Candidates seeking engineering admission this year have an opportunity to know the academic performance of various colleges before choosing their institutions.

The Madras High Court on Friday directed the Anna University to publish the pass percentage statistics of institutions affiliated to it for 2011-12 on its website before counselling starts.

The First Bench, consisting of Acting Chief Justice R.K. Agrawal and Justice M. Sathyanarayanan, passed the interim order on a batch of petitions. The petitioners sought a direction to Anna University to publish in the booklet issued along with applications for engineering admissions the pass percentage of all colleges. The court has posted the petitions for further hearing after two weeks.

In a public interest litigation petition, D. Bhoobalasamy of Lakshmi Nagar, Tirupur, said his daughter Kavipriya had completed her higher secondary examination. She wanted to join an engineering course. In the booklet, there was no proper information and instructions to candidates with regard to the engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu. Every year, 2.5 lakh candidates applied for engineering admissions in the State. Of them 60 per cent were from the rural and semi-urban areas. There were 521 engineering colleges. Of these, 29 institutions were under the government and government-aided category. The remaining were self-financing colleges. Most of the engineering colleges had mushroomed after 2000. There had been several reports that these institutions did not match the standards under the All India Council for Technical Education Act and regulations and also that the employability of engineers coming out of the colleges in Tamil Nadu was very poor.

There were advertisements in the media that some engineering colleges were top rank holders. Some rank lists were also being published by groups claiming to be from government agencies. Students were carried away by these advertisements. Only after joining the colleges they found the factual situation contrary to what had been given in the rank lists. Therefore, the Anna University itself should analyse all the colleges in terms of their infrastructure, teaching faculty, results and other progressive programmes and prepare a rank list. By this method, there would be a healthy competition among colleges.