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Are you one of those students who was a Science aspirant, but could not gain admission to a good college? Or are you the kind who aced Math and Science, but lost out on overall percentage because of comparatively lower grades in other subjects like languages and Social Studies?
For such students, who have made up their minds about pursuing the Science stream of education, and are further interested in taking up engineering, a diploma course is the first step towards that dream. Most of the state technical boards offer a diploma course in engineering; diploma courses in architecture and pharmacy are popular too.
What a diploma course in engineering entails
A diploma course in engineering involves:
~ The learning of fundamental engineering concepts.
~ It offers all the basic specialisations, such as electrical engineering, electronics engineering, civil engineering, and computer and IT engineering, just like a degree course does. Students can then pick the subject that interests them.
~ It is a professional course, planned so that students can take up a job in the engineering field once they earn their diplomas.
A number of students enroll themselves in a diploma engineering course only because it allows them a transfer to the second year Bachelor of Engineering degree course, which is why it is also referred to as the 'backdoor to degree engineering'.
In effect, a transfer like that means:
~ The students may not have to take Class XI and Class XII exams. Instead of a '2 years (junior college) + 4 years (degree engineering course) = 6 years' approach, the same qualification is achieved in the same amount of time with a '3 years (diploma course) + 3 years (direct second year transfer, 3 year degree course) = 6 years' approach.
~ The student also by-passes the need to pass engineering entrance exams like the Common Entrance Test (CET).
How the diploma-to-degree course transfer takes place
A certain percentage (10 percent) of the total seats in the second year of the Bachelor of Engineering course are reserved for diploma students, depending upon the kind of diploma course they have opted for.
Upon completion of the third year of a diploma course, a merit list of all students seeking admission to the second year of the degree course is prepared (based upon their performance in the third year diploma examinations). Then a centralised system of admission takes place, wherein depending upon your rank on the list, you are allowed to choose which degree college you would like to attend.
In other words, the list topper gets first preference to choose where he/ she wants to pursue an engineering degree. The lower your rank on the list, the less likely it is that you will gain entrance to the college of your choice -- you will be left with very limited options if you don't do well in your diploma exams.
Depending upon the pattern of the engineering board exams and the number of times they are conducted in an academic year, engineering diploma courses are of two types:
~ Yearly pattern: In a diploma course following this pattern, the engineering board exams are conducted only once a year. This is a three year course and students of such courses get an eight percent reservation in the second year of a degree course (a degree course with a capacity of 100 students, for instance, needs to reserve eight seats for these diploma students).
~ Semester pattern: In a diploma course following this pattern, the board exams are conducted twice a year. It is a four year course -- three years of study, and one year of industry internship. Students from this course get a reservation of two percent in the second year of a degree course (a degree course with a capacity of 100 students, for instance, needs to reserve two seats for these diploma students).
Out of the reserved seats for yearly and semester-wise diploma courses, half are merit seats, and the other half are paid for. Thus for a yearly pattern course of 100, out of eight reserved seats, four will be merit seats, and the other four will be paid for. For a semester pattern course of 100, on the other hand, out of two reserved seats, one will be a merit seat,and the other will be paid for. The fees charged for fully paid seats is considerably higher than the fees charged from merit candidates.
The cost of an engineering diploma course in each state is decided by the technical education board of the state in question. Thus, you will find that the cost of undertaking an engineering diploma course varies in different parts of the country.
An engineering diploma course can also be divided into two types, depending upon the basic entrance qualification required:
~ Post SSC diploma course: Here, students with basic SSC qualifications are accepted into the course.
~ Post HSC diploma course: Here, the minimum qualification for entrance is an HSC passing certificate.
Issues with engineering admissions this year:
Most of the yearly pattern diploma courses have been switched to the semester pattern. This is because of a ruling which states that instead of assigning eight percent of degree seats to the yearly pattern and two percent to the semester pattern, a total of 10 percent reservations will be allotted to both courses jointly.
Moreover, there has been a discussion regarding the allowance of BSc students directly into the second year of engineering. As to whether these students will have to share the 10 percent reservation with diploma course students, or will have additional reservations is not clear.
The policies described above are the ones followed by the Maharashtra and Karnataka State Boards. The admission procedures of other states, their regulations, lists of their institutes, and dates of admission for the current academic year of 2007-2008 can be accessed from the links specified below:
To know if your state offers engineering diploma courses, and to obtain a list of institutes offering the same, log onto the website of the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE),www.dte.org.in.
To access news, changes, amendments and rules of an engineering diploma course and the diploma to degree second year transfer, log onto www.aicte.ernet.in.
For students in Mahrashtra, the examination conducting body -- the Maharashtra State Board of Technical Education (MSBTE) -- runs its own website, which can be accessed at www.msbte.com.
Komal Mehta holds a Diploma in Computer Technology from Vivekanand Education Society Polytechnic, and completed her BE in Information Technology from the Sardar Patel College of Engineering.
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