R. Krishnamoorthy

Arts and science colleges find it difficult to fill the void There are practical difficulties in making late admission to fill vacancies caused by students opting for engineering courses

TIRUCHI: Culmination of Single Window Counselling for Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions (TNEA) earlier this month has caused the disenchantment of heads of arts and science colleges over the flight of a section of `above-average' students, who would have secured admission in science courses as a stopgap arrangement, to engineering courses.

Realising the predicament of the arts and science colleges, the Bharathidasan University had extended the last date of admission for undergraduate courses to August 18. But the colleges faced practical difficulties in making eleventh-hour admission to fill the vacancies caused by students opting for engineering courses. For, almost all the colleges had started the classes more than a month ago.

Mid-term tests commenced

The St. Joseph's College, for instance, has lost nearly 100 students admitted to its B.Sc. programmes for the current academic year owing to this factor. But the college is not able to admit students, notwithstanding the last date flexibility, since the mid-term tests have already commenced as per its academic calendar. According to its Principal, Fr. R. Rajarathinam, additional admissions were made at the start of the year to cushion the impact. Yet, for the Physics and Chemistry programmes, the number of students fell below the sanctioned strength.

The case of Urumu Dhanalakshmi College is slightly different. Each year students leave midway to join teacher-training or nursing courses, but not before demanding fees they had paid.

Solution in sight

The Principal, K. Sekar, sees a remedy in the university either doing away with the semester pattern for the first year alone, as in the case of Anna University, or by carrying forward the first semester examinations to the end of the academic year, exclusively for late entrants.

Interestingly, only a handful of students have left the Jamal Mohamed College.

The students come with a determined idea to pursue science programmes.

They see an easy route to software jobs by enrolling in any undergraduate programme, and choosing M.C.A. for post graduation, observes the Principal, M. Sheik Mohamed. Students who do not get their preferred specialisations in engineering prefer to continue with the science courses.

Nevertheless, the colleges seek a permanent solution to this problem. Unless steps are taken to complete the entire process of engineering admission through entrance examination and single-window counselling by the end of June, there will never be a solution, says Fr. Rajarathinam.