There is a sharp drop in the number of students joining nursing course. Of the 6,000 plus seats in 120 nursing colleges in the State, there seems to be a vacancy of nearly 600 seats after the third allotment of seats notified by the LBS Centre for Science and Technology that undertakes nursing admissions in various colleges and schools of nursing.
Last year over 400 seats remained vacant in the nursing colleges. Last year, in nursing schools, there was just over 40 per cent seat occupancy towards 6,000 plus seats in 218 schools. All the 18 government institutions are filled up first but there were few takers for the private schools.
Low salaries in private institutions coupled with nursing strikes that brought out the dismal working conditions, high benchmark for opportunities abroad and fewer intake in the government institutions created the slump, says Saji V., president of the Private Nursing College Managements’ Association.
Though there is still one more allotment to come in by the LBS besides the spot admissions, officials in the Nursing Directorate and Kerala Nursing Council do not hope that the situation would be better this year. However, Mr. Saji says it will be better for private colleges this year.
Two nursing colleges have lost recognition for lack of facilities this year and students are being taken in only in 118 colleges, says Mr. Saji.
Nursing colleges began losing students about three years ago. The nursing schools recorded the acute fall in admissions, says Prof. R. Latha, registrar, Kerala Nursing Council.
Seat occupancy was just over 75 per cent in 2010-11 which came down to about 60 per cent the next year and just over 40 per cent the last academic year.
Though some nursing schools have closed down and quite a few are on the verge of closing down, the Nursing Council’s website does not show any change of status for 2012-13.
Spot allotments took place on Monday in some colleges and another allotment is expected before August 30 —the last day for admissions.
Eight colleges under M.G. University were barred from admitting students earlier on account of lack of facilities, but the Nursing Council will decide on sanctioning allotment of seats after re-inspection, says Prof. Latha.
Ansal Mullassery, State secretary of All Kerala Nursing Teachers Association, says the government intake for filling up the vacancies in the Directorate of Health Services and the Medical Colleges is tardy.
Besides, there is only a single entry level for nurses into government service. All nurses, be it a nurse with qualification of general nursing or B.Sc nursing or M.Sc nursing, they have the same entry level into government service.