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It is a full house in colleges

LAIQH A. KHAN

With jobs drying up in the wake of the recession, graduates continue to pursue studies



Changing trends: There has been a tremendous surge in the number of applications for postgraduate courses in Karnataka this year

Seats for postgraduate courses across various disciplines were never in as much demand as they were during the recently concluded admission season in Karnataka.

The number of applications received for postgraduate course in engineering, basic sciences, commerce and arts, besides MBA programmes, across institutes for the year 2009-10 has not only surpassed last year’s figures but also exceeded the expect ations of the academia.

A huge difference was noticed in the demand for MBA seats this year. While about half of the government quota seats had remained vacant last year, only a small percentage of seats in little-known institutes remain vacant this year.

Similarly, the response for M.E., M.Tech and M.Arch has also been good with all the full-time seats filled up. The number of Master of Computer Applications (MCA) seats taken has also registered a significant rise.

Bangalore University, which decided to centralise its admission process for postgraduate courses, was flooded with applications, with students staking claim for seats in zoology, botany, chemistry and physics, besides mathematics and statistics.

The flocking of thousands of graduates to colleges has been attributed to the global economic recession and the resultant freeze in employment options. Graduates, who would have otherwise knocked on the doors of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies for employment, have decided to go back to school to enhance their qualification, said an official of Bangalore University, who coordinated the admission process.

The Central Postgraduate Admission Committee (CPAC), constituted under the auspices of Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) to select candidates for government quota seats in B-schools, besides seats in engineering, had its hands full.

“There was a tremendous surge in the number of applications for MBA courses this year. For the first time, almost all the PG engineering seats have been taken,” said VTU Vice-Chancellor H.P. Khincha, who is also the Chairman of CPAC.

An unprecedented number of students had applied for the Joint Management Entrance Test (JMET) for admission to the PG degree programme in management offered by IITs and for the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE), an all-India examination for admission to engineering programmes.

VTU Registrar K.V.A. Balaji, who is also Member Secretary of CPAC, said the total number of MBA seats available for filling up under the government quota was 9,905 last year. But, the CPAC managed to fill up only 4,853 by selecting students after holding the Post-Graduate Common Entrance Test (PGCET). “This year, we have filled up as many as 7,387 seats out of the 8,968 MBA seats across 198 colleges in the State,” he said and added that almost all the seats in reputed institutions were taken.

Mr. Balaji did not rule out the possibility of employees, who had lost their jobs in the recession, taking up the courses to improve the chances of landing a new job. Quite a few employees laid off by companies abroad too had returned to India and queued up for a seat in B-schools, it is learnt.

Similarly, the seats in engineering were filled up. “Out of the 4,400 M.E., M.Tech and M.Arch seats, almost all the full-time seats had been taken. About 400 that have been left vacant are all for part-time courses,” he said. Last year, out of the 3,596 PG engineering seats, only 2,056 had been filled.

Meanwhile, the number of applicants to an estimated 4,000 PG seats in Bangalore University has risen to 7,200 this year from around 5,600 received last year. “Last year, each applicant had submitted an application for only one course. This year, the application format had given the students the option to apply for a maximum of eight courses. A majority of students had sought a seat in at least three courses. So, even if the number of applicants is 7,200, the actual number of applications processed was three times the number and could be around 20,000,” said an official, who coordinated the admission process at Bangalore University.

Registrar of Bangalore University T.R. Subramanya said the the rise in the demand for MBA seats was due to contraction in the employment options for B.E. students. “The absence of opportunities for engineers has given them a reason to increase their chances of landing a job by taking a MBA course.”

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