Despite attempts to upgrade the polytechnic colleges, the state government may find it difficult to fill the seats in these institutions with meritorious students this year. Against a total of 7,000-odd seats available in the 42 polytechnics in the city and the districts, only 13,000 students have shown an interest to appear in the Joint Entrance Examinations (JEE) to the polytechnics.
The poor demand for studying in the polytechnics has worried the cash-strapped government because it has borrowed Rs 126 crore for upgrading the institutions. The government is repaying the loan at a heavy interest.
Sources, in the state board that conducts the JEE said only 13,000 application forms have been sold to students — the lowest in the past several years — for appearing in this year’s examinations, slated for April. The final date for selling the forms expired last month.
Rajendra Kumar, secretary, state technical education department, attributed the poor response from students to the increase in the number of seats in the private engineering colleges.
“The number of takers has definitely decreased this year. The scope for studying degree courses in engineering has increased considerably over the past few years,” he admitted.
Sources in the JEE board, however, felt the problem of filling up seats will not be peculiar to this year alone. If the JEE is held on schedule, nearly 25 per cent of the applicants do not appear for the entrance tests. This straight away cuts down the number of applicants to below 10,000. Till a few years ago, more than 55,000 candidates took the polytechnic JEE.