Maths and Physics are no longer compulsory subjects for those aspiring to study engineering after school according to the new handbook released by the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE). The new development is on par with the multidisciplinary guidelines of the National Education Policy.
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Admission Requirements Prior to this Change
All students aspiring to study Bachelors of Technology/Bachelor of Engineering at the undergraduate level are required to have Maths, Physics and Chemistry as compulsory subjects at the 10+2 examination level. Engineering colleges across India allocated seats via entrance exams based on subjects like Maths, Chemistry and Physics and consider 12th Board results before offering admission. With the new changes in place, students have the option of selecting any of the 14 subjects approved by AICTE for admissions to engineering programmes.
AICTE approval process handbook for 2021 offers students a list of acceptable subjects like Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Electronics, Information Technology, Biology, Informatics Practices, Biotechnology, Agriculture, Technical Vocational Subject, Engineering Graphics, Business Studies and Entrepreneurship. Students have the option of studying any of the three subjects at the 10+ 2 level in order to meet the new criteria for engineering and technology admissions.
AICTE has also clarified the minimum marks required for different categories. Students belonging to the unreserved category must obtain 45% or above marks, while students who belong to the reserved category must obtain 40% or above marks in the qualifying exam.
Universities have also been instructed to provide bridge courses in subjects like Physics, Maths, Engineering drawing and more depending upon the specialisation. This is to accommodate the students coming from diverse educational backgrounds.
According to the AICTE Council Chairperson Dr Sahasrabudhe, this is an opportunity for those who wish to study engineering programmes but did not have maths and physics as compulsory subjects in the qualifying exams. He also stated the importance of maths, physics and chemistry as foundational subjects for engineering and suggested bridge courses in the first year of the engineering programmes to bring students up to date.
Criticism on Maths and Physics not Mandatory for Engineering
Many academicians and professors have criticised this new amendment by the AICTE. They have criticised the removal of maths as the compulsory subject, stating that it is an important foundational subject for studying engineering and the bridge courses are neither sufficient nor a substitute for class 12 mathematics.
Experts have highlighted that the move will likely affect the calibre and quality of engineers in India. Experts have also stated that popular courses like artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science require a deep level of mathematical understanding and students cannot shine in these courses without maths.