BHUBANESWAR: The decision of Higher Education Department to hike seats in Plus Two colleges seems to have back-fired. Around a lakh seats which were increased in 1,515 junior colleges from this academic session remain vacant even after final phase of admission. In fact, a total of 1,28,503 seats are vacant in Plus Two colleges, the maximum being in Ganjam and Khurda districts.
Of the 2,52,118 seats in Arts stream 31,148 are lying vacant. In Commerce, out of 47,087 seats, around 27,132 are vacant and in Science stream nearly 50 per cent seats out of the total 1,42,303 are lying vacant.
However, in popular institutions like Ravenshaw Junior College and BJB Junior College, the vacancy figure is nominal. In BJB Junior College just five seats are vacant out of total 563 in Arts and 18 out of 598 in Science but all the 230 seats in Commerce have been filled up.
At Ravenshaw Junior College in Cuttack, just 10 seats are vacant against 563 in Arts, five in Science and one seat in Commerce.
Sources said though the number of colleges in the State has gone up in the last five academic sessions, many of them are deprived of adequate faculty and lack infrastructure, hitting education hard.
The vacancy position this year is worse than the last academic session. Consider this: Of 3,59,138 seats in 1,467 Plus Two colleges during 2014-15 academic session, just 14,555 seats were vacant.
Contemplating a rise in demand for Plus Two seats this year, the Department hiked the seat strength by 20 per cent and 48 new Plus Two colleges were opened, a majority of them being self-financing colleges. The seat strength rose by 82,370 in the last two academic sessions.
While Department officials reasoned that seats have fallen vacant in rural areas as students are opting for short-term technical and vocational courses, academician Trilochan Pradhan said granting permission to new colleges is spelling doom for Plus Two education in the State. “Before granting permission for opening Plus Two colleges, the Department needs to study in detail its faculty and infrastructure arrangement. Many such colleges opened in the past do not serve any purpose now,” he said.
Officer-in-charge of admission, Mihir Das said last year seats were increased when the admission process was half-way through, but this year it was hiked even before admissions began because of hue and cry over seat shortage. “This is the primary reason why seats fell vacant,” he reasoned.
Higher Education Minister Pradeep Panigrahi said offline spot admissions to the vacant seats will be held from August 18 to 24.
“This year, many students in rural areas have missed out on the opportunity to take online admission. We are hopeful of giving them a chance during spot admissions only after which, a clear picture of the vacancies will emerge,” Panigrahi added.