Engineering top draw no more

The Statesman, 29th July, 2015

With around 227 seats in engineering at Jadavpur University (JU) remaining vacant even after the fourth round of counselling, questions have been raised regarding the deteriorating condition of the engineering courses and their prospects.

In 2015, in private engineering colleges around 15,000 seats are lying vacant and many students are not willing to take up engineering courses as they are not getting good job opportunities after finishing their courses. In 2014 at JU, 117 seats were lying vacant after the third round of counselling.

Last week, state education minister Partha Chatterjee urged the WBJEE Board to conduct a fourth round of counselling as many seats were lying vacant.

Significantly, it was found that nearly 345 seats at the Indian Institute of Engineering Science and Technology (IIEST) in Shibpur were vacant after two rounds of counselling, leaving the door open for the entry of lower-ranked students and defeating the purpose of a national entrance test.

Formerly called the Bengal Engineering and Science University, the 159- year-old institute had a name change after being upgraded to the status of a national institute in March 2014.

2015’s JEE Main was its first attempt at picking students from a countrywide talent pool.

Until 2014, the institute had been admitting students on the basis of the state JEE and was second only to Jadavpur University in terms of candidates’ preference.

But the number of vacant seats after two rounds of counselling this year highlights its failure to compete with the NITs (National Institutes of Technologies).

Many academicians said that the notion that an engineering degree guarantees a good job had changed since the global economic downturn.

According to them, the key reason for the IIEST’s failure to draw the best students is its failure to promise infrastructure, placement, research facilities and faculty on par with the reputable engineering and technology institutes it is competing with.

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