Mumbai: With colleges in the state reopening to their full strength after the Covid-19 pandemic this academic year, there has been a surge in enrollment in technical institutes.
Data from the State Common Entrance Test (CET) cell shows that while there has been over 20% rise in engineering, computer applications and architecture programmes, disciplines like management, pharmacy and agriculture saw marginal growth of up to 5%.
Enrollment in technical courses in 2022-23 compared 2021-22 |
For government authorities and job market, the expected rise in the number of graduates poses the challenge of creating sufficient employment opportunities. On the other hand, technical colleges, many of which lack the necessary infrastructure and qualified teachers, face the uphill task of offering a more relevant curriculum and training to their students.
Data shows that, in the academic year 2022-23, around 1.09 lakh students were admitted to undergraduate BE and BTech programmes, which have been known for large number of vacant seats since last several years. Last year, 88,376 students were enrolled against a 1.39 lakh overall intake, leaving 51,108 seats without any taker.
The Master of Computer Applications (MCA) programme also saw a sharp increase in admissions from last year's 8,470 to 10,219 this year, while the enrollment to B-schools' MBA and MMS courses increased from 36,230 to 38,156.
According to the experts higher pass percentages in board exams during the pandemic, resumption of physical classes, and improvement in job opportunities after the pandemic are the key factors behind surging enrollment.
Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman of the National Educational Technology Forum and Former Director of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), said, "These kinds of ups and downs in enrollment are always there. The numbers were down during the last two years as many were suffering from poor financial conditions during lockdown. Students weren't willing to pay for online classes. Not many new jobs were created due to the lockdown. Suddenly, there are new jobs available and colleges had enormous placements last year," he said.
Kalim Khan, a city-based management consultant, and academician, said, "Online exams during Covid 19 also led to a magnanimous rise in the pass percentage of students. With more students acing their board exams, the number enrolling in colleges rose too. Moreover, after a long hiatus, the students are very eager to experience formal courses in an offline mode again."
Despite the recent layoffs by big software companies, experts remain upbeat about the employment scenario. "After the pandemic, there was a kind of rush to hire technology professionals. There's a demand for both core engineering as well as software sectors. Besides, many students are pursuing these courses with an aspiration to move abroad," said Kamal Karanth, Co-Founder of Xpheno, a Bengaluru-based Specialist Staffing Company.
Educationists emphasise that colleges and students will need to play a critical role in making students more employable. "Now that there is a surge in students enrolling for these professional courses, colleges must invest in their staff and their facilities. It is equally important for students to be proactive and make the best out of all the means that are available to them as the competition is bound to multiply once foreign universities come in," said Kiran Talele, Dean, Student Alumni, and External Relations at Sardar Patel Institute of Technology, Andheri.
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