Subject exemption is not possible for R18 batch, confirms JNTUH Registrar

The Registrar added that since the number of minimum credits were reduced after the introduction the AICTE's curriculum framework in 2018, subject exemption will not be allowed
Pic: Edexlive
Pic: Edexlive

"We do not want to create problems for the students. At the same time, we want to protect the quality of education. We have the best interest of the students at heart," says Dr M Manzoor Hussain, Registrar of the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad (JNTUH).

The demand from students of the R18 (Regulation 18) batch of the institute who were supposed to graduate in 2022, for subject exemption in order to clear their backlogs to get their undergraduate degree has escalated. Yesterday, October 23, the students wrote a letter to the Governor of Telangana, Tamilisai Soundararajan, requesting intervention in the matter. 

The R18 batch is so named after the regulation that was introduced in the year 2018 (the year they joined JNTUH), which, as per the guidelines of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), mandated 160 credits in each subject in order to earn the BTech degree. Before the AICTE's mandate of 160 credits, the institute had been allowing exemptions in those subjects where students did not fulfill the mandatory credit requirements, and therefore, had backlogs. This relaxation was removed from the year 2018. In their letter to the Governor, the students claim that the institute was violating the AICTE's regulations, which they claim stipulated the credit limit between 150-16o, instead of the JNTUH's rule of a minimum of 160 credits. 

Since August this year, the R18 students have been demanding relaxation on the rule against the subject exemption. They said that even though they had qualified for placements and received offer letters from companies and acceptance letters from universities for higher education, they were considered ineligible because they were not able to clear their backlogs. Allowing subject exemption would enable them to do that, the students claim. 

However, the institute has taken a different stance on the matter. "Subject exemptions have led to students leaving out core subjects in the programme. How can you claim to have cleared a certain branch without clearing the core subject in that branch? We are also tasked with the responsibility of ensuring quality education," JNTUH Registrar Dr Hussain tells EdexLive. 

According to the Registrar, before the AICTE regulations in 2018, the minimum credit requirements for some courses were 180-190 credits. "That number has reduced significantly to 160 minimum credits. We have reduced the number of credits. The subject exemption is not possible," insists Dr Hussain. He adds that all decision are taken keeping in mind the average student.

However, with the matter having gained traction, and with students approaching authorities such as Higher Education Minister Sabitha Indira Reddy earlier, and the Governor now, is there any pressure on the institute to consider the students' demands? "We have not received word from anyone on the matter. We don't mind the students requesting the authorities. They are well within their rights to do so. However, we will not allow subject exemptions. Right now, they might not understand the need for this decision, but I trust that they will comprehend it later on in life," the Registrar reflects. 

Students in the II and III years at JNTUH had also raised demands for the relaxation of the credit-based detention system. In light of their requests, the institute conducted a meeting last week between the Heads of Departments, the Directors and Principals of JNTUH's constituent colleges, and consequently reduced the percentage of credits required to be promoted from II year to III year and from III year to IV year from 50% to 25%. Also, JNTUH has announced a return to the examination pattern preceding the COVID-19 pandemic, which means question papers will now consist of Part A and Part B once again.

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