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BTech bows to market

Calcutta University has decided to have four-year BTech courses from the 2015-16 academic season, replacing the three-year programme that has failed to ensure good placements for even the better students.

Half the 300 seats will be filled through the state joint entrance examination, with plus-two pass as the minimum qualification. Only science graduates are eligible for the three-year programme that is set to be scrapped.

All eight departments at the Rajabazar campus — computer science and engineering, information technology, radio physics and electronics, chemical engineering, chemical technology, polymer science and technology, applied physics, and applied optics and photonics — currently offer a three-year BTech degree.

“To begin with, we will admit 150 students through the JEE from next year. The remaining seats will be reserved for deserving science graduates, who will get direct admission in the second year,” an official said.

The logic behind the lateral entry is to benefit those who might have taken admission for a BSc degree in the hope of later enrolling for the three-year BTech course.

“If JEE is made compulsory for all 300 seats straightaway, some students could complain that they were denied admission without being informed of the change,” the official said.

The system of lateral entry for 150 seats would be followed for three years to cover the current BSc batches.

Calcutta University had been planning to tweak its BTech programme to suit “market demands” for a few years, sources said.

Companies once preferred recruiting CU graduates for their research and development programmes because they were considered theoretically stronger than their peers elsewhere who got into engineering colleges after Class XII. “But most organisations are now selecting students from four-year BTech courses. Another reason for the shift is that we are not getting the best of students because most of them choose to go for four-year BTech courses after Class XII,” said Nikhil Ranjan Das, dean of the CU engineering faculty.

Vice-chancellor Suranjan Das had been held hostage for 30 hours last September by BTech students complaining that they were being denied proper placements. “At a recent meeting, we took a decision in principle to switch to a four-year course. We plan to make the change in the next academic year,” VC Das said.

Bombay and Madras universities replaced their three-year BTech programmes with four-year ones several years ago.