Drop in IIM entrance test applicants
The number of students applying this year for the Common Admission Test (CAT), the entrance exam for the IIMs and many other management institutes, has witnessed a drop of more than 5 per cent over last year’s figure, at a time there has been a sharp increase in job losses among white-collar professionals.
CAT 2020 has registered 2.3 lakh candidates after the last date of registration was extended by a week. Last year 2.44 lakh students had applied. The figure was 2.41 lakh in 2018, 2.31 lakh in 2017, and 2.32 lakh applied in 2016. This year’s registration number is the lowest since 2015 when 2.18 lakh candidates had applied for the admission test.
There are nearly 5,000 MBA seats in the country’s 20 IIMs. IIM Indore is in charge of holding CAT this year on November 29 in 155 cities. The last date for registration initially was September 16 but was extended to September 23 without any reason being cited.
The IIMs charge between Rs 12 lakh and Rs 23 lakh for the two-year MBA programme. Most students pursue the course by taking education loans, which they repay after getting jobs.
“This year the job situation is gradually worsening due to the economic downturn mainly caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The spread is yet to peak. There is no clarity on how long it would take for the economy to return to the pre-Covid levels.
“That could be the reason influencing the students’ choice of courses this year,” said an IIM Ahmedabad faculty member.
According to a recent report of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), the country lost close to one-third of its white-collar jobs between May and August. An estimated 5.9 million (32.6 per cent) of the 18.1 million white-collar jobs in the country were lost in these four months.
The recently held Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main, for admission to engineering courses, witnessed 25 per cent absenteeism. The IITs have declared that 1.6 lakh top scorers will be eligible to take the JEE Advanced on Sunday. Till Thursday, 1.55 lakh candidates had downloaded admit cards.