Panel asks AICTE to add MTech courses on 5G, 6G technologies, increase seats

Experts’ panel recommendations are in line with PM Modi’s ‘Bharat 6G’ initiative. UGC has also asked higher education institutes to make upgrades.

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The panel has recommended an increase in intake by 20% to 50% of MTech and PhD programmes especially in IITs and NITs (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)The panel has recommended an increase in intake by 20% to 50% of MTech and PhD programmes especially in IITs and NITs (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

R. Radhika | December 1, 2023 | 04:47 PM IST

NEW DELHI: To pave the way for 6G services in the country and leverage the 5G technology in India, a panel of experts has recommended that the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) upgrade curriculum with emerging technologies in MTech and PhD levels.

A standing committee constituted by the department of telecommunication in its report released on Thursday has prepared a list of additional topics to be included at the MTech level and research areas based on subjects taught in Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and eminent foreign universities. Higher education regulator University Grants Commission (UGC) has also directed higher educational institutions to make suitable upgrades.

The recommendations are in line with the ‘Bharat 6G research and development testbed’ launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March this year. The “6G Test Bed” initiative will provide academic institutions a platform to test and validate the evolving technologies.

“To meet the emerging trends and challenges posed by 6G and leverage the full potential of 5G features, it is imperative that our future researchers and engineers possess the necessary skills and mindset. Achieving the objectives of 6G communications requires a consensus on emerging concepts and enabling technologies. Consequently, it is crucial to update and adapt the undergraduate and graduate education of communications engineering to the demands of the pre-6G era,” the report said.

MTech, PhD: Emerging tech courses

The panel has recommended AICTE to incorporate add-ons in existing courses and propose new courses on emerging technologies like 5G NR and core, satellite, optical wireless communication and communication in millimetre wave and THz band, and reconfigurable intelligent surfaces.

Specialised MTech programmes in terahertz communication, optical communications and satellite communications are also proposed for consideration.

At the PhD level, the committee has also identified probable research topics that may be needed for RF Design, RF chip development, telecom standardisation, intellectual property rights and manufacturing among others.

“These areas of research can provide a foundation for PhD programs that aim to address the needs of telecommunications in 6G, optical communications and satellite communications. As technology advances and new challenges emerge, it is essential to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in these fields to identify further research opportunities” the report said.

Increase in MTech, PhD seats

The panel further recommended an increase in intake by 20% to 50% of MTech and PhD programmes especially in IITs, National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other prominent technical institutions.

Data on the current approved intake for MTech and PhD programs in the field of telecommunications across institutes under the purview of the Indian Institutes of Science (IISc), Indian Institutes of Sciences, Education and Research (IISER) was compiled by the committee.

The data provided by the AICTE to the committee suggests high demand for MTech and PhD courses in IITs and other top institutes as these institutes are properly equipped with faculties and lab facilities to carry such courses. However, other engineering colleges are failing to fill the seats.

The committee also suggested IITs and other renowned institutions to provide mentorship to 20-25 AICTE recognised institutes in a “hub-and-spoke model”. “These esteemed institutions will offer guidance and support to the participating institutes in curriculum development, research initiatives, industry collaborations and practical training. The mentorship provided by IITs will ensure that the MTech programs align with the latest industry trends and standards, thereby enhancing the quality and relevance of the education imparted,” the report stated.

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