Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Soon, study #MBA and #engineering in #distance mode

Soon, study #MBA and #engineering in #distance mode

In the not-too-distant future, you could become an #engineer or earn an #MBA sitting at home.

The All India Council for Technical Education (#AICTE), the apex body for #professional #courses, will allow #colleges to offer #engineering and #MBA via #distance mode, overturning the tough stand it has maintained for years. The council had earlier stated that #professional #courses like #engineering required intensive practical #training and #programmes such as an #MBA ought to have several hours of #classroom discussions and debates as business had several tones of grey that an aspiring manager must understand.

The #AICTE's change of heart will not only augment the number of #professionals in India, but will also prove to be a game-changer as the fees will be a lot lesser than what students pay to attend college. But every candidate will have to sit for an exit or a licentiate #examination, termed as the National Eligibility Test, at the end of the course before she or he is declared an engineer or the #MBA or #MCA degree is awarded.

A student should have completed a #degree or a #diploma in the #classroom mode and attained a minimum of five years of work#experience before they can take up a #professional #course via the distance learning mode.

"This will be a mixed mode of education—while practical training will take place face-to-face, theory can be conducted using ICT," AICTE chairman S S Mantha said.

The decision was taken on the recommendation of a committee headed by former IIT-Kanpur director Sanjay Dhande and IIT-Kanpur chairman M Anandkrishnan who studied the possibility of offering engineering and other professional courses through the distance mode. As Mantha explained, all professional courses except architecture and pharmacy can be conducted virtually. But a student or a class XII pass-out seeking his/her first diploma or degree cannot sign up for a BTech under this scheme.

"Essentially, there will be an entrance test and an exit exam that all students signing up for a course under the distance education mode will have to take. We have to preserve the quality of students at both the stages," Mantha added. The AICTE is currently drawing up rules and the approval process for colleges wanting to offer courses though the virtual medium. Interested colleges can apply from March 1.

Distance education:
Currently, 14 open universities and 172 other institutions offer courses in higher education via the distance mode to about 40 lakh students. Distance education courses are regulated by the Distance Education Council (DEC), a body that operates under IGNOU.

Distance education is largely confined to general streams. Some universities like IGNOU offer technical courses like an MCA but tie-up with colleges so that students can use their laboratories for practical training.

There was a tripartite committee comprising the UGC, DEC and AICTE which used to examine applications from institutes interested in offering courses via distance education, but the committee was almost defunct as the AICTE maintained that professional courses could not be imparted virtually.

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