After much delay, the government has decided to amend the All Indian Council of Technical Education (AICTE) Act to undo a Supreme Court ruling which had stripped the council of its powers to approve institutes offering technical courses.
An interim arrangement would be put in place till then where AICTE would set standards for technical institutes and universities would provide the affiliation. The institutes on their part would have to get themselves assessed by the National Board of Accreditation.
Disclosing this to reporters here today, Higher Education Secretary in HRD Ministry Ashok Thakur said the amendments and the interim arrangements have received the Law Ministry's nod.
"The amendment would basically restore the earlier powers of AICTE," he said without elaborating further.
He though conceded that the amendment would take its time to go through given the ensuing Lok Sabha polls.
Thakur, who headed a committee to coordinate between AICTE and UGC on the issue, said the broader guidelines would be finalised at a UGC meet on January 10 and directives issued about providing affiliations by the universities.
The decision to go for amendment in the AICTE Act comes eight months after the Supreme Court had struck down the council's regulatory powers over technical institutes.
It has said colleges affiliated to a university do not come under the purview of the definition of "technical institution" as defined in AICTE Act, 1987.
While the ruling had triggered confusion about the fate of technical education especially of the management programmes, the ministry decided to bring an ordinance to undo the apex court ruling.
However, the proposal was dropped later on as the ministry was unsure about it being carried through.
It had also approached the Law Ministry to segregate powers between AICTE and UGC for approval, only to be shot down.