This is something we will see growing over a period of time — students will not run after IITs PRADIPTA BANERJI, Professor at IIT-Bombay (IIT-B)
The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) could soon discontinue some courses, with an increasing number of students refusing admission after counselling in the most sought after institutes.
Of the 10,998 seats in the 23 IITs, the number of vacancies after seven rounds of counselling stood at 121 this year, up from 96 last year, and 50 in 2015, and three in 2014.
A concerned Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry has asked IITs to look at ways to address the situation, including the option of scrapping unpopular courses. The issue will be taken up at a meeting of the Joint Admission Board (JAB) on August 20. “This is something we will see growing over a period of time — students will not run after IITs,” said Pradipta Banerji, professor at IIT Bombay, stressing that there is “certainly a shift in the culture”.
“For instance, students may take the JEE Advanced exam to satisfy their parents and are likely to get good ranks, but they may then opt for something else, say English literature, which they want to do,” he said.
However, experts believe that the decline in admissions results from the unpopularity of certain courses due to their value in the job market.
For instance, IIT Varanasi, which has the most vacancies (32), was found wanting 15 students in pharmaceutical engineering and technology, and eight in ceramic engineering.
The vacancies in IITs in Bombay (1), Delhi (2) and Kharagpur (9) this year were for chemistry, biochemical engineering, biotechnology, architecture, physics and mining engineering.
Banerji suggested the IITs should reduce the intake in such courses rather than completely do away with them.
A senior IIT official attributed the loss to students’ desire for popular courses in other institutes.
“As a special round counselling is going on in NITs, students prefer to opt for a good course, say in computer science, in NITs than an ordinary one in an IIT,” he said, requesting anonymity.
There were over 6,000 vacancies in the National Institute of Technology/IIITs and other government-funded technical institutes at the end of the seventh round of counselling.
While admissions have ended in IITs, for NITs, a special round is being conducted till Sunday to fill up all the vacancies following which admissions will close.
One of the major reasons behind the vacancies in NITs and IIITs is due to the 50% state quota, according to official sources.
The HRD ministry has relaxed the eligibility criteria for admissions in eight NITs based in north-eastern states. Under the new criteria, 75% mandatory marks in Class 12 for general and OBC categories have been reduced to 45% in the same categories.
Also, as per the new rule, if any home quota seats are left in NITs, they can be converted into all-India quota. For instance, if in Jammu and Kashmir, seats under the home state quotas are left after offering it to eligible candidates from the state, they can be given to eligible students from other states.