The Kerala government’s decision to relax norms of the engineering entrance examinations has evoked sharp reactions. Predictably, as it enables a student, who scores zero or even negative marks in the entrance examination, to embrace engineering as a profession. The government, by doing away with the ‘minimum mark requirement’ has extended an olive branch to hapless private self-financing engineering colleges in Kerala, hit hard by the exodus of students to other states. Over 50 private self-financing colleges are already on the verge of closure. During the previous academic year, over 27,000 engineering seats, mostly in self-financing colleges, went abegging. A high fee restructure also made students to go to other states.
Management quota seat in self-financing engineering colleges in the state is around `1.25 lakh a year, while seats in comparable colleges in Tamil Nadu are available at one-fourth that rate. This largesse, however, will benefit the state syllabus students, given the generous valuation process followed. CBSE and ICSE school managements have made numerous representations to the government to end the practice of lavishly awarding marks by the state higher secondary board and the floodgates will be truly opened for students with no real aptitude for maths and physics getting to be trained as engineers.
An even ghastlier downside to this issue is the abysmally poor quality of education. Official estimates put the success rate in self-financing engineering colleges between five and 30 per cent. In 2012, the High Court had directed the government to consider closing down institutions with less than 40 percent pass percentage. However, the government chose to put the court direction on the back burner and gave a breather till 2016. Half-baked engineers should not be pushed into a job market already struggling for decent candidates worth hiring.