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Stage set for engineering counselling

V. Jayanth

Over 37,000 seats in 227 colleges up for grabs but not all may be filled

  • Fewer students in the top rung
  • Rush is for computer related courses
  • Manufacturing sector wants "traditional" engineers
  • Private colleges will "regularise" admissions made

    CHENNAI: Counselling for the engineering seats in the State, under the Single Window System (SWS) of the Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions (TNEA) is set to begin on Wednesday, when the sports category will be taken up first. Regular counselling for the academic stream will begin on July 30. Though there are an estimated 37,675 seats in 227 colleges through the SWS, the authorities expect at least a fifth of the seats to remain unfilled after the first round.

    Expecting to fill up all the seats under the "management quota," the private self-financing colleges have, on an average, given up only the prescribed 50 per cent seats in the non-minority institutions. Because of the confusion over the admissions process and the delay in starting the exercise, a good percentage of the students have joined the Deemed Universities (DUs), which have completed their admissions well ahead.

    Academics and analysts say that two categories of students prefer to wait for the SWS — the top rankers who are confident of securing "good seats in good colleges," and the average students who are hoping to get into a "good college," even if they are not able to get a discipline of their choice. The rush this year is predominantly for Computer Science, IT and Electronic and Communications Engineering courses. As such, they predict that even students with a cut off, of say, 260 marks out of 300 can aspire to bag a set in one of the traditional courses in a college of their choice.

    According to Salem-based analyst Jayaprakash Gandhi, hardly 20 students from the State may have got into the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, which absorbed over 200 students last year. As such, the pressure on the top colleges and most sought after courses was bound to be high.

    Though there was a drop in the cut-off marks for engineering courses, the difference got blurred below the 250-mark level. For instance, there were only 75 students who scored over 290 out of 300 this year compared to 294 students last year. But at the 250-mark cut-off, the numbers evened out — 12,100 this year against 13,000 last year. At 240 marks the numbers were 17,800 and 18,500 respectively. So the fight for the "marginal seats" was going to be stiff.

    With the rival association of colleges taking the issue of Common Entrance Test (CET) to the High Court on Tuesday, the stand off between this forum and the Consortium of colleges that has secured the privilege of conducting the CET has intensified. Students and parents do not want the CET on August 6 and 7 as it will clash with the counselling under the SWS and those who get their call those days may not be able to sit for the examinations.

    Enquiries with parents reveal that many of them have obtained admission for their wards in leading private colleges in the "management quota." They are no doubt confused about the conduct of a CET for admissions, but have been reassured by the managements that the admissions already granted will be honoured.

    "The CET is no more than an exercise to regularise and legitimise the admissions already made," says K. Vetrivel, whose son has got an Electrical and Electronics Engineering seat in a top-of-the-rung college near Chennai.

    Industry caution

    Meanwhile, top executives of manufacturing industries are trying to drive home the message that parents and students alike should not rush after just Computer Science and IT courses.

    "We know that pay scales and perks in the IT sector are much higher than the rest of the industry. But we need to produce mechanical, electrical and civil engineers as well. The entire manufacturing sector is doing well now," says an industry spokesman.

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