More seats may go abegging this yearAug 10th, 2009 | By editor | Category: Education, Specials
Engineering admissions through the government’s single window counselling comes to an end this week, and students are getting ready to join college and start their courses early next month. It seems a good time to take stock of this year’s admission process and some plans for the year ahead.
The Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions process has seen 1.23 lakh applicants this year, with over 72,000 of those students being allotted seats over the month-long process. However, with 91 new colleges starting operations in the State this year — including one which joined the counselling process only on Saturday — the number of seats has also snowballed, leading to a large pool of vacancies. As of Friday night, over 36,000 vacancies remained, with just three days of counselling left. Thus, the final vacancy figure is likely to be much higher than last year’s figure of 7,800.
The number of vacancies in proportion to the total number of seats allotted is also much higher than last year, when 78,000 seats were allotted. Clearly, engineering as a career option has managed, but barely managed, to hold on to its popularity this year, despite the economic downturn. It has not seen the growth that was expected by the over-optimistic managements of the new engineering colleges which mushroomed this year. In fact, there are 45 colleges which have not even managed to attract 20 students this year.
Students and parents responded to the economic slowdown by a clear change in the choice of subjects. The trend this year was a continuation of the popularity of Electronics and Communication Engineering as a subject with wide scope, a shift toward the core engineering options of Mechanical and Civil streams, and a clear fall from grace for software-related subjects, including a dip in the number of students opting for Computer Science, and a much steeper plunge in the numbers opting for Information Technology.
For the record, here are the figures as of Friday night — while ECE topped the popularity charts with 18,058 students, Mechanical and Civil Engineering continued to rise in the opinion of students, snagging 13,201 and 6,506 students respectively. In fact, 86 and 79 per cent of seats available in these two streams were taken, giving food for thought to managements over the comparatively high-demand, low-supply scenario in core subjects.
In contrast, only 50 per cent of the seats available in Computer Science were allotted, a total of 11,221 seats, while IT managed to fill just 38 per cent of seats, with less than 6,000 students.
Students seemed to be reacting to reports of a placement freeze among large software company recruiters last year. However, the Anna University is hopeful that this situation will improve in the coming year. “Bulk recruiters have promised to come for campus placements from late November or early December this year,” said vice-chancellor P. Mannar Jawahar. However, he says that core recruiters, although likely to hire in smaller numbers, have already begun the placement process this year.
“Core companies, especially in the auto space, also suffered from the downturn last year, but they have clearly recovered and hiring is seeing an upswing,” he said.
The university is also taking steps to improve the employability of all its students this year, especially those in affiliated colleges.
“The Central government has given us funding to conduct training programmes for all final-year students in employability skill development this year,” said Dr. Jawahar, adding that while Anna University, Chennai, would prepare the model for these courses, especially in soft skills, they would be taught by special trainers brought in from outside.
Overall, though, Dr. Jawahar believes it is in the best interest of all colleges themselves, especially those which have just begun operations, to ensure the best quality educational experience for their students.
“There are many vacancies in many colleges. Only those offering quality education can survive. The rest will be forced to close down,” he said, expressing the hope that “healthy competition” will ensure better quality in engineering education in this new academic year.