The State government has asked the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) not to grant permission to new engineering colleges from next year in Tamil Nadu, said K. Ponmudy, Minister for Higher Education.

The State's decision has come in the wake of a record number of 1.5 lakh students admitted to 471 engineering colleges, including 1.12 lakh under government quota in Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions (TNEA) 2010, the highest intake in any State in the country, Mr. Ponmudy said.

Disclosing details of TNEA 2010, he said the number of seats falling vacant this year under government quota was 8,172, roughly 6.8 per cent of the total seats, compared to over 30,000 last year. The scrapping of common entrance exam in 2006 and the government decision to waive tuition fee for first generation professional degree learners were the main reasons for the increased intake, he said.

A staggering 71,590 first generation professional degree learners have got admission, registering an increase of 26,311 since last year. As many as 54,460 students, who pursued higher secondary in Tamil medium, have joined engineering colleges. In the Tamil medium civil and mechanical courses offered in Anna University constituent colleges, 1,378 students have enrolled.

The number of rural students entering the portals of engineering education has increased to 76,073 this year. In fact, the number of rural students in engineering has seen a steady increase from the time the common entrance exam was cancelled. In 2005, only 17,990 students, about 52.72 per cent, from rural areas entered engineering colleges. In the subsequent years, the numbers rose to 24,670; 34,069; 50,589; 54,073 and finally, 76,073 in 2010, up to 67.79 per cent of admissions. Lowering the eligibility marks helped 1,598 students take up engineering.

As many as 1.69 lakh students had applied for admission through the single window system this year of which 1.65 lakh students were eligible. There will be no more counselling for engineering seats. The AICTE had granted 24 new colleges this year, Mr. Ponmudy said.

K. Ganesan, Principal Secretary, Higher Education; P. Mannar Jawahar, Vice-Chancellor, Anna University, and Kumar Jayant, Commissioner, Technical Education, and TNEA Secretary V. Rhymend Uthariaraj were present.