Just days before the regional Anna Universities of Technology (AUTs) are set to be merged with Anna University, Chennai, at least two batches of students have expressed reservations saying they stand to lose as a result of the move.

Students of a part-time two-year M.E. at AUT, Coimbatore, say their course would not be recognised by Anna University, Chennai, which will now be the sole affiliating university for engineering colleges. Because of this, most students will find it difficult to join a Ph.D. programme in Anna University, Chennai. There are 800 such students.

In 2007, the Anna University was split into six universities, Anna University, Chennai, and Anna Universities of Technology (AUT) in Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchi, Coimbatore and Tirunelveli. The merger will bring all AUTs under Anna University, Chennai. While other AUTs and Anna University, Chennai, have three-year M.E. courses recognised by the AICTE, the AUT, Coimbatore course alone had a two-year programme.

Students of the course say they had the same content as students pursuing the three-year course. “We had the same number of papers and subjects, with the only difference being that while other students had classes three days a week, we had classes on six days,” says a student.

The affected ones are those who finished M.E. from AUT, Coimbatore, in 2009 and 2010. “The ones who passed out in 2011 managed to register for Ph.D because they now come under Anna University, Chennai, after the merger,” says a student. The students have their degrees in various specialised subjects including VLSI, mechanical design, structural engineering and communication networks.

The students say they have been asked to produce course equivalence certificates from the director, academic courses, at Anna University, Chennai. “But the University says the degree has to be approved by AICTE. When we approached officials in our college, they said the courses were approved by the university syndicate then and needed no AICTE approval. This is almost a dead-end situation,” says a student.

“This miscommunication between authorities has left a question mark over our future because the whole point of pursuing an M.E. was to proceed with a Ph.D,” he says.

The students say they have been regularly writing to officials in AUT, Coimbatore, and Anna University, Chennai, but have received no satisfactory response.

“We have also written to the minister of higher education,” a student said. Officials at Anna University, Chennai, said they were looking into the issue.

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