In the first phase of counselling held for admissions to engineering colleges in Chittoor and Nellore districts students opted for core subjects such as mechanical, electronics and civil engineering as their first preference.
In contrast, computer science engineering and information technology, which had been the most-preferred courses in the last few years, have very few takers this time. Students and college managements attribute this to the recession in software industry.
In Tirupati, there are two government and more than 12 private engineering colleges. Since 2009, the time when the software industry has been in a recession, most of the private colleges are struggling to fill up the CSE and IT seats every year.
A Bharath, administrative officer at Sri Venkateswara College of Engineering at Tirupati, says, “Students have came to know about the importance of the core subjects. This could be due to the job opportunities in mechanical and electrical fields in the public sector.’’
Even girls are showing interest in electronics now which was the last option for them in the past. Though CSE and IT seats are not going to be totally vacant, the streams have fewer takers.
D Ravi, an ECE student at Sri Venkateswara University College of Engineering, said only sub-standard colleges have seats vacant but not all colleges.
KMV Sai Jaswanth, an Intermediate student aspiring to be a successful ad maker, says that his knowledge of computers made him to opt for CSE. “Among my friends of ten, just a couple, including me, chose this course,’’ he says. N Anusha, who is pursuing second-year EEE at SVU College of Engineering, says that most of the girls are now showing interest in electronics and mechanics. “The reasons are the vast opportunities in the public sector and the reservation for women,’’ she says.
Another factor students weigh before choosing a college or course is whether the college is adhering to AICTE norms or not. P Mallikarjuna, vice-principal of SVU College of Engineering, says that students have become very clever. “They consider faculty as a major boost to their studies and they are opting for the colleges having good faculty,’’ he says.
According to the AICTE norms, an assistant professor should be an M.Tech postgraduate and violation of the norms will lead to even closure of the college. Recently, a task force team was formed with two professors, and one vigilance and audit officer to inspect engineering colleges in the three regions of the state.
P Kalyan and P Venkatesh, brothers who are studying engineering at different colleges, say that some colleges are recruiting freshly-graduated B.Tech graduates to teach diploma courses where the diploma classes which will be held for not more than one hour a day and to take up regular engineering classes in the rest of the time.
“In our college, we can see B.Tech graduates working as lecturers in the cadre of assistant professor for which an M.Tech degree is mandatory,’’ they say without revealing the name of their college.
The standard of laboratories in most colleges is so poor that the National Board of Accreditation (NBA) has denied them recognition. “Even our EEE branch is not approved by NBA and it is likely to approval by the end of this year,” says Venkatesh.
IN NELLORE DISTRICT
The situation in the engineering stream is similar in Nellore district.
There is a good demand for civil engineering with majority of the seats filled in as many as 26 engineering colleges across the district. Despite there less job opportunities for civil engineering course compare than Electronic, Electrical, Engineering (EEE), with the on going establishment of power units in the district which facilitates EEE graduates to secure good jobs, students as well as their parents are preferring civil engineering.
The demand for civil engineering is growing in spite of the fact that most of the students who completed civil engineering are working in jobs not related to their subject.
Most of the civil engineering graduates are settling as work inspectors and engineers with private contractors for lesser salaries due to lack of employment in big industries and government sector.
Explaining his experience in the counselling, Narayana Engineering College training and placement officer V Rahul Bharadwaj says that 95 per cent of the students are preferring to join civil engineering and the stream become a hit among girls also. “Last year, there was a good demand for electronics & communication engineering (ECE) but this year it is civil engineering,” he says.
“I can at least establish my own office and earn some money by drawing building plans as apartment culture is growing in the district,’’ says A Sridhar, a first-year civil engineering student of Geetanjali Engineering College.
After introducing the fee reimbursement system for medical and engineering courses by the YSR regime, the percentage of civil engineering students appears to be high as it was 60 to 70 per cent poor and downtrodden communities preferring to study the course.