It all shows growing inclination towards research and jobs in PSUs
This is the test he took to get into IIT-Madras and this is the test that will get P.Deepak, an M.Tech student at IIT- M closer to his dream job in a public sector undertaking.
The number of students who took the GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering), an entrance exam for M.Tech and research programmes in IITs and IISc, on Sunday, in IIT-Madras zone that comprises Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry, went up by almost 80 per cent this year.
Experts say the rise in aspirants not just shows a growing inclination on the part of students towards research but also reflects a strong desire among students to get into PSUs. BHEL and IOC are among the PSUs that recently declared that the short-listing of the candidates for interview will be based on GATE-2012 scores.
When IIT-M director Bhaskar Ramamurthi says the atmospherics for research are really encouraging in the country and he has the numbers to support him. The Institute has nearly 900 M.Tech students and 450 Ph.ds, the highest in the last many years. There has been an acceptance of the importance of research at the level of policy-making too and with the Kakodkar Committee setting a target of 10,000 Ph.Ds per year, there is a conscious effort being made to increase the number of doctorates, he says. The IITs also hiked the stipends last year for the research scholars and the GATE too introduced general aptitude section recently to ensure the focus is not on technical skills alone.
“A slump in the IT market had re-oriented the engineering students towards higher studies but now many are showing interest in research- oriented fields right from the time they get into engineering. A student with a B.Tech from a State engineering college can look forward to doing M.Tech in a more reputable institute like an IIT by taking GATE and thus increase his value in the job market," says R. Rajasekharan, professor, Anna University.
“The number of people taking the exam too has exponentially increased over the last few years, especially after 2009,” he says, points out K. Sethupathi, chairman, GATE (IIT-M zone).
Organisations including NTPC, BEL, HAL , TIFR , ISRO , SAIL , BARC , DRDO give a lot of importance to GATE scores.
“And several branches in many IITs call candidates if they have over 90 percentile. Getting into IIT's M.Tech programmes is much easier than getting into their B.Tech programmes,” says S. Aravind, a mechanical engineering student.
The fact that many of these PSU don't really go to engineering colleges to recruit also encourages students take the GATE exam.
“Even when they come to IIT, they take in very few students from specific branches. For instance, the ONGC was one of three PSUs that came to IIT-M, but it recruited only students from petroleum engineering,” says a student of IIT-M.
Students also point out that research opportunities abroad have become difficult to pursue because of the changing technology and stringent admission standards.
“It is getting increasingly difficult to get funding from universities in the United States if you are involved in some basic form of research. They want bio and Nano technology-related thesis papers. So, many of us feel it is better to do an M.Tech degree here, particularly in electronics and mechanical disciplines,” says S. Ramakrishnan, a student of Anna University.
Keywords: GATE exam