Sunday, October 09, 2011

No takers for 8,000 engg seats in Kerala

No takers for 8,000 engg seats in Kerala
It was the then chief minister A.K. Antony who decided to launch self-financing engineering colleges in 2001 following allegations that Kerala’s wealth was being siphoned off by the engineering colleges of neighbouring States.
For, with only a handful of engineering colleges in the State, students aspiring for white collar jobs had no other option but to migrate to colleges in Tamil Nadu or Karnataka.
Now that the self-financing colleges in the State have completed a decade of their existence, it is ironical that the sector is haunted by a demand-supply mismatch - more engineering colleges and fewer students!

This year, there are no takers for about 8000 B.Tech seats in the self-financing engineering colleges.
The Kerala Self-Financing Engineering College Management Association (KSFECMA) - the sole representative body of 102 SFECs - expects to fill 1500 seats through an entrance exam scheduled for October 16. It still expects as many as 6500 seats to lapse this year.
What has led to such a situation? Experts point out that there aren’t enough students who score 50 percent mark, mathematics, physics and chemistry put together, and 50 per cent in the former alone.
KSFECMA, however, blames it on reforms introduced in the admissions process that has delayed admissions this year. KSFECMA secretary T.A. Vijayan said thousands of students have migrated to neighbouring States due to this delay.
Education expert and former Vice-Chancellor of Kerala University Dr. B. Ekbal attributed the reason to the lack of human resource development (HRD) planning by the State.
“We are not able to guide higher education in the right direction. A great number is enrolling for engineering. But, it’s not matched by the B.Tech pass percentage. In fact, not many students are capable of pursuing engineering studies,” he said.
Not many students excel in mathematics which is the key subject in engineering. “Not many students have these skills as the teachers are intellectually stagnant. We need to blame the standard of school-level education for this,” he added.
Dr Achuthsankar S. Nair, Director, State Inter University Centre of Excellence in Bioinformatics is appalled by the dip in the standards of engineering education in the State.
He’s least surprised by the fact that thousands of seats are lying vacant in the engineering colleges since it’s bound to happen when anyone and everyone can start an engineering college these days.
“The present crisis has occurred because several colleges have 75 to 80 seats in a class, when, ideally it should be 40 to 45,”he said.
However, he believes that colleges of repute, equipped with excellent infrastructure and faculty, will always be able to pull in students and can even be choosy about the students they admit. It’s bad news only for those institutions that have mushroomed in the recent past and offer poor quality education.
A quick look at the engg admission scenario in Kerala
There are a total of 141 engineering colleges in the state, of them 102 are private self-financing engineering colleges.
A total of 1 lakh students appeared for the engineering entrance test conducted by the Commissioner for Entrance Examinations (CEE). A total of 56,000 students figured in the rank list published by the CEE, combining Plus Two marks and a total of 40,000 students registered their options for various branches.
There are a total number of 26,000 seats set apart by the self-financing college managements for government allotment and what remains vacant is around 2,000 seats, according to T.A. Vijayan, KSFECMA secretary. The last date for taking admission through the CEE is October 15 as per the last allotment. Some more government quota seats may be filled by then.
Of the 34,000 management quota seats of 102 self-financing colleges, around 4,000 seats belong to 11 Catholic engineering colleges. Already, a total of 26,000 seats have been filled. Most of the Catholic management colleges are sitting pretty with only a handful of seats remaining vacant.

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