V. Jayanth V. Jayanth

As Engineering admissions begin, medicine will wait for second phase

V. Jayanth

Chennai: DESPITE A slight delay on account of legal battles in court, the medical admissions in the first phase, to 14 Government colleges, the 36 surrendered seats in IRT college in Perunthurai, and the Dental colleges were wrapped up in a week's time. The counselling began on July 10 for the MBBS and BDS courses. In all, 1,471 seats were allotted in the Government medical colleges, 36 at the IIRT Medical Colleges, and 50 in the Government Dental college, accounting for a total of 1557 seats released in this phase.

Significant feature

A significant feature of the medical/dental admissions this year appears to be a major drop in the cut-off marks. It slid by about 10 marks in the open competition, 13 marks in the case of Backward Communities, 23 for Most Backward and approximately 27 marks for the Scheduled Castes.

This was partly because 144 additional seats were on offer this year, in addition to the fact that performance of students in Biology in the Plus-Two examinations was much lower than that last year, reasons Salem-based analyst Jayaprakash Gandhi, who has done a special analysis of the process for The Hindu Education Plus.

The following are the cut-off marks for Government Medical Colleges in 2006: Open Competition - 286.88, Backward classes - 281.03, Most Backward - 270.10, Scheduled Caste - 260.30, Scheduled Tribe - 229.61

Unusual feature

Mr. Gandhi has pointed to an unusual feature in the admissions to the Chengalpattu Medical College, where the cut off for the Backward Classes has ended up higher than for the OC category. While the last seat alloted in the OC category was for the 636 ranking student with a tally of 287.94, the last candidate in the BC group to join the same college had a cut off of 289.04. But this remains peculiar to the Chengalpattu college.

The analysis has shown that out of the 1,300 students called for medical counselling this year in the OC till July 14, as many as 1,155 students were allotted seats. That meant 145 students either did not turn up for counselling or opted out because they did not get a seat or college of their choice.

General ranking

Due to a change in the schedule of calling students for counselling under the general ranking system this year 97 students from the forward communities secured admission, compared to just 37 last year. This was because general ranking students were called for counselling only on the first day last year, after which community ranking was taken up.

Plus point

It remains to be seen if some of those who have obtained a medical or dental seat in a college that was not their first choice, give it up if they secure an Engineering seat in a top notch college and a premium branch. The high-paying IT and ITES jobs that await Engineering graduates has been a major plus point for this stream.

But Dr.S. Raghavan from the National Institute of Technology, Tiruchi, stoutly denies any likelihood of medicine losing its sheen. ''One should only see the disappointed faces of meritorious students who lose a medical seat by a fraction of a mark to realise this.''

He argues that there is no history that medical seats were vacant in any year. On the contrary, there was not a single year where all available seats in the engineering discipline were filled. Thousands of engineering seats lie vacant every year, ever since the self-financing colleges started.

Further, the cut-off marks for medicine are certainly higher than for engineering, and the toppers of Plus-Two have chosen medicine not engineering. ''Seats in private elite medical colleges are sold around Rs. 25 lakhs,'' he says.