Will DU colleges apply for AICTE nod for BTech courses by Feb 20?


About 6,000 students enrolled in BTech courses in 25 Delhi University (DU) colleges since 2013 will be awarded degrees that won’t be considered valid in the Indian education system. It’s because five four-year BTech programmes – computer science, electronics, food technology, instrumentation electronics and polymer science – launched as part of Delhi University’s four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) in the 2013-2014 academic session, do not have requisite approvals from the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

According to AICTE, February 20, 2015, is the last date to apply for approvals. Those who stand to lose are 6,000 bright students, who despite scoring more than 90% in the Class 12 exams, chose the BTech programme because these were being run by prestigious Delhi University colleges and were introduced under the much-hyped FYUP initiative of the human resource ministry of the previous UPA government.

On investigating, this correspondent found teachers of the programme, principals of the concerned colleges and many DU officials unable to come up with a clear answer on AICTE approvals. “Is it a mandatory requirement to run a BTech course,” one of them asked.

The answer to this is yes, AICTE approval is a must if one goes by Supreme Court orders of April 17, 2014, and May 9, 2014; HRD Minister Smriti Irani’s statement in Rajya Sabha and the University Grants Commission (UGC) circular to all DU colleges in June 2014.

The Apex court, which had stripped AICTE of its regulatory powers in a judgment dated April 25, 2013, reversed its position with two consecutive orders in 2014. “It is directed that prior approval of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is compulsory and mandatory for conduct of a technical course,including the MBA/Management Course by an existing affiliated Technical College and also new Technical College which will require affiliation by a University for conduct of its Technical Courses/Programmes for the academic year 2014-15,” the SC order dated May 9, 2014, said in the matter of Orissa Technical Colleges Association vs AICTE.

Irani, while replying to a question in Rajya Sabha in July 2014, had said that DU colleges offering BTech programmes would need AICTE approval. A similar direction vide a UGC circular dated June 29, 2014 to DU and all its affiliate colleges, said, “The colleges under Delhi University, which admitted students in the academic year 2013-14 for these programmes may, wherever required, obtain appropriate approval of the regulatory bodies such as the UGC and the AICTE and ensure that students admitted in these programmes are not put to any disadvantage.”

SC’s April 25, 2013, judgment stripping AICTE of its powers is likely to have created the confusion over approvals. The principal of a DU college, requesting anonymity, said, “It was in April 25, 2013, that the SC stripped AICTE of its regulatory powers and vested it with UGC. FYUP was introduced during that time and six branches of the existing three-year BSc (H) courses – computer science, electronics, food technology, instrumentation electronics, polymer science and psychological science – were changed to four-year B Tech programmes with some modifications in syllabus. That’s why the need for AICTE approvals was not felt then.”

After the FYUP rollback from academic session 2014-2015, UGC directed DU to continue five branches of the five BTech programmes – but only for the students admitted for the academic year 2013-2014. The colleges were also asked to seek AICTE approvals.

“There is no confusion on the question of AICTE approval for a valid BTech course. Running BTech courses without AICTE approval not only amounts to violation of the SC order, which is a serious offence, but it also causes serious hardship to thousands of bright students,” says a senior AICTE officer bearer.

AICTE approval after a year if deadline expires

April 25, 2013
SC stripped AICTE of its power to regulate technical courses and vested it with UGC

May-June 2013
FYUP introduced in DU and three-year BSc (H) was changed to four-year BTech course with UGC approval

April 17, 2014
SC restored AICTE powers to regulate technical institutes

April 2014 – Jan 2015
No Delhi University colleges running BTech courses have applied for any approval from AICTE citing various reasons

Feb 20, 2015
If DU colleges do not apply for AICTE approvals within the deadline, they will have to wait for a year for the same

I would like to inform all institutions that February 20, 2015 is the last date for application for Approval. if any college fails to do that, it will have to wait for next year –Dr Avinash S Pant, AICTE’s chairman (acting)