From the 2021-22 academic session, students seeking admission to engineering courses will not have to mandatorily study maths and physics in Class 12, according to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)’s new Approval Process Handbook, which lays down guidelines for colleges affiliated to the statutory body.
WHY IS IT SIGNIFICANT?
This is a departure from the past. Earlier, only those who studied maths and physics in Class 12 were eligible to pursue engineering.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
The entry of students from other backgrounds will start from the upcoming academic session in BE and B Tech courses offered by AICTE-approved colleges.
Students having studied in Class 12 any three of the 14 subjects specified by AICTE can apply for a graduate-level engineering course, but they must score at least 45% marks (40% for reserved categories) in aggregate in these three subjects in their board exams.
WHAT ARE THE 14 SUBJECTS?
Physics, mathematics, chemistry, computer science, electronics, information technology, biology, informatics practices, biotechnology, technical vocational subject, agriculture, engineering graphics, business studies, and entrepreneurship.
WHY THE SHIFT?
AICTE says the move is a step towards “implementing the new National Education Policy (NEP)’s multi-disciplinary approach to education”.
On Friday, AICTE chairperson Anil Sahasrabuddhe said the idea was to “break silos”.
In a media briefing, he compared the move to the lateral entry provision for diploma holders in engineering colleges. Such students take maths as bridge courses after their engineering degree admission to catch up with the rest. The same will be followed in this model.
According to Sahasrabuddhe, AICTE is taking the lead role in implementing NEP’s multi-disciplinary approach. “The new education policy encourages a multi-disciplinary approach. Education cannot happen in silos, even in terms of engineering courses. Today’s mechanical engineering students have to understand as much electronics, computer science, biology as any other students. For solving problems, a student of engineering also has inputs from philosophy, psychology, sociology,” he said.
He said NEP emphasised promoting skill education at school-level and having generic education in the four years that precede a graduation programme. He added that institutions are preparing for future steps to pursue multidisciplinary education.
WHAT ABOUT MATHS AND PHYSICS?
They remain important with AICTE saying it is only expanding the scope for students. “…in 2010, AICTE removed chemistry as the mandatory requirement for entering engineering programmes. It will be incorrect to say that mathematics and physics are not mandatory. We have a range of specialisations and courses in the engineering programmes, but we do not need mathematics and physics in all these courses. For instance, textiles engineering, biotechnology etc. We are only expanding the window and providing more options for students,” Sahasrabuddhe said.
“Mathematics, physics, chemistry are most important, and in that order…(But) We have created a window of opportunity for others.”
This way BE and BTech degree courses will be in a way open for students from diverse backgrounds, he said.