Published: 16th April 2020
AICTE asks engineering colleges not to sack faculty, force fee payment until normalcy is restored
AICTE's notice to institutes specifically focused on curbing the menace of rampant fake news and misinformation being spread on social media amid the COVID-19 lockdown
After the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued consolidated revised guidelines on measures to be taken by Ministries and Departments of Government of India, state and Union Territory governments and authorities for the containment of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) put out detailed guidelines for educational institutes across the country during lockdown 2.0. As per Central Government guidelines on April 15 following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement of lockdown extension, all educational, training, coaching institutions have been asked to remain closed.
AICTE's notice to institutes specifically focused on curbing the menace of rampant fake news and misinformation being spread on social media amid the COVID-19 outbreak. It urges the public and the student community to rely on the information published on the official website of AICTE, the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). "Various interest groups/individuals are circulating fake news on social media platforms thereby creating misinformation and rumours. Discouraging any such fake news and reporting the matter to concerned authorities would be the prime responsibility of all stakeholders. It is also advised that any information published on the official website of MHRD/LliGC/AICTE only may be relied upon. Hence, these websites may be regularly perused for any updates. Similarly, for other government circulars. official websites of the concerned Ministries/Departments may be referred to," states the circular.
Another instruction included in the circular that the statutory body wants institutes to strictly comply is the matter of payment of fees. "It has come to the knowledge of AICTE, that certain standalone institutions are insisting that students should pay the fees, including admission fees, during the lockdown. It is clarified that colleges/institutions should not insist on payment of fees till the ongoing lockdown is lifted and normalcy is restored," it states clearly. It also adds that further guidelines in this regard communicating the revised timelines will be issued by AICTE in due course and directed all colleges/institutions to display this information on their website and also communicate the same to the students through email.
Amid news of institutions not paying their faculty or some even terminating services, AICTE strictly clarifies in its circular that salary and other dues to the faculty/staff members will be released for the duration of lockdown and also terminations, if any, made during the lockdown will be withdrawn. Hence, the same should be strictly complied with. A letter in this regard has also been issued to the respective Chief Secretaries of all States/UTs including reimbursement of fees to colleges/institutions, it adds.
Earlier the technical education regulator had also asked the institutes to provide internships in which students can work from home adhering to the lockdown regulations. In its current circular also AICTE reiterated the same and asked institutes to extend the period of completion of internships until December 2020 in case some are not feasible from home.
The circular also talks about the online classes and semester examinations that are already being conducted in schools and colleges across India. Finally, it urges institutions to allow students of other colleges/ institutions in their vicinity to access the internet facility as some are unable to access the internet or have low bandwidth in certain rural areas in the light of the lockdown. "All colleges and institutions must strictly adhere to these instructions, failing which action will be taken as per the prevailing rules," states the circular.