Engineering colleges are awaiting clarity from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) on whether a candidate who has qualified in M.Tech Computer Science and Engineering after completing MCA or M.Sc. in Computer Science or Information Technology is eligible for appointment as assistant professor in CSE or IT.

An ambiguity has apparently been created by AICTE's interpretation of the norms of University Grants Commission (UGC) for faculty eligibility, according to college heads. While the UGC stipulation is that a candidate holding master's degree with 55 per cent marks in the appropriate branch of engineering and technology is eligible for appointment as assistant professor, the AICTE norm is that a candidate must possess BE/B.Tech and ME/M.Tech in relevant subjects with first class or equivalent either in BE/B.Tech or ME/M.Tech.

In several colleges, there are teachers in CSE and IT departments who have completed their M.Tech based on their MCA or M.Sc. Computer Science qualifications. For long, higher educational institutions have been equating B.Tech with MCA and M.Sc Computer Science/ Information Technology, for admitting candidates into ME/ M.Tech programme, said M.A.Maluk Mohamed, Principal, M.A.M. College of Engineering.

The AICTE's norm was likely to create a piquant situation for the institutions which had appointed faculties with M.Tech qualification that they had acquired after completing MCA/M.Sc, college heads apprehend, explaining that commonalities in course contents for computer science and computer applications are well known.

Nevertheless, rigid compartmentalisation of science and engineering disciplines was anachronistic at a time when higher educational institutions in developed countries are attaching special significance to the concept of ‘confluence engineering', a mix of engineering and applied sciences, to arrive at innovative solutions, they felt. Their observation was that the AICTE was, in fact, not against admitting science students into engineering programmes, to pave way for vertical mobility. However, nullifying M.Tech acquired after MCA or M.Sc., as eligibility for faculty appointment, was a dampener, they admitted.

The college heads say the AICTE guidelines for appointing faculties in English and science subjects, which the students are required to study in the first year, are also not clear. However, to be on the safer side, the colleges recruit candidates with additional qualifications of M.Phil and/ or doctorates.