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Promise of boom fires e-school rush
- Private colleges going nearly full for first time

Calcutta, Aug. 1: Every year, for nine years, private engineering colleges in the state scowled as thousands of seats went vacant. Not this time.

Only 500 out of about 11,000 engineering seats are empty and there is no guarantee they would remain so at the end of the admission season.

Powered by a strong demand for courses in hi-tech subjects, about 4,500 seats in the 20-odd private engineering colleges in and around the city have already been taken up.

Higher education department officials said the beeline to the e-schools is because of the rush for IT, electronics and telecommunications, computer science and engineering and computer applications.

“It is like a dream come true for us. Most seats in private engineering colleges in the city and adjoining areas were filled up in the first two rounds of counselling conducted by the government last month,” said Samir Bandyopadhyay, registrar, West Bengal University of Technology.

After the last round of counselling on Saturday, the joint entrance board, which conducts the tests to enter medical and engineering colleges, found all the seats in the private engineering colleges in Calcutta and its neighbourhood taken up.

Officials said there are fewer vacancies than ever in the 30 colleges in the districts. Last year, about 2,500 seats had remained vacant in the 52 private engineering colleges in the state.

“It is perhaps the first time we have noticed this kind of enthusiasm among students,” an official said.

“The colleges suffered in the past few years as there were lesser takers for the IT seats after the September 11 attacks on the US. Now, the IT craze is back,” said P.K. Ray, the director of MCKV Engineering College.

Education officials attributed the increased interest in studying in the state to other factors:

n The government’s promise to make Calcutta one of the biggest IT destinations in the country

n Declaration that more than 20,000 jobs will be generated in IT-enabled services and

n Improvement of infrastructure in the private colleges.

The government is even more delighted with the current trend because a large number of meritorious students from Bengal had joined institutions in states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Delhi in the past few years.

An official said: “About 40 per cent of the seats in several colleges in the city remained vacant last year.” He saw a greater keenness among students to pursue engineering this year.

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