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Engineering colleges in Telangana brace for rolling out new age courses

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Colleges allegedly play old tricks to cut costs on engaging separate faculty and propose to run new courses with existing faculty; Engineering colleges seek approvals for new courses surrendering seats in traditional branches

Hyderabad: Are engineering colleges in Telangana stepping up to introduce courses in the disruptive and new-age courses in line with the identified priority areas of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)?

If the goings-on is of any indication, leaving aside top engineering colleges, sources in the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad (JNTU-H) say "Several institutions have come forward seeking permissions to start B Tech courses in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Robotics, Internet of Things, and Cyber Security."

This, some colleges are doing by surrendering the seats approved to run in branches like Electronics, Mechanical, Civil Engineering etc. This helps them to reduce the number of classes and in turn, reduce the number of teaching faculty in those branches.

The JNTU-H is also permitting the same in line with the AICTE norms. An AICTE circular said that it will give approvals only to courses with Artificial Intelligence, Data Science, Robotics, Quantum Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain, Cyber Security, Alternative Reality or Virtual Reality (AR/VR) and 3D Printing and Design, from the academic year 2020-21.

Besides, the apex technical education regulator asked the existing institutions to go for courses with multiple specialisations in the engineering streams of biotechnology, environment, mechatronics, biomedical, aerospace etc.

Speaking to The Hans India, a senior official privy to the process of affiliations and inspections pointed out, "Some of the colleges seem to have adopted a new method to take approvals for the new courses like AI and ML, Cyber Security having close proximity to Computer Science and Information Technology." Adding, he said the colleges have faculty with requisite qualifications as per AICTE norms. But, there is no guarantee that they will be continued once the approval is received. Further, most of the MTech computer sciences and information technology postgraduates study cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and allied areas. In turn, this gives the colleges to use the same faculty teaching the BTech CSE and IT, to take classes of the students of new courses like AI and ML, Cyber Security.

"This helps in cost-cutting on engaging separate faculty for each course. But, defeats the very objective of developing quality talent pool in the new age technologies," he added. Another former member of the Board of Studies for engineering in Osmania University said that the colleges have to make new investments on labs and hiring faculty, to start multiple specialisations in the courses like Biotechnology engineering, Environment engineering, Mechatronics, Biomedical and Aerospace engineering. That apart, there is little or no possibility to use the faculty teaching any one of these specialisations to teach students of other specialisation.

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