The alarm raised by leading academicians like Professor CNR Rao over falling number of students in science education has prompted All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to come up with a dual degree course for second year BSc students. They would have a chance to obtain both B Tech and M Tech degrees after completing a new integrated programme in the science streams.
To be started from the next academic year all over the country, the students opting for the course will get both B Tech and M Tech degree after four years. "A BSc student will have an option to opt for the course in the second year of BSc. After four years, the institute will grant the student with two degrees," said Professor Damodar Acharya, chairperson of AICTE.
Aimed at producing engineers with good science background, the course will be available in emerging areas like biotechnology, material science, engineering, electronics, nano-technology and polymer science.
HRD minister Arjun Singh told state education ministers that good BSc students currently do not have enough opportunities to enter into these areas of technical education. "AICTE has approved later entry for BSc students to provide them better employment opportunities," he said.
The first integrated M Tech programme of four years in the country will be available to the students who have Mathematics as one of the core subjects in BSc. The syllabus for the new course has been developed in such a way that it suits aptitude of the students with science background, Acharya said, and assured that it will not lead to fall in the quality of the M Tech course.
"We believe that students joining this course will have a strong science knowledge to pursue the dual course," he contended.
The AICTE dual degree course, officials say, is different from dual degree courses provided by educational institutes like BITS Pilani. "In BITS Pilani the students enrol in a major programme and a second programme to obtain a dual degree. But, in the new M Tech integrated course the students will enrol only in one programme but will get two degrees at end of the course," a AICTE official told HT.
The course will be available in specialised institutes in science streams from the next academic year. "We have already intimated the institutes about the new course and very soon the list of institutes providing the integrated programme will be available on the AICTE website," the official said, adding that students in second year of BSc will be eligible to apply for this course.