All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) have now decided to officially accept engineering programmes through distance learning. These courses will now be considered a part of "blended learning". The decision is a blessing for thousands of students who are unable to pursue full time engineering programmes due to busy schedule or financial problems etc.
AICTE has taken the decision to recognise MBA and MCA programmes offered through distance learning, others courses such as BTech, MTech, pharmacy, hotel management and architecture were not given the same acknowledgement.
Matter of conflict:
The decision is in favour of students but is opposed by many. Retired DIG (Communication) with Border Security Force (BSF) Satyapal Gorowara, a resident of Civil Lines in the city, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union Human Resources Development (HRD) minister Smriti Irani in this regard.
According to him, the proposed regulation by the AICTE to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is not right and should not be approved.
In the past, the quality of these programmes had raised many job-relating concerns in companies and organizations. Recruiters have problems in approving these courses while recruiting a candidate for jobs. Even Indian Railways expressed concerns in hiring candidates who completed BTech degrees through distance learning mode. Keeping the same in mind, the ministry banned the acceptance of engineering courses through distance learning programmes.
This lead to conflict in thinking between the students and the ministry. The students protested against ministry’s decision and staged a huge hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, and a few tried to break the barricades outside Irani's residence. Along with the students, Institution of Electronics and Telecommunication Engineers (IETE) also raised their voice against the government’s decision.
Subsequently, the MHRD lifted ban in September last year saying all degrees, diplomas and certificates including those in technical education, awarded through open and distance mode, stood automatically recognized for employment, provided the courses have been approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
What’s Happening Now?
Yet again the same problem is in front of the ministry. AICTE, the apex engineering body recognizes 12,234 institutions offering engineering, management, pharmacy, and architecture courses. Currently, it doesn't recognize engineering programmes offered through distance learning mode.