AICTE launches new approval handbook, removes cap on intake in top engineering colleges

AICTE Handbook 2024: UG management and computer application courses like BBA, BCA and BMS will be brought under the ambit of AICTE from academic year 2024.

Existing institutions will be required to take prior approval from AICTE to offer BBA, BCA and BMS from 2024-25. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)Existing institutions will be required to take prior approval from AICTE to offer BBA, BCA and BMS from 2024-25. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

R. Radhika | December 6, 2023 | 02:14 PM IST

NEW DELHI: All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on Wednesday launched the first-ever three-year approval handbook that will remain valid from the academic year 2024 till 2027.

AICTE chairman TG Sitharam introduced several changes in the approval process that will remain the same for a three-year period instead of the usual one-year exercise. Among the major changes, the AICTE has relaxed the upper limit on increasing intake for “well performing” institutions provided the quality of education is maintained.

“We have attempted to make a light and easy to comply policy so that we can encourage technical institutions across India to reach the target of increasing the gross enrolment ratio to 50%,” Sitharam said at the launch event. Raising the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education to 50% by 2035 is one of the National Education Policy’s (NEP 2020) explicit and time-bound goals.

For the first time, undergraduate management and computer application courses like bachelor in business management (BBA), bachelor of computer applications (BCA) and Bachelor of Business Management (BBM) will be brought under the ambit of AICTE. Institutions offering BBA, BCA and BMS will have to take mandatory approval from AICTE form the next academic year. The technical education regulatory authority will also prepare curriculum for these courses. More than 7,500 higher educational institutions offer undergraduate computer application and management programmes, as per the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE).

“There are no big changes that are being introduced in the first semester and there is no reason for students to panic. We have panels preparing the three and four year BBA programme. We will launch the curriculum soon,” Sitharam said.

The APH 2024-27 was put for public consultation till November 22. “We have received more than 600 suggestions and comments on the draft APH. Some of the suggestions have been included to streamline the approval process,” he added.

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Three-year approval

As per the new approval handbook, technical institutions that feature in National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) Ranking 2023, Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranking and have at least 30 percent of the courses accredited by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) and have 80% enrollment in the last three years will be eligible to apply for a three-year approval in one go.

Existing institutions can increase intake and add courses provided the institution has ready infrastructure, faculty verified by the expert visiting committee and offer at least three core engineering branches or region specific branches.

Technical institutions that have 80% enrollment in the last three years will also be encouraged to offer one division in every course with supernumerary seats dedicated to working professionals with flexible timing. Institutions located in ‘aspirational districts’ like Jammu and Kashmir, Leh Ladakh and northeastern states will also get relaxations to offer courses to working professionals.

Further, the AICTE has allowed a “hibernation period” for institutions looking to revamp or upgrade facilities for a year less than the maximum duration of the course. Institutions during the hibernation period will be exempted from applying for approval. “For instance, an institution offering MTech can take a break for one year. An institution offering four-year undergraduate, can take a break of three years,” Sitharam explained.

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Existing institutions will be required to take prior approval from AICTE for the undergraduate courses like BBA, BCA and BMS from 2024-25. The institutions, however, will be permitted to get approval for the existing number of seats “without any restrictions”.

New institutions that plan to offer the UG courses will be permitted to offer up to 300 seats with a division size of 60 or 30. The AICTE further assured that the academic and governance structure running UG courses will remain the same.

Autonomy to polytechnic institutions

As per the new APH, polytechnic colleges will also be eligible to apply for autonomy like engineering colleges in the country. Sitharam said that the polytechnic colleges with good credentials will be selected to be granted autonomy similar to engineering colleges.

With autonomy, polytechnic institutions will have the liberty to design their curriculum, offer new courses and increase seats without prior approval from AICTE.

Online and ODL courses

The council clarified that the institutions will not be allowed to offer courses that require mandatory laboratory components in online or open and distance learning mode.

Programmes like computer sciences, data science, cybersecurity and management courses like business administration, computer applications at the undergraduate level will be permitted. At the PG level, certificate programmes and postgraduate diploma in cyber security, block chain can also be offered in online mode.

The AICTE has also suggested books on emerging technologies and outcome based curriculum that the institutes are required to comply with.

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