Admission in polytechnic colleges has fallen abysmally this year in Tamil Nadu. In government polytechnic colleges, the admission is almost a fourth of the total intake. Self-financing and aided institutions have done only marginally better, teachers say.
Government Polytechnic Colleges are now planning to call for a second round of counselling in a bid to fill seats.
College principals cite two reasons for poor admission – centralised, online process and the delay in starting the counselling.
The principal of a college, which had an intake of around 400 students, said it received only a little over 100 applications. There are around 430 institutions, including 47 government colleges.
Fear of infection due to COVID-19 had forced the government to go for online application issuing and counselling. The polytechnic colleges were caught unprepared for online process. It was not as structured as the Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions. No effort was made to educate the parents or students about the process.
As a result many students did not upload the required documents, sometimes even their birth dates and certificates were not included, a teacher said. In the conventional counselling method the candidate would have been advised to return with the documents the next day.
“Students of class 10 are not tech savvy. It did not help that many parents also opted to send their students to government higher secondary schools instead of polytechnic colleges,” said a college principal.
Some government college principals said centralising the application process had caused the problem. “The application printing began two days after the release the exam results. With all students passing class 10 the parents also decided to send their children back to school. Usually poor performing students would apply for polytechnic courses. Even those who may have decided to drop out after class 10 decided to complete class 12 in government schools where they do not have to pay fees,” said the official.
College officials blame the Directorate of Technical Education’s inadequate handling of the admission process, which, they say, added to the uncertainty.
Fear of poor job prospects for engineering graduates also played a crucial part. “Courier organisations or food supplier chains do not want to hire candidates with engineering degrees. For these jobs a degree in Arts would suffice,” he added. With the government increasing the intake in government colleges more students were willing to pursue an Arts degree instead, he added.