Data from the Directorate of Technical Education (DTE), which conducts admission to engineering colleges in Maharashtra, reveals that 34,801 seats remained unfilled after the first round. This is a 75% increase compared to last year, when close to 20,000 seats were vacant after admissions closed.
It takes two to reach a stalemate. While the private sector has been pumping in money to start new colleges, experts said that with scant attention to planning, the government has been extremely lenient in allowing them to open shop.
In fact, if one takes into account the management quota seats, as well as seats in minority institutes, where admission is not conducted by the DTE, there are 1.27 lakh seats available. This year, merely 1.10 lakh candidates have applied for admissions.
Also, the state recently relaxed the eligibility criteria for engineering aspirants, from 50% in Class XII (in physics, chemistry, maths) to 45% for general category and 40% for reserved categories.
To date, the DTE has assigned seats to 68,769 students; in all, there are 1.04 lakh seats. "Some students were not allotted seats because their preferences did not match the seats available. In most cases their scores were too low, and the options, in terms of the course and the colleges they selected, were not matching," said an officer. This year too, most students preferred to join colleges in cities as compared to those in the state's hinterland. "Most of the new colleges that have been set up this year do not have any students. Not one candidate has applied to join them," said a source.
"Each year, the concentration of colleges is going up in certain parts of the country. The growth in technical professional colleges is uneven. Bad planning coupled with poor quality of facilities at these colleges is resulting in poor teaching-learning," said a government engineering college principal.