52% engineering seats vacant in Tamil Nadu

For the fourth time in a row, more than 50 per cent of engineering seats in Tamil Nadu remain unfilled, raising questions about quality of education imparted in engineering colleges and employability of those studying in these institutions. File photo

For the fourth time in a row, more than 50 per cent of engineering seats in Tamil Nadu remain unfilled, raising questions about quality of education imparted in engineering colleges and employability of those studying in these institutions.

The Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions (TNEA) committee has filled 83,396 seats (48.2 per cent) against 1,72,940 seats, leaving 89,544 seats vacant (51.8%) in 479 engineering colleges this year. This is the fourth consecutive year since 2016 in which more than 50 per cent of available engineering seats in the state have gone unfilled.

In 2018, 82,249 seats were filled in counselling against 1,77,117 seats, leaving 94,868 vacant, data released by the Tamil Nadu government show. Most engineering students who pass out of such colleges work for a meagre Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 per month or apply for jobs for which they are over-qualified.

Educationists and experts attribute the steep fall in demand for the engineering stream to the deteriorating quality of education and infrastructure in several of the self-financed engineering colleges and people’s renewed interest towards the arts and science stream.

“The number of seats have increased in the past decade but the number of students opting for engineering stream remains more or less the same. Most engineering colleges have become completely money-minded, throwing values and ethics to the wind. Also, parents and students have lost respect for such engineering colleges,” E Balagurusamy, former Vice-Chancellor of Anna University, told DH.

Balagurusamy, also a former member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), said that the pass percentage of more than 200 engineering colleges have not crossed 10 per cent in the past few years and some institutions don’t even get 10 students in a year.

“Some colleges are unfit to admit students and it is not just the problems of the particular college. Such colleges spoil the lives of thousands of students. No mercy should be shown to such colleges and the government should support the students rather than throwing weight behind the management of such institutions,” Balagurusamy added.

Not just has the craze for engineering has come down, but campus interviews in such colleges have also reduced. “But to be very fair, admissions in reputed colleges are normal and even the campus interviews are conducted regularly. Only the bad colleges suffer,” he said.

Prince Gajendrababu, education activist and general secretary of State Platform for Common School System (SPCSS –Tamil Nadu), said the colleges in the state had long stopped producing engineers.

“They only produce students who can get placements in good companies. How many engineering colleges ask students to present papers in seminars? Paper presentation is an integral part of engineering education and none of these colleges stress on such presentations. The end result is either engineering students are unemployed or under-employed?” he asked.

Gajendrababu also noted that placements in engineering colleges have “highly reduced” and added that the only positive trend out of this is increased interest among students for science and arts stream.

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