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Friday, October 1, 2010

Problem of plenty: Colleges chase students to fill seats

Problem of plenty: Colleges chase students to fill seats

 HYDERABAD: Serpentine queues at counselling centres for admissions to professional courses are passe. This academic year it's the colleges that are queuing up in front of students with freebies and discounts as the seats on offer are almost double the number of students. And the 25 per cent drop in number of students opting for professional courses hasn't helped matters any.

Small wonder then that colleges are bombarding students' mobiles with offers â€" 50% fee discount and evan a free bank loan. The St Mary's group of institutions has signed an MoU with Central Bank to provide guarantee for education loans. So in case the students fail to repay, the college will do the needful. There are others who are contacting students directly via text messages with discount offers not just on fees but even on rentals in accommodations close to the colleges.

And the competition to woo students is such that the fee for MBA or MCA is being cut from Rs 27,000 to anything from Rs 17,000 to Rs 20,000. "Colleges have even hired consultants to contact students by offering the seats even at Rs 10,000," an official said.

The problem of surplus seats has ensured that 252 MBA and MCA colleges will face a 'no student' year. Another 100 MCA colleges holding classes this year have reported less than 45% admissions.

Even engineering colleges, which are yet to begin the second phase of counselling, are now luring students with fee concessions. Of the 2.6 lakh engineering seats available, only 1.05 lakh seats were filled in the first phase.

This 'hunt for students' has the state government worried too. Higher education officials said that the government might issue a Government Order (GO) making it mandatory for colleges to have at least
50% of their seats filled in order to conduct classes.

"While the number of students has remained the same, the number of colleges in the state have shot by three times," according to technical education commissioner M Laxminarayana. He said that many colleges might have to close down for good.

Another official added: "If these colleges don't get enough students, they won't have enough money to retain good teachers. And consequently the quality of education will suffer."

Despite this the All India Council of Technical Education ( AICTE) has sanctioned at least 10 more engineering and pharmacy colleges which will now be added to second phase of counselling expected to begin in October.

source : Times of India


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