ADMISSION TO engineering colleges across the country will soon be conducted through a single entrance exam similar to the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical admissions. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on Tuesday passed a regulation to conduct a national-level common engineering entrance exam from the academic year 2018, amid opposition from representatives of West Bengal and Tamil Nadu government.
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The regulation was among a series of decisions taken by the AICTE to overhaul the engineering education system. The AICTE, that governs all technical institutes, had convened a meeting with states in New Delhi to discuss the details of the regulation.
The common entrance exam was welcomed by all states, except Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. The regulation was drafted and passed at the behest of the HRD Ministry, which had asked the AICTE in February to make an exam on the lines of NEET mandatory for admissions to BTech courses.
According to government sources, the National Testing Service (NTS) — announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech — will be tasked with conducting the common entrance test more than once a year. The IITs may be the only exception and continue admitting students through its Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced).
The AICTE is confident that states opposing the regulations will relent as the Supreme Court has passed a verdict in favour of national tests for admission to medical and dental colleges. Among other reforms, the regulatory body has decided that the curriculum for engineering courses will be revised once a year instead of once in five years, as is the practice now.
Addressing the issue of the increasing number of vacant seats in engineering colleges, the AICTE has asked states to submit a 10-year perspective plan for engineering courses.
Engineering students will also go through a two-month induction programme at the beginning of their course and finish it with a skilling programme. The latter is aimed at bridging the gap between industry requirements and the students’ vocation.