Brochures and websites boast of near 100% campus recruitments to woo prospective students

Class XII exams are not over yet but self-financing engineering colleges have begun canvassing for prospective students.

Glistening placement brochures and revamped websites apart, what stand out as striking are the placement claims —100 per cent, no less. This, when the campus recruitment scene was not too great at most institutions in the city.

“We invested Rs. 12 lakh to print new college brochures for distribution at entrance coaching classes and near schools,” said a principal of a college on OMR. The placement season was relatively bad, he said, when compared to the past two years, but going on record with exact figures would not help matters.

“Even last year, nearly 30 per cent of our seats were vacant because students have many colleges to choose from. Placement numbers and company names are most important for parents and students looking for admissions,” he said.

To add to their ‘company count’, colleges are employing a variety of techniques. While some list different departments of the same company to make the recruiter list longer, many use names of companies that do not exist. Some also include names of companies that have offered jobs to students but off the campus.

For instance, a college with 1,200 eligible students has shown 97 per cent placement in its brochure.

“These numbers can be misleading because they may also include multiple offers made to the same student, paid internships and job offers that were retracted. Only 650 of these students from the previous batch have actually joined work. The rest are awaiting offer letters,” said a professor of the college.

“Many college brochures also list names of MNCs such as Google and Microsoft. The companies would have visited the campus for presentations and not recruited any student. Colleges also name companies that recruited in the past when there was greater demand for IT engineers,” said A. Radhakrishnan, former principal of a reputed city college.

“Recruitment numbers on the websites of many colleges are changed frequently. Brochures sent to companies and parents differ,” he said.

Over the past few years, another trend has emerged, said experts. “Colleges employ mediators who get students jobs in telecom companies as troubleshooting operators. But parents of prospective students are told that Airtel and BSNL recruited from the campus. The students are roped in for jobs done by diploma holders for just Rs. 8,000 a month,” said another professor.

Many colleges also use names of training institutes or finishing schools which recruit students for skills development, not jobs.

According to experts in the placement sector, of the 500 engineering colleges in the State, only about 25 attract over 30 recruiters.

“Some 50 colleges will have five good recruiting companies. The rest struggle to get even 20 per cent of their students placed,” said a senior professor of an institute.

Over the past years, the intake of students in most colleges has increased and this has doubled the number of eligible students. This is also a reason why many colleges use misleading figures to fool parents, he said.

The best way to find details about a college is to “visit the campus and talk to final-year students. Do not go by the placement numbers shown on brochures or websites,” the professor said.