Vacancies, still a grim reality
OUR TAMIL NADU BUREAU
Mere addition of seats to the single window pool has not met the need of engineering aspirants. Lack of quality education has forced many of them not to opt for what is on offer.
Photo: S. S. Kumar
Few takers: With counselling about to end, engineering seats are likely to go abegging as parents and students find not many colleges offering quality education.
Promises of an engineering seat for every applicant apart, it looks as if a minimum of 10,000 engineering seats are likely to remain vacant when counselling for admissions under the single window system close in the first week of September.
The vacant seats indicate a clear mismatch between demand and supply, educationists say, for despite more students opting for engineering education this year, vacancies would still be a reality, mostly because the quantity of seats on offer does not correlate with the quality of education, causing many students to opt out.
As on last Friday, out of the 85,000 candidates who had applied, as many as 16,670 had absented themselves from counselling.
“More colleges offering more seats to the single window system does not necessarily mean the system has been fine-tuned to meet the demand. The reason why so many seats remain vacant is because many colleges voluntarily give up only those seats which they could not have filled otherwise. Unless the Government makes it clear that vacant seats will not go back to the management pool, the story will continue,” a former director of engineering admissions said.
The absenteeism seems to have peaked during the second phase of counselling when, Anna University authorities say, the daily absentee rate was nearly 40 per cent. On last Wednesday alone, 46 per cent of those called for counselling had stayed away.
“Students are looking at institutions rather than courses. This explains why colleges in urban agglomerations such as Chennai and Coimbatore filled up seats at an extraordinary pace,” says Jayaprakash Gandhi, an education consultant.
Branches in which all seats have been filled up are agriculture and irrigation engineering, apparel technology, electrochemical technology, ceramic technology, electrical and electronics engineering (sandwich course), geoinformatics, industrial biotechnology, industrial engineering, leather technology, materials science, mining, manufacturing, mechanical (sandwich course), metallurgical, petrochemical technology, petroleum refining and petrochemical technology, production engineering (sandwich course) and printing technology.
Among the least preferred are fashion technology, biotechnology, textile technology, food technology, aeronautical engineering, biomedical engineering and polymer technology.
Among circuit branch courses, electrical and electronics engineering was the least preferred with not many takers in 69 colleges. Out of a total of 9,625 EEE seats available, only 4,751 were filled as on Tuesday last.
Predictably, apart from the four Anna University constituent colleges, other top tier colleges have all seats filled:
AC College of Technology, Karaikudi; Coimbatore Institute of Technology, Government Engineering Colleges in Bargur, Salem and Tirunelveli; Government College of Technology and PSG College of Technology in Coimbatore; Thiagarajar College of Engineering in Madurai, and SSN College of Engineering in Chennai. The last is the only self-financing college that has made the grade.
A total of 44 colleges had filled more than 90 per cent seats, including Velammal Engineering College in Madurai, a new entrant. Out of the 274 colleges in the fray, 34 colleges have filled less than 15 per cent seats. Of these, 19 colleges have had less than 10 seats filled.
When counselling closes, it is expected that several thousands of seats in the reserved categories, especially SC and ST, will still remain vacant.
“The turnout of SC/ST candidates has been quite low, compared to the availability of seats in thousands. Surprisingly, some of those who turned up for counselling ended up choosing nothing, compounding the problem,” an Anna University official said.
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