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AICTE BIG shift in admission criteria, ‘NO maths-physics’ for engineering

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

Chennai: The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) introduced all new admission criteria applicable from the 2021-22 academic session, where students seeking admission to engineering courses will not have to mandatorily from maths and physics background. These new guidelines are for all colleges affiliated to the statutory body.

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According to AICTE’s new Approval Process Handbook, the entry of students from other backgrounds will start from the upcoming academic session in BE and B Tech courses offered by AICTE-approved colleges.

Earlier, only those who studied maths and physics in Class 12 were eligible to pursue engineering.

The big shift that made mathematics and physics at Class XII-level, optional for admission to engineering courses, requires students to have studied any three of the 14 subjects specified by AICTE in their Class 12 for being eligible to apply for a graduate-level engineering course, with at least 45% marks (40% for reserved categories) in aggregate in these three subjects in their board exams.

The 14 subjects needed for admission are: 

Physics, mathematics, chemistry, computer science, electronics, information technology, biology, informatics practices, biotechnology, technical vocational subject, agriculture, engineering graphics, business studies, and entrepreneurship.

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The move, as stated by AICTE, is a step towards “implementing the new National Education Policy (NEP)’s multi-disciplinary approach to education”.

Introducing this new education policy, AICTE chairperson Anil Sahasrabuddhe on Friday said the idea was to “break silos”, during the media briefing.

He also said “The new education policy encourages a multi-disciplinary approach. Education cannot happen in silos, even in terms of engineering courses. Today’s mechanical engineering students have to understand as much electronics, computer science, biology as any other students. For solving problems, a student of engineering also has inputs from philosophy, psychology, sociology.”

Sahasrabudhe also said that Physics, chemistry and maths would continue to be important subjects in engineering courses, but students would have the option to study biotechnology, textile or agriculture engineering through bridge courses. These guidelines were not compulsory.

Where this move by AICTE is seen as a way to open gates for engineering for students from diverse backgrounds, the policy change has also drawn wide protests, with a few voices in support.

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Welcoming the AICTE’s decision to withdraw the new criteria, Anna University vice-chancellor M K Surappa said maths is very critical to engineering.

However, extending support to this big shift in education, former vice chancellor of SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, Sandeep Sancheti said, “In principle, making Class XII-level maths and physics optional for engineering admissions is a good move. It will keep the entry open for someone who wants to correct his or her path.”

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