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Fewer students surrender medical seats this year

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Shyam Ranganathan

For obtaining admission to engineering colleges

CHENNAI: With the first phase of medical counselling over, only 12 students have surrendered their medical seats for admission to engineering colleges compared to 112 students last year, showing a shift in [biology] student preferences towards medical education.

Providing this information at the end of the seventh day of engineering counselling, V. Rhymend Uthariaraj, secretary, Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions (TNEA) 2009, also said that more students did not appear for the counselling this year compared to last year.

“Usually, the number of absentees is around 15 per cent at this stage. This year it is around 18 per cent,” he told The Hindu on Thursday. The data on the official website showed that while two students rejected admissions, and 68 students skipped, 3,303 students (17.35 per cent) were absent at the counselling.

This could potentially result in a problem of large vacancies as 61 new colleges have received permission to function this year as of Thursday and more could receive sanction by the time counselling ends.

Jayaprakash Gandhi, educational consultant, said: “Last year, around 8,000 seats were vacant out of a total of 84,000 seats. This year, there will be a similar percentage of vacancies, but the number will rise as there are over one lakh seats.” He added that most of the vacancies would likely be in the reserved categories and in the new colleges.

According to the trends observed in the first few days of counselling most students (around 26 per cent) opted for Electronics and Communication Engineering, with the other popular courses being Mechanical Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, and Electrical and Electronics Engineering. Information Technology picked up after being largely ignored on the first day.

Mr. Gandhi said that this trend was surprising as Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering were the first streams to be filled up in the management quota in many colleges.

Following conventional wisdom, only 34 of the 2472 students who opted for Mechanical Engineering were female students and only 3 out of 160 students in Automobile Engineering were female students. On the other hand, more than 50 per cent of the seats in Computer Science and Engineering Electronics and Communication Engineering were taken up by female students.

Dr. Uthariaraj said that students seemed to be choosing more based on streams than on colleges. “The popular streams like Electronics and Communication Engineering have been filled up even in the newly-formed government colleges while students prefer good self-financing colleges for other streams,” he said.

However, Dr. Uthariaraj said that trends indicated that most of the seats in the newly-formed government colleges would be filled up by the time counselling ends.

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