The tide seems to have shifted: there was a time when students aspiring to engineering courses preferred seats in government colleges, but now, they seem to favour private colleges.
The figures from this admission season (2022) show that some government engineering colleges have filled fewer than 25% of their sanctioned strength. In contrast, self-financing colleges in tier-II cities that have filled over 85% of their seats, and so, a clear trend emerges.
Of the top 50 colleges that students preferred during the single-window counselling, just 12 were government colleges, including Anna University’s four departments and two Central institutions. At the end of the fourth round, only the Government College of Engineering, Salem, managed to fill all its seats. As many as 48 of the top 50 colleges that filled over 85% of the seats are autonomous self-financing institutions. Among them are a few from tier-II cities. These colleges admit students with a lower cut-off, but their strategies helped to ensure that they filled around 90% of their seats.
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On the other hand, lack of faculty and non-teaching staff and poor infrastructure and laboratories are driving students away from government colleges, say senior faculty members of these institutions.
Among the State universities, Anna University is considered better funded; but with more colleges granted autonomy, the university has lost revenue from affiliation and examination fees. It is now saddled with 13 colleges and their maintenance. The government could take over the university-run colleges as it did arts and science colleges, say parents.
Private colleges innovate, collaborate with industry
Choko Valliappa, who runs Sona College of Technology, Salem (it filled 94.04% of the seats by the fourth round), credited the students with this achievement. “They did exceedingly well in competitions. We have also tweaked courses to suit the demand,” he said. Placement was good, with over 35 candidates getting an annual compensation of ₹20 lakh. It is the first college in the country to offer a diploma in 12 areas along with a degree, thanks to autonomy.
P. S. Srinivasan, founder-chairman and principal of Knowledge Institute of Technology (KIOT), Salem, which filled 88% of its seats, said nearly 95% of the students were placed last year. The college sought to increase the average salary through placement by ₹50,000 annually. KIOT is not an autonomous institution. “Last year the average annual salary was ₹3.60 lakh. This year’s target is ₹4.35 lakh,” he said. The college opted for companies with career growth prospects instead of BPOs. It collaborated with the industry to set up laboratories and offered specific technology training. Students’ clubs and associations encouraged networking, he added.
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Across colleges this year, 41,908 seats were filled in computer science-centric courses as against 25,140 seats in 2019.
Ashwin Ramaswamy, independent educational consultant, however, has a word of caution. “It is a challenge for institutions as the admission has been increasing every year for computer science-related subjects. Many colleges are struggling to recruit quality faculty members as the demand is really high,” he said.