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‘Demand for engineering course remains consistent’

Amutha Kannan
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 Even as nearly 80,700 seats in engineering colleges have found no takers, academicians attribute three factors to the development.

The factors are: All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) sanctioning new engineering colleges in areas where there are already too many; approvals for additional seats in any stream of engineering in existing colleges, and the surrender of “significantly high” number of management quota seats for counselling.

At the end of the general counselling of Tamil Nadu Engineering Admission (TNEA) on Friday, 80,689 seats remained vacant out of a total of 2.05 lakh seats.

Going by an analysis of intake and vacancies from 2007 to 2013, the rate of admission and that of vacancy were on the rise.

Academics from Anna University and engineering colleges maintain that it is wrong to say that the interest for engineering has declined. While it is true that the scramble for seats is not like what it used to be in the past, this trend is attributed to various other reasons. 

According to Secretary of TNEA 2013 Rhymend Uthariaraj, at the end of the general counselling of TNEA 2013, a little over 1.24 lakh seats have been filled. 

“After Sunday’s counselling for those who have written the Plus-Two supplementary examination, another 1,350 seats have been taken. The special counselling on July 29 to fill vacancies in the Scheduled Caste quota is expected to fill 500 vacancies. At the end of this, the estimated number of seats to be filled will cross 1.26 lakh. Add to this, another 1,300 seats of the B.Arch. course will take the number beyond 1.27 lakh. This is on a par with the number allotted in 2012,” he says.

“The intake in 2013 is 2.05 lakh as against 1.82 lakh in 2012.  However, the number of seats is almost similar for the two years. This shows that the demand is consistent,” he adds.

Management quota seats

Referring to the development of surrender of management quota of seats, Mr. Uthariaraj says: this year, many tier-2 and tier-3 colleges surrendered the management quota seats to the tune of 80 per cent to 90 per cent against the stipulated 65 per cent, leading to an addition of nearly 32,000 seats to the counselling pool.  This has not been the case so far.

Students, especially the first generation graduates, increasingly prefer to attend counselling for reasons such as reduced fee and other concessions. 

A college secretary says that after receiving proposals for increase in seats from colleges, the AICTE grants 60 or 120 seats additionally, regardless of whether such institutions can fill all the seats.

Former Anna University Vice-Chancellor E. Balagurusamy says that the perception that there had been decline in demand for engineering was due to the indiscriminate increase in number of colleges and seats.  Most of the tier-2 and tier-3 colleges were barely managing to keep afloat and struggling to fill seats.

“Increase is good only when it is need based.  The AICTE says that the number of engineers for a lakh Indian population is very less.  But when 60 per cent of the population is rural based, there is no point in churning out engineers in all streams who are going jobless,” he adds.

‘The intake in 2013 is 2.05 lakh as against 1.82 lakh in 2012.  However, the number of seats is almost similar for the two years’

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