Over 60 per cent of engineering seats in West Bengal remain vacant after the end of the counselling process conducted by the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination (WBJEE) Board. According to the registrar office, around 10,525 students took admission in engineering courses this year after three phases of the counselling process, which closed on July 20.
There are overall 32,700 seats on offer in various engineering colleges in West Bengal. This year, a total of 22,175 seats remain vacant, as compared to 16,000 last year, according to the registrar office of WBJEEB. “Though the state-wise admission process has been closed on July 20, the colleges can still enroll students based on their individual criteria,” the registrar mentioned.
“The middle-rung engineering colleges had hardly any takers this year. Over 18,000 seats went vacant in private engineering colleges, which is a 30 per cent increase against last year’s 13,375,” the WBJEEB official informed.
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Core courses worst hit
The recession is not only limited to private colleges, but also reputed government colleges including Jadavpur University, which have faced the burn. According to Chiranjib Bhattacharjee, head of the engineering department, Jadavpur University, there are 197 seats still vacant in various departments and the number may go up to 250 after closure of the admission process.
“At the end of the three-phase counselling, while 1,260 students got into various courses offered by the Jadavpur University, only 1,076 have taken admission so far,” pointed out Bhattacharjee.
He remarked that the core engineering streams had fewer takers in comparison to IT and computer science due to an inadequate generation of jobs in electrical, mechanical and chemical streams.
Saikat Maitra, vice-chancellor of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology, told indianexpress.com, “The core courses were the worst hit this year. This may be because of a lack of interest in the engineering courses that generate fewer jobs.” He noted that the dip in takers of engineering courses is a trend seen throughout the country.
Low salary, high fee
The contrast between the starting salaries and fees paid by a student is a reason behind dropping out of the admission process despite clearing the entrance exam. “Every college follows the same syllabus, but it’s the faculty and placement that matters. Why will a student invest more than Rs 4 lakh, if he is not assured a return in terms of a job?” the director of NIT Durgapur questioned. Apart from the BTech/ B.E courses, students prefer to enroll in newer fields that offer better job prospects.
More colleges than students
Out of 14 lakh engineering seats available across the country, only 10 lakh students take admission, revealed AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe recently. “A committee, formed last year to draft a plan regarding engineering education, found that the number of seats available outnumber the demand,” Sahasrabudhe told indianexpress.com.
“The syllabus can be modernised, but it is up to the college to adopt it. Students should put focus on the faculties and placement cell,” the AICTE chairman commented.
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