The Times of India | Yogita Rao | TNN | January 19, 2016 |
MUMBAI: The number of engineering aspirants registering for JEE (Main) has declined for the second year in a row. The numbers have fallen by almost a lakh this year compared to the 50,000 dip recorded last year. CBSE, which conducts the national-level joint entrance examination, received applications from 12.07 lakh aspirants last week. In 2015, 13.04 lakh students had registered for the test. The fall was even steeper for Maharashtra, where the registrations have dropped by a third over last year. Maharashtra, however, has the highest number of applicants (1.63 lakh) in the country followed by Uttar Pradesh (1.50 lakh).
JEE (Main) is the qualifying exam for admissions to centrally-funded technical institutions such as NITs, IIITs and institutions in the participating states. Of the total numbers of students taking JEE (Main), the top 1.5 lakh are eligible to appear for JEE (Advanced) for admissions to the premier IITs. This year, the IIT Council has decided to shortlist 2 lakh candidates. Experts attribute the fall to the waning interest in engineering and also to the variety of choices available to students in other professions in the last few years. Vijay Singh, former national coordinator for science Olympiads and a Raja Ramanna Fellow, said, “For the last few years, the impression that an engineering degree does not guarantee you a job has percolated down %to students. Engineering seats are going vacant dramatically in private colleges in several states. Unless they get admission in a good college, many are not keen.” He added that fancy courses such as hotel management, law, design, maritime, on the other hand, are picking up. “Students who are keen on research in science are completing their undergraduate programme in science and are going abroad for higher studies to reputed foreign universities.” IIT-Bombay director Devang Khakhar agreed that students can pursue various interests. “There are several options available in humanities too,” added Khakhar. IIT-Kanpur director Indranil Manna, however, said that a drop by few percentage points is hardly alarming. “Many students who are serious about pursuing engineering and are motivated will definitely appear for the entrance test. But a few, who realize that engineering is not their cup of tea, will prefer to stay out,” he said.
The drop in aspirants from Maharashtra has contributed largely to the overall drop in registrations. Maharashtra was a participating institute in JEE (Main) till higher and technical education minister, Vinod Tawde, decided to withdraw from the test this year. The state’s decision to hold its own common entrance test (MHT-CET) for engineering admissions this year may be one of the important reasons for the drop. S K Mahajan, director, directorate of technical education, said, “Students who do not have the capacity to appear for the national level competitive exam for IITs and NITs will prefer skipping it altogether. The ones aiming to get into state institutes will favour the state’s CET.” Another official pointed out that the constant changes in the Central test pattern would have discouraged a few aspirants from waiting for it. “Also the JEE (Main) final scores are calculated by combining the test scores with class XII marks, which many students are not in favour of,” said the official. – Courtesy