The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the statutory body for technical education, has revised the eligibility criteria for Class 12 students aspiring to pursue engineering courses. According to the Approval Process Handbook 2021-22, subjects such as Mathematics and Physics will not be mandatory, but optional, to get admission to undergraduate programmes such as Bachelor of Engineering (BE) and Bachelor of Technology (BTech).
Currently, passing Mathematics and Physics in Class 12 is mandatory for admission to engineering courses. This has been relaxed, in order to bring in students from diverse backgrounds, said AICTE. The technical regulator has given a list of 14 subjects — Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Electronics, Information Technology, Biology, Informatics Practices, Biotechnology, technical vocational subject, Engineering Graphics, Business Studies and Entrepreneurship. Students need to pass any three subjects from the list in Class 12 or 10+2.
Students who pass any three subjects from the list, with a minimum of 45% marks in the Class 12 board examination will be eligible for engineering courses. Currently, students are admitted to engineering courses based on their scores in entrance exams as well as their Class 12 scores in Physics and Mathematics.
Some educational experts have concerns, as Physics and Mathematics are subjects that are critical to understanding the concepts of engineering. And Class 12 lessons in these subjects provide an important foundation. They feel students that have studied Physics and Mathematics will have a better grasp of the field when pursuing further education, compared to candidates who do not have basic knowledge of the subjects.
The AICTE has, however, said that the universities will offer appropriate bridge courses, in subjects including Mathematics, Physics, and Engineering Drawing, among others, to help students from diverse subject backgrounds to achieve the desired learning outcome of the programme, reported Outlook India.
According to the Times of India, Mathematics runs up to the fifth semester in AICTE's model curriculum for almost all engineering programmes. Anil D Sahasrabudhe, the Chairman of AICTE, told the newspaper that the choice of three mandatory courses for engineering courses has been expanded. He said that a student without Mathematics will be required to do a lot of courses on the subject. According to the AICTE Chairman, the new regulation will be in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) and in the new education system of 5+3+3+4, which will not have arts, science and commerce streams.
AICTE vice-chairman MP Poonia told Outlook that the exam syllabus of Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) — the entrance exam for admission to undergraduate engineering courses at technical institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and National Institutes of Technology (NITs) — may change in the future.