Sunday, November 13, 2011

When Every Tom, Dick and Harry gets an Engineering Admission

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In 1991 there were only eight engineering colleges in Kerala and getting a seat in one of them was really tough. You need to get a rank below 1000 to get a seat in the general quota. Twenty years down the line – there are now 119 engineering colleges in Kerala of which 105 are self financing colleges and for the last few years thousands of engineering seats remain vacant every year. What does that mean? 
Anyone who just passed 12th can now secure a seat in an engineering college. An entrance exam that had high standard a decade ago has been reduced to mockery. So what happens to those students who just cleared the 12th grade with minimum marks join these self financing engineering colleges? 
Kerala State Convener of Save Education Committee (such a committee exists in Kerala!) Mr. M Shajer Khan filed a Right to Information (RTI) to know the pass percentage of students studying under various engineering colleges in Kerala. The numbers speak for themselves about the quality of the students. Here are some of the statistics. 
Self financing engineering colleges affiliated to CUSAT the failure rate varied from 60 to 90 percent while for those self financing colleges affiliated to Kerala University the failure rate varied from 56 to 81 percent. Pass percentage of students from self financing colleges also saw a sharp decline in the last five years clearly indicating the deterioration in the quality. For example in 2004 the overall pass percentage of students affiliated to Kerala University was 54% while it reduced to 28% in 2009 while in MG University it reduced from 89 to 64%. There are self financing colleges where close to 90% of the students have failed (Karunagapally Engineering College – 87% fail; Attingal self financing college – 91% fail).
Am I shocked seeing these numbers? Not at all. I personally have visited few self financing engineering colleges in the last eighteen months. Many of them do not even have basic necessary infrastructure needed for an engineering college and I really feel pity for those students studying there. With those infrastructures available you cannot expect students to perform well. Add to this equation quality of students coming to these colleges and then it is a recipe for disaster and that is what we are seeing here in the form of poor results. 
But if you look at the pass percentage of government engineering colleges that take students on merit based on their rank in the entrance exam the pass percentage is over 80%. At least this statistics above is an eye-opener for the students and parents; My advice to them…. 
Getting an  engineering seat may be very easy now; but you need aptitude for engineering to become one; if you don’t have that don’t waste your time trying even if an engineering seat is available.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rightly said. This is in fact a social issue. Think of the students who clear their papers after third or fourth attempts. They just complete it for the sake of earning a degree that will make them compete for a job. The companies recruiting them need to compromise if they repeatedly get students with poor academics. Ultimately once they are on board in some projects, it impacts the delivery and ultimate quality of the deliverables. I think in the long run it will hit us badly and lot of social issues related to competitiveness, career growth etc will emerge.

November 13, 2011 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Shiju R said...

I completely agree with your view point.
A similar survey among the students who had passed out 3 or more years before might reveal an interesting picture. That will give a much truer picture about the impact of these self financing colleges on students, employers and the society in general.

This might be a new phenomenon in Kerala. But another particular south Indian state has been churning out engineers like this for the last 20 years. Haven’t heard about any serious damage being done by them… interesting!!

We also have to look at the opportunities now the students are getting in Kerala because of these self financed colleges.
I come from a (socialist) period like you where there was only a hand full of professional seats available. Many of the bright and talented students ended up doing general science/humanities or ITI or some trading course. They did it not because they had the aptitude for such courses but that was the only option available with them for a chance to earn a decent lively hood. Most of these students ultimately ended up on a labor visa in Middle East or in the metro cities of north India and in many cases away from the family against ones wishes.

To a certain extent these self financing colleges changed Kerala from being a place of brooding ‘bearded’ youngsters nothing much to do other than to do endless ‘charchakal’ about all topics under the sun (which all must have seen in the 70s and 80s Malayalam movies) to a new vibrant place where opportunities are aplenty for the deserving and a chance to be engaged in doing something more worthwhile and satisfying (as rightly depicted in many of the recent movies).

I wonder what it would have been like to have these self financing colleges in Kerala back in the 80s and beginning of 90s.

• Maybe like many others I would never have to move out of Kerala to join a self financing college outside Kerala!!
• Maybe instead of Telugu, Malayalam would have been the “official” language among the IT guys in US.
• Maybe many malayalees would never have to be in a north Indian city to earn a lively hood.

November 14, 2011 7:50 PM  

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