,he may do so if he fulfils all the requirements of the restructured programme. For this,we will intensify our teaching efforts to address the anxiety of the students concerned. Those wanting to pursue M Plan will not have to re-seek admission to the second part of the programme and will be integrated into the same. However,if we have to run it our way,then we have to bring it in parity with other UG courses run here,all of which are of five-years duration, said Bimal Patel,president and acting director of CEPT University.
The decision was taken after CEPT Universitys Executive Council met on Friday to discuss the demands of the B Plan students. Legal opinion on whether the CEPT University is required to obtain AICTE or ITPI approvals was also sought by the Council.
Since CEPT University has always cherished its autonomy to set its standards and to determine its own curriculum,prior approval of AICTE was not at all required before commencing the Bachelor in Planning programme in 2011. AICTE has no authority to question the commencing of the said programme. So,it was not obligatory on the part of CEPT University to obtain prior permission of the ITPI, Patel added.
The planning students held a general body meeting on the campus to discuss the options handed out to them and are working out the implications. We spoke to many senior town planners and faculty members and they advised us that the college authorities had the power to make it a four-year course. It is clear that they have not put much thought behind stipulating our course when they founded it and we have caught them on the wrong foot. We will try and push that our course be made a four-year course and that it gets AICTE and ITPI nod, said a third-year B Plan student on the condition of anonymity.
CEPT became a University by the Gujarat State Legislature Act of 2005 and has been recognised by the University Grants Commission. It was witness to student protests for the first time ever since its inception in 1962.