Toppers in the Common Entrance Test choose government colleges for medicine, and private colleges for engineering. Experts say this trend is strengthening every year.
Belgaum boy Pawan B Joshi finished 26th in the CET for engineering. He chose electronics, and joined R V College of Engineering, a private institution, after he found that placements in government colleges were not so encouraging.
Harini Seshadri bagged the fourth rank in the medical CET this year and opted for Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI) over private colleges. That is because government hospitals attract patients from all social strata, and doctors get to treat a wide spectrum of ailments.
“I visited Victoria Hospital to observe the patients. I will get to learn more through interactions with them,” she said. Harini is also apprehensive about the way CET seats are allotted in private colleges.
“It’s unpredictable. Sometimes, they cancel the allotments,” she said.
The trend is evident. Of the top 500 in engineering, 207 completed the seat selection process, and more than 50 per cent joined RVCE, followed by 23 per cent who chose P E S Institute of Technology, mostly its electronics branch.
Interestingly, not one in the top 500 has joined a government-run college.
Of the top 500 medical students, 435 were allotted CET seats and 66 per cent have joined public institutions such as BMCRI, Mysore Medical College and Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences, Hubli. Only 13 per cent have joined private colleges.
Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, chairman of Narayana Health, says quality and inexpensive education attracts students to government medical colleges.
Goverment colleges are not profit-driven. “But private colleges focus on breaking even at the end of each year. That is why even faculty members do not stay for very long and that hampers the quality of education,” he said.
Some private colleges risk being derecognised by the Medical Council of India, which is why students do not feel like joining them.
A good faculty draws medical students.
Dr N Prabhu Dev, former Directorm Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, Bangalore, says government colleges provide better teaching, and are equipped with more research facilities.
Engineering students also place a high value on the quality of the faculty.
“RVCE has been a popular choice for engineering education over the years, largely because of a successful campus placement programme. But most of the students of top 500 preferring us are new. I think it is because we offer industry-oriented electives, which enhances their employability,” says N S Narahari, professor and dean, placement and training at “RVCE, where more than 130 companies hired students last year,” compared to 80 at PESIT.
Dr D Raviprasad, Director, BMCRI, says clinical facilities in government colleges are the primary factor MBBS aspirants look for before making a choice.
“BMCRI has Victoria Hospital, Vanivilas Women and Childrens’ Hospital, Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, Minto Ophthalmic Hospital under it. It provides huge patient material for our students.
“While the fees in BMC is only ` 30,000 a year, it is as high as ` 70,000 in private colleges,” he adds.
One of the reasons for the increasing preference for government medical colleges, some students say, is the cost and the lack of transparency in the admission process.
Dr Manjunath Desai, student of DM Neurology at BMC, completed his MBBS from Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC), Belgaum. When he joined it in 1999, the fees in the state-run and private colleges were not very different.
“I wanted to study in Belgaum from home, so I chose JNMC although it is a private college,” he said.
University Visvesvaraya College of Engineering (UVCE), which is the only government college to receive an AAA rank from online education portal Careers360, has lost out to private colleges, many believe.
“About 30 years ago, students considered UVCE as Number One, and then there were only three others - RVCE, BMS College of Engineering and M S Ramaiah Institute of Technology. But I think it has taken a beating in terms of perception,” says Purushottam B G, head of corporate planning at BASE, a leading coaching centre.
“When we have students coming in for CET coaching, they have already decided which college they want to join.”
UVCE principal K R Venugopal says his college is better than the likes of RVCE.
“We are distinct from all VTU-affiliated colleges, but we could be better if we were under Visvesvaraya Technological University,” he said. “Students join autonomous engineering colleges as it is easy to get marks and nobody fails there. It is an illusion. Students also get carried away by the college buildings.”
In both engineering and medical streams, the cream of students selected national institutes over state institutes. Hemanth Amardeep Santhoor from Bangalore stood first in the CET exam.
Later, he bagged the fourth rank in the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) entrance exam and the 12th rank in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) exam.
“Initially, I chose BMCRI. When I got to know that I had also gotten into AIIMS, I had no second thoughts as it is the number one medical college in the country. It was an automatic choice,” Hemanth said.
Similarly, Prajwal K A from Bangalore who stood first in the engineering CET student chose Indian Institute of Technology- Bombay (IIT-B). “After my CET results were out, I went for the initial document verification, but the minute I heard I had got into IIT, there was no need to explore other options,” he said.
Sucheth S Kuncham and Manu S H, who stood second and third respectively, also made their choices based on reputation and quality.
While Kuncham has joined National Institute of Technology-Karnataka at Surathkal (NITK), Manu is already in IIT-Madras.
Technical Education director H U Talawar said, “New colleges were started in rural areas such as Hoovina Hadagali and K R Pet, need more time to build a reputation. Colleges like RVCE have been around for more than 20 years. When it comes to placements, employers need to start looking at rural areas for hiring, and the government has charted out programmes to improve interface with industry and students,” he added.
(With inputs by Seema Prasad)