A day after media reports had emerged that mathematics and physics at Class XII-level are being made optional for admission to engineering courses, the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on Friday said that they would be withdrawing the earlier notification that hinted at a change in the eligibility criteria for engineering courses, reports Times of India.
A major controversy had erupted on Friday after AICTE, the technical education regulator, had made Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics (PCM) optional for students who wanted to pursue technical courses like biotechnology, textile or agriculture engineering at the undergraduate level.
In a virtual release of the handbook, AICTE chairperson Anil Sahasrabudhe had said the revised regulation is in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) vision that encourages flexibility in the choice of subjects.
“In 2010, AICTE made only physics and maths mandatory for nearly seven to eight subjects. We have been facing challenges as new disciplines have emerged where many students questioned why they have to study chemistry when they don’t use it in their entire career. Similarly, many students demanded to study biology as they need to pursue biotechnology. Therefore, we are creating a new window for students who have either not taken maths or physics or chemistry but can enter into engineering,” Sahasrabudhe had said.
The AICTE also said that PCM was made compulsory for only 14 subjects, from which students can choose three and secure a minimum 45 per cent in each to take up engineering. The AICTE had also asked colleges to offer suitable bridge courses to engineering aspirants.
AICTE backtracks and withdraws the handbook, says not mandatory on institutions
However, the change in the eligibility criteria to make important application-level subjects such as Mathematics and Physics as ‘optional’ had not gone well with the public, who protested against such a change.
Following the outrage, the AICTE has withdrawn its approval process handbook (APH) for 2021-22, which had the new eligibility criteria. The AICTE has also clarified that the changes are not binding on institutions.
Clarifying the changes, AICTE chairperson Anil Sahasrabudhe said, “Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics will continue to be important subjects for certain streams of engineering like mechanical engineering, it’s not that these subjects will lose their relevance. However, for streams like Textile Engineering, Agriculture or maybe Biotechnology, students will have an option of not studying the three subjects compulsorily in class 12 and make up for them through bridge courses later”.
The AICTE, in its website, announced, “It is to inform all concerned that APH 2021-22 has been withdrawn for a typographical correction, and it will be placed again on the AICTE website within a day or two.”