After a gap of several years, enrolment of students in engineering courses in West Bengal has increased this year, according to state joint entrance examination board and several engineering colleges, though close to 40 percent of the total seats in BTech courses are still vacant.
There are nearly 34,890 seats in B. Tech courses in Bengal of which nearly 20,000 are filled up as of now, a senior official of higher education department said.
“Over the last few years, only 12,000 to 13,000 seats in engineering could be filled and remaining 20,000 to 21,000 lied vacant as there were no takers. The trend has changed this time as there is a rise in demand of the seats,” a senior official of the higher education department, said.
According to Malayendu Saha, chairman of the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination Board (WBJEEB) for the first time in past many years, the board this time allotted nearly 16,500 seats to students at the end of third round of counseling. He said this is highest in last five years.
After the three rounds of centralised counseling held by the board, the individual engineering institutions were allowed to allot seats on their own in a decentralized manner. With the completion of the decentralized counseling that ended in first week of October, another 3500 seats have been taken by students which means altogether 20,000 seats have been filled up which according to sources, is “higher” than last few years.
However, the real picture of the vacancy position will be clear after the process of students’ registration with the universities affiliating the courses get completed at the end of this month, officials said.
” This year the board allotted nearly 16,500 seats at the end of third counseling which were conducted centrally by the board. The distribution of seats through the centralised counseling had never been this high during the past many years,” Saha told EducationWorld.
The joint entrance examination board allot seats through centralised counseling in 96 engineering institutions in the state of which 86 are private and ten are run by the state.
According to Taranjit Singh, managing director of the JIS group, the bulk of the 8000 odd seats in the JIS institutions had been filled up through the centralised counseling held by the joint entrance exakination board.
“The demand was quite high this time. We are happy that most of our seats were filled through the centralised counseling itself. Many deserving candidates who couldn’t take our seats due to problems in the centralised counseling process, managed to take admissions in our institutes through the decentralized counseling process,” Singh told EducationWorld.
Engineering, which had been one of the most preferred choices for students in the 2000 had been gradually losing its sheen not only in Bengal but also in many other states because of several reasons like mushrooming of tech institutes, inferior standard infrastructure and high fees.
The reason why most students would opt for engineering courses would be the guarantee of a decent job after completing the course. The institutions had been witnessing a decline in demand for seats in engineering also because of shrinking opportunities in job market.
According to officials despite the downward trend noticed in several states over the years, the rise in admissions in the engineering courses in Bengal has increased this year because of certain measures taken by the government and the institutes, officials said.
The demand is seen to be highest in subjects like computer science and engineering, electronic engineering and partly electrical engineering, officials said.
At many institutes the enrolment has gone up because they have converted their seats meant for some core engineering subjects like mechanical and civil engineering to courses in emerging subjects like artificial engineering and internet of things, the areas where students are now showing more interest to study because of better scope in job market.