CHENNAI: Maths in Class XII is no longer mandatory to apply for one-third of engineering courses, including architecture, biotechnology and fashion technology, the All India Council for Technical Education announced on Tuesday.
In its new guidelines for 2022-23, the AICTE also made chemistry in Class XII optional for studying computer science, electrical engineering and electronics engineering. Maths has been made optional for 10 out of 29 diploma/UG courses.
Instead, students who studied any of 14 subjects, including computer science, electronics, information technology, biology, biotechnology, technical vocational subject, agriculture, engineering graphics, informatics practices, business studies and entrepreneurship can now pursue engineering courses.In its 2021-22 guidelines, the AICTE had made maths and physics optional for all engineering courses, drawing widespread criticism. This year, it has sought to address the concerns by limiting the courses that do not need mathematics, chemistry or physics.
"We have offered a small opportunity for students who have not studied mathematics in Class XII to join certain courses where mathematics is not important," AICTE chairman Anil D Sahasrabudhe told principals in an online meeting on Tuesday.
"As per the National Education Policy 2020, the school education system is divided into 5 + 3 + 3 + 4. The last four years are not going to be arts, science and commerce streams. They will be studying a liberal arts type of stream where the students can take mathematics, physics and psychology or chemistry and computer science. It will help such students to join any other new programme when they complete their Class XII. This window of opportunity or programme is being allowed with proper bridge courses in the first two semesters," he said.
However, educationists slammed the move saying conducting bridge courses will not help students to understand the basics of maths, physics and chemistry and will result in producing poor quality engineers.
"Minimum foundational level physics, maths and chemistry is mandatory for all BE, BTech courses. When AICTE says colleges need to conduct bridge courses, it indirectly accepts that these subjects are important for engineering. It is a wrong decision and will lead to confusion in admissions," said E Balagurusamy, former vice-chancellor of Anna University.
"Bio-technology course is a hi-tech engineering degree and many areas of bio-technology need applied mathematics. Without mathematics, students will not be able to do calculations," he added.
Teachers also opposed relaxing entry-level qualifications, saying students without maths background will not have any analytical skills when they graduate.
"Without knowing trigonometry, students cannot study architecture. Asking students to do bridge courses is not a good idea as it would burden them when they join engineering courses," said D Arivudainambi, professor from department of mathematics, College of Engineering, Guindy, in Anna University.
However, some academicians said the move would give flexibility. "This move provides students who have chosen different subjects in higher secondary an opportunity to pursue professional degree programmes," said S Vaidhyasubramaniam, vice-chancellor of Sastra.
The AICTE made it clear that maths, physics and chemistry in Class XII are mandatory for engineering courses such as civil, mechanical, chemical, dairy, energy, fire and safety, marine, metallurgy, mining, nano technology and nuclear science and technology.