Test blow to distance BTech courses
An exit test conducted recently by the technical education regulator to validate the unapproved degrees of several thousand engineers has strengthened its view that BTech courses done through distance education lack the necessary rigour.
The All India Council of Technical Education held the test four months ago under Supreme Court orders for engineers who had obtained BTech and MTech degrees through the distance mode a decade ago from four particular universities.
While 72 per cent of the MTech degree holders passed the regulator’s test, only 40 per cent of the BTech graduates did.
“An analysis of (the) results reflects the PG students have performed better since they must have pursued regular UG programme or passed from a better institution/university in a regular mode,” say the minutes of a meeting of the council’s executive panel.
“The results of (the) UG students indicate that the engineering studies have been pursued by these students in distance education mode only after Class XII.”
A council official said: “The difference in the pass rates reinforces the theory that BTech courses conducted in the distance mode lack the necessary rigour.”
In November last year, the apex court had suspended the degrees of thousands of engineers who had secured their BTech and MTech degrees from four particular institutions between 2001 and 2005 because their courses lacked the required approval.
These four universities -— the Janardan Rai Nagar Rajasthan Vidyapeeth and the Institute of Advanced Studies in Education (Rajasthan), Vinayaka Mission’s Research Foundation (Tamil Nadu) and the Allahabad Agriculture Research Institute --- had obtained post-facto approval for these courses from higher education regulator UGC but not from the technical education regulator.
The apex court ruled that these engineers needed to take an exit test, to be conducted by the council, for validation of their degrees.
Some 5,500 candidates registered for the exit test in BTech and nearly 1,000 for the MTech exit exam. Nearly 3,500 took the BTech test and 750 sat the MTech test.
Manoj Kulshrestha, a teacher in the engineering department of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (which offers engineering diplomas and master’s in computer applications), too suggested that most of those who cleared the MTech exit
test “would have done their BTech courses in the regular mode”.
He suggested another possible reason for these candidates’ higher success rate: they were likely to be engineering teachers themselves.