Common entrance tests get little response in Andhra Pradesh

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Half of the seats under entrance tests go abegging

Visakhapatnam: Common entrance tests once used to be the worst nightmares for students, with just a few of them making the cut. There has, however, been a 360 degree turn in the situation over the last few years where around half of the seats under various common entrance tests from the state go abegging. The state government is thinking in terms of scrapping Eamcet in 2018 as there are no takers for thousands of seats each year.

The situation has been the same for other common admission tests, too, that draw very little resp-onse from students for admissions. In 2016, for the 1,61,000 engineering seats, only about 88,000 students took admissions. Just about 4,800 MCA seats were filled out of around 10,580 seats. Teacher education has also lost its mojo with the students. Only some 19,000 students joined the B.Ed courses while the number of seats available was 45,000.

Admissions under the ECET, LAWCET, PGECET and other tests have also been drawing lukewarm response over the last four to five years. Interestingly, the number of students appearing for these tests, too, has dropped because of lack of opportunities in private sector. Also, there are no government recr-uitments for those passing professional courses.

Advisor-Academics at the Indian Institute of Petroleum and Engineering, Dr V.S.R.K. Prasad, attributed the disinterest for admission to MCA, B.Ed and other courses to the increase in the number of engineering seats. “The MCA was introduced to fill the ‘demand and gap’ for computer professionals and to drive the BSc students towards computer education. But, with the increase in engineering seats, MCA has lost its charm. The same has happened in the case of B.Ed,” said Dr Prasad.

While core subjects like business management and engineering continue to draw the cream of students, other tailor-made courses have been fading out gradually. Dr T. Sharon Raju from the Institute of Advanced Studies in Education, Andhra University, said the deteriorating quality of education and dearth of opportunities have led to the decline in admissions.

“These factors have put hundreds of engineering, MCA and teacher education colleges on the deathbed. Thousands of seats are lying vacant in various colleges over the last few years. Operating with a business motive, some of these institutes offered low salaries to teachers, which again affected the quality of education,” said Dr Sharon Raju.

Principal of the Ushodaya College of Education of Visakhapatnam, S. Venkata Vasu, said the future looks bleak for teacher-training institutions. “The B.Ed and D.Ed courses, which enjoyed great demand until a few years back are now waiting for miracles to happen. Extension of B.Ed course duration to two years had adversely affected the demand. Private schools should only recruit trained teachers, but they are eluding the norms,” he added.

Common test likely for engineering admissions
The state government will set up a committee to decide on the future of Eamcet 2018, with BiPC students now app-earing for NEET.

Giving engineering admissions solely bas-ed on the Intermediate marks by scrapping the Eamcet-2018, increasing the weightage for Intermediate marks in Eamcet or going for a national-level entrance test were some of the proposals with the government.

The Union Government, meanwhile, has be-en mulling over the introduction of a national-level common entrance test for engineering admissions on the lines of NEET for medicine.

This could be a viable option for Andhra Pradesh as the engineering aspirants are now forced to write about 20 entrance tests for admission to IITs, deemed and private universities, renowned state institutions, etc.

The common examination is also expected to do away with the unscrupulous practices of some private institutions and impart uniformity in admissions across the country.

During a recent meeting, HRD minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao said they will form a committee to look into the alternatives for Eamcet-2018. “The BiPC students will be writing the NEET. On the other hand, thousands of engineering seats have been lying vacant each year. In this backdrop, the committee will study various options with regard to Eamcet-2018,” said Mr Srinivasa Rao.

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