It is placement time at arts and science colleges, but the number of companies, nature of offers and the number of students getting placed, are not details colleges can boast of.
According to G. Thiruvasagam, Vice-Chancellor, University of Madras, the national placement average is around 12 per cent in Arts and Science colleges and in Tamil Nadu it is around nine per cent. “We still have a long way to go,” he says.
Some of visiting companies are largely from IT, BPO and banking sectors, and students with mathematics, physics, computers science, business administration and commerce are preferred. Opportunities for niche courses such as tourism, hospitality and visual communication or somebody with specialisation in one subject is grim, as the requirement in these fields is less.
Sebastina Rani Priya, a final-year BBA student, Madras Christian College, hopes to get placed when Maruti and Ford come to their college. “We had Google taking students as interns, McKinsey, as research analysts and World Bank for voice jobs, but they take a few students and there is competition.”
Government colleges want companies to visit them as their students rely on job fairs for placements. “We have companies such Eureka Forbes and pharmaceutical companies coming to take students in sales job. ,” says A. Murugan, placement officer, Dr. Ambedkar Government Arts College.
Placement coordinators of a few colleges say the salary offered to an arts and science student is less when compared to students from professional colleges.
However, preferences are changing. There are companies who prefer to take students with a B.Sc or BA degree rather than engineering as they tend to stay longer, says a placement coordinator who worked with the industry.
Universities and colleges are increasingly introducing a multi-disciplinary approach to courses so that arts and science students stand a fair chance when companies come for the requirement of their choice. Computer science is a major component in courses such as B.Com, BA and B.Sc. “We want more companies to associate with the University and conduct placement in rural colleges. With employment opportunities opening up, the University has taken up as a challenge to ensure as much students get placed,” says Mr. Thiruvasagam. It has also formed a committee representing five principals from city colleges and five from colleges in rural areas to improve the industry-institute interface and attract more placements.
Marlene Morais, Principal, Guru Nanak College, says there is misconception among students that BPO jobs and call centre job are same, which is not the case. “Companies come and address students and this presents a better picture,” she says.
Many colleges are honing the skills of students by offering classes in aptitude and communication skills. Guru Nanak College, for instance, has a 40-day pre-placement training offered by TCS as its CSR initiative to around 200 Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students free of cost.