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Consider lateral entry for military cadets discharged on medical grounds, AICTE tells institutes

AICTE makes suggestion in letter sent to affiliate institutions last week. This came after several boarded-out cadets sent letters to the Union govt seeking such a provision.   

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New Delhi: The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has asked its affiliate institutes to consider allowing lateral admission on “sympathetic grounds” to cadets boarded out of the National Defence Academy (NDA) and similar military institutions on medical grounds.

“Boarded out” is a term for military discharge on medical grounds.

In a letter sent last week and accessed by ThePrint, the AICTE — the apex body for technical education in India — asked its affiliated institutes to “explore the criteria for sympathetic consideration of such genuine cases for admission through lateral entry”.

This will apply to those who were admitted to the NDA and similar defence institutions, such as the Indian Naval Academy, but could not complete their course because of medical reasons.  

Lateral entry is a system that allows admissions directly into higher levels of education on the basis of a person’s existing qualifications. For instance, a cadet who was boarded out in the second year of their NDA course could seek admission directly into the second year of a Bachelor’s of Technology (BTech) course under this scheme.

AICTE’s purview covers not only engineering programmes but also town planning, management, applied arts and crafts, and hotel management and catering technology courses in India.    

The AICTE said in its missive that it had received letters from boarded-out officer trainees to allow them admission into civilian courses at the same level.    

“These candidates also pursue their Diploma BA, BSc, BTech, MTech courses simultaneously with the service from the same organisation but unable to complete it in such circumstances,” the AICTE letter said, citing the provision of lateral entry in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

The NEP is a new education framework that suggests sweeping changes to the country’s existing system of education. Among its various schemes is a provision to allow undergraduate students who drop out of their courses to continue where they left off if they want to pursue the course in the future. 

“It is requested that criteria for sympathetic consideration of such genuine cases for admission through lateral entry may be explored at [an] appropriate level in your esteemed institutions which shall be immensely helpful for such deserving students seeking admission midway to reshape their career,” the letter said. 

Currently, the NDA has Memoranda of Understanding with select universities and institutions for lateral entry.

Ankur Chaturvedi, a former cadet who had joined the NDA in 1992 and had to board out after his sixth term, told ThePrint that since there were only about 450 such cadets from the NDA and other academies between 1985 and 2021, their situation had gone unnoticed until now. Chaturvedi was one of those who had petitioned the central government for such a change.

He said the move would help the cadets who have trouble restarting their careers after leaving the academy midway. 

Also Read: Each undergrad student will now have to intern for 8-10 weeks, UGC approves guidelines

Petition to the PM

Chaturvedi said he wrote a series of letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan between January and March this year. The letter, signed by 50 people like Chaturvedi, asked the central government to allow them to continue their education at other institutions.

“A small number of officer cadets each year get invalidated out of training due to injury sustained during training that is inherently hazardous. Due to invalidation on medical grounds these officer cadets lose their job and their dream to serve as an officer in the armed forces,” one such letter accessed by ThePrint said.   

“In absence of resettlement/reemployment  provision by the armed forces they are left to their own fate.”

The letter said the absence of a provision that allows lateral entry into other institutions negates the time spent training in military academies.    

“I shall be grateful if you could instruct the concerned ministry and departments to make arrangements for lateral entry in 2nd year/3rd year of graduation at all universities for such cadets who are invalidated on medical grounds from academy during their tenure in NDA/MCME/CME and others,” the letter said.

“Such cadets if invalidated in 3rd year have to start their graduation afresh. As of now, there is no provision for lateral entry in 2nd year or 3rd year of graduation, the time spent in training for the nation goes in vain.” 

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

Also Read: Lateral entry in teaching? UGC working to bring in experts without PhD or NET qualification



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