The Supreme Court has stated in a recent development that it is mandatory for the institutes which offer technical programmes and courses to their students through the mode of distance learning to seek recognition and approval from the AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) and the UGC (University Grants Commission). An exit test was conducted by the AICTE for validating the unapproved degrees of as many as several thousand engineers. It has strengthened the deduction that the B.Tech (Bachelor of Technology) courses that are done via distance education almost always lack the rigour that is necessary.
The exit test that was taken by the AICTE was held about four months ago and it was for engineers who had obtained their B.Tech and M.Tech (Masters in Technology) degrees through the mode of distance education a decade ago from four specific universities. While 72 per cent of M.Tech graduates cleared the regulator’s tets, only 40 per cent of the B.Tech degree holders did.
The conclusion was formed that the postgraduate students performed better because they must have done a regular undergraduate programme or completed their B.Tech from a better institute through the regular mode. The poor performance of the undergraduate students indicated that they had pursued engineering studies directly after class 12th (10 + 2) in the distance education mode. As per the officials, the difference that has been revealed in the pass rates of students of both the categories reinforces the theory that there is a lack of the necessary rigour in the B.Tech courses that are offered in the distance mode.
Last year, in the month of November, the degrees of thousands of engineers who had completed their M.Tech and B.Tech from four particular institutions from the year 2001 to 2005 were not validated by the court. The courses did not have the required approval, hence the court had to take this step of invalidating their degrees.
These four universities are the Allahabad Agriculture Research Institute, Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation (Tamil Nadu), Institute of Advanced Studies in Education (Rajasthan), and Janardan Rai Nagar Rajasthan Vidyapeeth. They had received post-facto approval from the higher education regulator, which is the UGC, for these courses but they were not approved by the technical education regulator, AICTE.
The court had made it mandatory for these engineers to take an exit test which was decided to be conducted by the AICTE in order to validate their degrees. The idea of conducting a test for gauging the knowledge of all these engineers was a good move and a fair decision taken by the Supreme Court.