Engineering has always been one of the top career choices for students in India. Students sacrifice their sleep and peace of mind in order to score a proper JEE rank. But dashing all of their hopes and dreams, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) continued with its seat-slashing spree by reducing 800 engineering seats in West Bengal this year. This destroyed the dreams of thousands of engineering aspirants. According to the information available, there were nearly 42,000 seats in Bengal in 2014. But at present, the number is around 33,124. The council has also terminated nearly 24 courses in private engineering colleges.
Decrease in seats is a result of poor infrastructure that has forced several colleges to shut down departments or sometimes, even the college itself, like the ones in Budbud of Burdwan and in Barasat. In 2015, almost 37% seats had remained vacant in Bengal’s technology institutes. The two worst hit subjects are Information Technology and Applied Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering: many colleges have drastically reduced seats in these two departments.
Interestingly, the number seats in government engineering and state-run universities (3,747) has remained constant. “Private colleges change their preferences according to the market demand. When there is a fall in demand, they eliminate the stream. It was a little difficult earlier because of strict norms but now, AICTE has allowed colleges to make their choice of courses”, said Association of Professional Academic Institutions president Taranjit Singh. Private engineering colleges bank on placement. For the last two years, the investment scenario in Bengal is degrading.
Also eliminating last year’s practice of allowing all students appearing in the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination to join the e-counselling, this year WBJEE board has decided to restrict counselling only to the candidates scoring positive marks (i.e. above 0). Although even this year all students who appeared in WBJEE (engineering) will be given rank cards. The board has decided to attach marks to the score cards.
“This has been done to ensure that the quality of engineering students is not compromised,” said a senior WBJEEB official. This action will not only discourage students to take up engineering, but also can drive them into depression . It will also have it’s effect on the economic growth of the state where there is hardly an industrial growth.