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Defer dual-degree switch, state to IIEST

The Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST), earlier known as Bengal Engineering and Science University (Besu), has been asked to put on hold its switch to five-year, dual-degree courses till 2015.

The state government on Thursday asked the institute to defer its decision to introduce integrated BTech-MTech programmes since the advertisement for the state joint entrance examinations (JEE) late last year had said Besu, which was yet to be upgraded to IIEST, would offer a four-year BTech course based on JEE ranks from 2014-2015.

The IIEST will admit students through the state JEE this year and will switch to the JEE Mains from next year.

Senior officials of the higher education department conveyed the government’s proposal to the institution at a meeting with IIEST representatives.

IIEST director Ajoy Kumar Ray, however, said it may not be possible for the institute to offer a four-year BTech programme because a provision in the IIEST legislation makes it mandatory for the institute to offer only five-year integrated dual-degree programmes. The director said he would forward the higher education department’s letter to the human resource development ministry to seek its opinion.

“Since we are guided by the MHRD, we will go by its opinion and convey the same to the state government,” Ray said.

Higher education department officials reasoned that since the IIEST is still admitting students through the state JEE, students might be confused as they were not aware of the switch earlier.

“Therefore, we will write to them to stick to four-year degree this year. From the next session they are free to start the dual-degree programme,” an official said.

The official said the government would write to IIEST requesting it to introduce a fee-waiver scheme for students from the economically weaker section. The IIEST had earlier said it could not offer such a scheme.

The letter would also ask the IIEST to admit students through lateral entry in the second year — a scheme not applicable to central educational institutions.

“As an IIEST we are supposed to get Rs 593 crore annually from the Centre. We don’t want to lose the money by deferring the launch of the course,” an IIEST official said.

He added that the institute doesn’t have any provision for tuition fee waiver or lateral admission.