13 Mar 2021: Math, physics no longer mandatory for engineering aspirants, says AICTE
Studying mathematics and physics in Class-12 would no longer be mandatory for students wishing to join engineering courses, according to new guidelines in All India Council for Technical Education's (AICTE) Approval Process Handbook for 2021-22.
This is a significant departure from the previous norms as only those who have studied mathematics and physics in Class-12 were eligible for engineering courses until now.
Details: Entry of students from other backgrounds to engineering courses
Admission of students from other backgrounds, who haven't studied math and physics in Class-12, to engineering courses like Bachelor of Engineering (BE) and Bachelor of Technology (BTech) at AICTE-approved colleges would begin from the next academic year.
AICTE's Approval Process Handbook—guidelines for affiliated colleges—says students only need to score 45% in any three subjects in Class-12 from a list of 14 subjects to qualify.
Subjects: The list of 14 subjects specified by AICTE
The 14 subjects specified by AICTE include mathematics, physics, chemistry, computer science, electronics, information technology, biology, informatics practices, biotechnology, technical vocational subject, agriculture, engineering graphics, business studies, and entrepreneurship.
In order to be eligible for the graduate-level engineering programs, students should have studied in Class-12 and scored 45% marks (40% marks for reserved categories) in any three of the above-mentioned subjects in board exams.
AICTE's move: 'Breaking silos and promoting multi-disciplinarity': AICTE chairperson
AICTE said the move is aimed at "implementing the new National Education Policy (NEP)'s multi-disciplinary approach."
"The new NEP is all about breaking silos and promoting multi-disciplinarity. We are creating flexibility," AICTE chairperson Anil Sahasrabuddhe told TheHindu.
He compared it to offering lateral entry into engineering courses to diploma holders, who take math bridge courses after securing engineering admissions to catch up with others.
Fact: Suitable bridge courses for students from diverse backgrounds
"The universities will offer suitable bridge courses such as mathematics, physics, engineering drawing, etc. for the students coming from diverse backgrounds to achieve [the] desired learning outcome of the program," said the AICTE's Approval Process Handbook for 2021-22.
Multi-disciplinary approach: Education cannot happen in silos, even in engineering, says Sahasrabuddhe
Speaking on the NEP's multi-disciplinary approach, Sahasrabuddhe 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," he added.
Engineering: Mathematics and physics not required in all engineering courses
According to Sahasrabuddhe, math and physics are still important but the AICTE is expanding the scope for students.
"In 2010, AICTE removed chemistry as the mandatory requirement for entering engineering programs. We have a range of specializations and courses in the engineering programs, but we do not need mathematics and physics in all these courses. For instance, textiles engineering, biotechnology, etc. (sic)," he said.
Fact: 'We are only expanding the window': Sahasrabuddhe
"We are only expanding the window and providing more options for students. Mathematics, physics, chemistry are most important, and in that order... (But) We have created a window of opportunity for others. This way BE and BTech...will be...open for students from diverse backgrounds," Sahasrabuddhe said.