VTU: With WiFi campuses, cell phones will return to engineering colleges

Students, principals welcome the proposed removal of blanket ban on use of mobile phones in campuses after 12 years; move comes after AICTE directive.
File photo for Representational Purposes.
File photo for Representational Purposes.

BENGALURU: Students of engineering colleges under the Visvesvaraya Technological University will now be able to flaunt their cellphones in the open after more than a decade of keeping the phones hidden. A 2005 directive which instituted a blanket ban on the use of mobile phones in campuses is set to be withdrawn after instructions by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) which ask all engineering colleges to have a WiFi enabled campus.

The ban was enforced amid rising complaints of exam malpractice with the use of mobile phones and had been made applicable for both students as well as faculty. While inside the college campus during working hours, mobile phones had to be kept switched off. Now, VTU will revisit this rule, confirmed Vice Chancellor Dr Karisiddappa. “As AICTE asked college campuses to be WiFi enabled, it is the time to revisit our own circular issued long ago where usage of mobile phones was banned.” The move will bring relief to thousands of students who faced the risk of having their cellphones confiscated if found switched on.

However, according to officials from the university, the decision to withdraw the order has to be placed before the Executive Council. “As the decision to impose blanket ban on mobile phones at college campuses was passed by the Executive Council, now even to withdraw the same, it has to be decided through the Council,” explained a senior official of the university.

In an official circular issued by AICTE, on January 15, 2018, based on instructions given by the Ministry for Human Resource Development, all Higher Education institutions, universities should be WiFi enabled campuses by August 15, 2018.

Meanwhile, this move by both AICTE and VTU has been appreciated by the principals of affiliated colleges and also by students. Dr K Mallikarjun Babu, principal BMS college of engineering Bengaluru, said, “Mobile is a powerful tool and why should we think that it spreads only wrong messages? We are waiting for the university to relax the ban and simultaneously are thinking of placing it before the Academic Council and relax the ban as ours is an autonomous institute.”

Rahul M Bogase, a third-semester student, said, “It is not that we need wifi to use mobiles, many of us carry laptops and we need wifi at campuses to use them. And we are responsible students and we know how to use technology right.”

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