‘DU’s innovation centre needs no AICTE approval’


Started in 2011 with a thrust on innovation and research, Delhi University’s Cluster Innovation Centre (CIC) offers a unique BTech programme in IT and mathematical innovations. But CIC students are concerned about the status of their course, change in their course structure and availability of transcripts. “This can be a huge concern if another institution or organisation raises this question once we go in for a master’s degree or apply for a job,” says Madhav Mishra (name changed), a student.

The first batch of the BTech course will be graduating this year. Since CIC was established by the university, its officials say it does not need an AICTE approval. “Any department or centre that is part of a university governed by the UGC rules is in no way under the jurisdiction of the AICTE. Functioning of CIC is decided by the university’s academic and executive councils within the framework of UGC rules,” says Professor Madan Chaturvedi, director, CIC.

After the Supreme Court’s last judgment in May 2014 which clarified that prior approval of AICTE is compulsory and mandatory for conduct of technical course by existing affiliated technical colleges for the academic year 2014-15, does this mean that the CIC is fully exempted from taking an AICTE approval and can function as per its own rules?

“If a Central or a State university is running a programme in its own department, it does not need an AICTE approval upfront, provided it follows the rules and regulations laid down by the AICTE. If an institute affiliated to a university is running a BTech programme, it requires an approval from the AICTE,” says SS Mantha, former chairman, AICTE.

However, there are other pertinent questions that the students and the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA)  have raised. CIC was earlier offering BTech /BS innovation with mathematics and IT. The course structure and name were then changed in 2014. Since course structure and name of the degree has been changed, the question is what degree will the outgoing batch be awarded? If the new one, will their course structure reflect the latest one?

Bibhu Biswal, programme coordinator, BTech (IT and mathematical innovations), says, “The change of the name and the structure are two separate decisions of the academic council. The new name of the degree is valid for all students passing out from the year 2015 onwards. So the first outgoing batch this year will obtain the degree BTech (IT and mathematical innovations). Their syllabus has not been changed. Their transcript will reflect the structure of the course approved in 2011-2012 session when they took admission. This will also be the case for the batch of students taken admission in 2012-13 sessions. The change in the course structure and the new syllabus is valid for the batches taken admission from 2013-2014 sessions onwards. Their transcript will reflect that.”

The centre also started a course called BTech (humanities) under the Meta College concept but the name was changed to BA (hons) humanities and social sciences last year. DUTA members had also submitted a white paper to the visitor (President of India), MHRD and UGC citing violations of the UGC Act in setting up of CIC. “Three courses conducted under CIC are in violation of the UGC rule that require such courses to be sent to the UGC for approval six months prior to introduction. The course was neither designed nor approved by any of the statutory bodies specified in Statute 10, Ordinance XIV-B(6) and Regulation 16-A(4) for the introduction of a new course so that all scrutiny of its structure and content was excluded,” says the paper. Meetings with the executive and academic councils were also convened without the necessary prior notice, the paper stated.

About CIC
The centre was set up to develop ideas into innovative applications
CIC was established in 2011 and works in collaboration with National Innovation Council, government of India
It has collaborated with organisations like Defence Research Development Organisation and PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industries