Nearly 7,800 engineering seats under Anna University in Tamil Nadu are likely to be reduced this year as once lucrative courses such as Mechanical, Civil and Electronics and Communication engineering are seeing fewer takers. At least 237 colleges have sought to reduce the number of seats or shut down the courses in their institutions.
According to sources, as many as 37 engineering colleges affiliated to Anna University have applied to close such programmes offered in their colleges. BE Civil Engineering and BArch Architecture top the list of programmes seeing closure.
As many as 234 engineering colleges have also sought to reduce the number of seats in various streams, with Mechanical and Civil topping the list with 89 and 52 colleges seeking to reduce as many as 3,282 and 1,560 seats, respectively.
The total number of engineering seats in Tamil Nadu sought to be reduced are 7,792 seats.
‘Not even 10 students for a course’
Speaking about the closure of courses, a principal at a private college in Coimbatore, which has applied for closure of a course, said that it was not possible to run the course with less than 10 students.
“It is not a new trend. We saw this coming but still we kept the course open for the last two years, hoping that the numbers would increase. For the last two years, we have gotten less than 10 students for Civil Engineering and Architecture. So, there is no point in keeping the course open further,” he said. The financial burden would be on them for the next two years, until the earlier batch of students studying those courses passed out, he added.
Speaking about the change in the trend, K Karuppusamy, former dean of a private university in Tamil Nadu, said that people are not ready to wait for their careers to pick up.
“There are very few companies in these fields who offer higher pay. If they have to get a much higher pay in their core traditional fields, it takes at least 3-4 years. So, nobody is ready to invest the time. Even the passed out students who took these traditional courses are not in the same field; they have moved to IT or other fields,” Karuppusamy said.
Speaking to The Federal, Anna University Vice Chancellor R Velraj said the decision rested with the college management.
Counselling to begin
“The colleges seem to be having a problem in offering certain courses. So, we don’t have a say over it. If they don’t want to continue with a programme or if they want to reduce the number of seats, we accept it,” he said, adding that the reduced number of engineering seats would reflect in this academic year counselling itself.
On Wednesday, state Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy said that the online application for engineering courses in Tamil Nadu will be open from June 20 and the last date to apply is July 19. The rank list is likely to be released on August 8. Counselling would begin for the special reservation category on August 16 and for the general category between August 22 and October 14.
In order to stop engineering seats from getting wasted, the government has introduced a new rule that the students taking part in the first round of counselling must pay their fees within a week’s time.
Because students lock a seat during counselling and don’t join the course, according to the minister, as many as 631 seats went vacant last year while the same was 750 in 2020.