NDA calls off BTech degree, UoP clueless

A BTech degree awarded by the University of Pune (UoP) for National Defence Academy (NDA) cadets, announced in May by the former NDA commandant seems to have been called off as the reply to an RTI query by The Indian Express reveals.

"NDA has not signed any MoU with University of Pune regarding BTech course for NDA cadets. Further, the NDA is not running any BTech course," said the reply signed by A A Devikar, vice-principal and PIO, NDA, Khadakwasla. It is learnt the course was called off due to objections by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) that awards BA and BSc degrees to NDA cadets. Engineering is a four-year course at UoP, whereas cadets spend three years at NDA after which they are sent to IMA Dehradun, INA Ezhimala and AFA Secunderabad.

Former NDA commandant Lt Gen Jatinder Singh had on May 23 told reporters, "NDA is planning to confer cadets having science and humanities background with Bachelor in Engineering with military specialisation, and Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Pune."

Sources, however, said the BTech degree was made applicable in January itself and about 200 cadets per course (80 per cent of those joining) for the last two courses-127th course that joined in January and 128th course that joined in June-enrolled. It is learnt an agreement was reached between the UoP and NDA and there were plans to introduce specialised engineering courses in the third term of every batch.

The BTech degree was apparently withdrawn in October, before the third term of the 127th course. The NDA had also hired staff on contract for the BTech degree, though no information could be obtained whether they have been told to wind up.

The BTech degree at NDA is an old, and commandant-driven issue. The usual pattern, though there is no hard and fast rule is it gains momentum during the tenure of a commandant from the Navy, stays unmoved when the commandant is from the IAF and and is opposed during the tenure of commandant from the Army, sources say.

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