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The AICTE has made major changes to the requirements for engineering admissions. Until now it was compulsory that Maths, Physics and Chemistry were essential subjects in Class 12 to study engineering. The AICTE Approval Process Handbook 2022-23 has said that it is not necessary to have studied all the three subjects in higher secondary school. “If Maths, Physics and Chemistry are not required for engineering admission, then why do JEE Main and JEE Advanced include these subjects?” wonders P V Navaneethakrishnan, former professor at Anna University who was director of entrance exam at the university.

Among the 29 undergraduate and diplomas courses in technical education, the AICTE has removed the requirement that students must have studied Maths. To study Agriculture Engineering, Biotechnology and Fashion Technology, it is not necessary to study Maths, for instance. Further, to study Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Electronics Engineering, it is not necessary to study Chemistry, the handbook says.

To study B Arch, a student must take the NATA entrance exam. To take this exam, B Arch counseling guidelines say that the student must have studied Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Anil Sahasrabudhe, chairperson of the AICTE, has said that those students studying engineering without Maths in their higher secondary, bridge courses can be conducted in the first year. But engineering college faculty say that even those who take Maths in their school find Engineering Mathematics tough. The new norms may only serve the reduce the quality of engineering education, they say, adding that already many seats in undergraduate and post-graduate courses are lying vacant.

“Can Biology be made not compulsory and taught as a bridge course in MBBS?” asks PV Navaneethakrishnan. 

Navaneethakrishnan says that when Industrial Biotechnology, Biomedical Engineering and Bio Informatics were introduced in Anna University, it was thought that Maths need not be a requirement. But later this was revised as it was found that Maths was indeed necessary. Right now, for all engineering admission, Maths, Physics and Chemistry are compulsory, he said. “Can Biology be made not compulsory and taught as a bridge course in MBBS?” he asks.

It is open to question if Tamil Nadu will follow the new AICTE guidelines. Further, if the new guidelines were to be implemented, then many entrance exams will need to be reconfigured.

How many students who have not taken Maths would even be interested in studying engineering? Does the relaxation of norms serve any purpose and end up diluting the quality of engineering education? These are the questions some educationists ask.

 


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