There is a rise of at least 20 per cent in the demand for engineering seats every year

At a time when higher education policy-makers are contemplating various filters and tests to identify the ‘most deserving and meritorious’ students, Tamil Nadu chooses to stand by its ‘no entrance’ policy, for engineering colleges. With nearly 520 colleges with over two lakh seats, the demand for engineering seats only continues to rise steadily in Tamil Nadu.

Parents say that there has been a drastic increase in the fee amount to be paid for admission under management quota. “There is no transparency because no one knows when or how the seats are filled up. But the good thing is the child does not need to go to any other State to pursue engineering, if he has decent marks and some money,” says Mridula Sarathy, a parent.

But the demand for engineering has only increased in the city, thanks to placement promises made by colleges and the availability of seats. There is a rise of at least 20 per cent in the demand for engineering seats every year, and a lot of it also comes from rural areas.

“This year, over 69 per cent of our graduates are from villages,” says P. Mannar Jawahar, Vice-Chancellor, Anna University.

The State, till a few years ago had an entrance test, but it was scrapped after it was found to benefit only students from the cities. All engineering colleges in the State come under Anna University and admission is handled through a single window system, done through Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions.

Admission to Arts and Science Colleges is decided by colleges, depending on individual cut-offs. Many colleges don’t display all the necessary details in selection lists. However, here too, free hostels, free tuition and scholarships ensure the seats in government colleges are filled up with more than 90 per cent of students coming from villages or peripheral areas of the city.

Deemed universities, at least the top four – SRM University, Sastra, Amrita and VIT University, find takers from many other States, especially from north India, and the entrance to their portals is through their separate entrance tests.

Several lakh students who just passed out of school are running from pillar to post hoping to realise their dream of making it to a good college. The Hindu's education correspondents from across India capture the buzz in a five-part series beginning today.