Vacant merit seats in Kerala: Engineering college managements urge gov't to address issue

It is learnt that KCECMA representatives would demand increase in management quota seats from the present 50% to address the vacant seats issue
This is what they are saying | (Pic: EdexLive)
This is what they are saying | (Pic: EdexLive)

With merit quota seats in self-financing engineering colleges remaining vacant over the past few years, a section of the college managements have urged the government to relax conditions for admitting students to such seats or allocate a larger share of the seats to the management quota, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express

The Kerala Catholic Engineering College Management Association (KCECMA), representing 14 member colleges, will raise these demands during talks with the government scheduled later this week. The management's agreement with the government on seat sharing and fee structure has expired and a fresh agreement is slated to be drafted after discussions. 

As per the agreement, the KCECMA member colleges charge a uniform fee of Rs 75,000 per annum for both merit and management quota seats. However, over the past four to five years, the merit quota seats in these colleges have seen vacancies ranging from 15-20%. Despite repeated pleas, the Commissioner for Entrance Examinations (CEE) has not been able to fill these seats, the managements rued. 

"Of late, we have been getting numerous admission inquiries from students from other states, especially children of migrant workers, who want to pursue engineering education in the state. We have urged the government to admit such students to the vacant seats on the basis of their Plus Two marks alone, as per AICTE norms," Fr Mathew Paikatt, President of KCECMA told The New Indian Express

The proposal was mooted as a large number of such students were reportedly unaware that qualifying for the state engineering entrance test (KEAM) was a pre-requisite for admission to self-financing colleges in Kerala unlike states such as Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. It is learnt that the proposal was placed before Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan during discussions with the management representatives last week. KCECMA representatives are slated to hold further discussions with Higher Education Minister R Bindu later this week. 

Attracting students from other states
"With the government itself declaring that attracting more students from outside the state was its policy, setting apart a section of merit quota seats for such students would be a prudent decision," opined VC Sebastian, Executive Secretary, KCECMA. He added that no management quota seat has remained vacant over the years in KCECMA member colleges. It is learnt that KCECMA representatives would demand increase in management quota seats from the present 50% to address the vacant seats issue. 

However, the LDF (Left Democratic Front) government may not favour the proposal as any move to change the 50:50 seat sharing agreement, followed over the years, would invite protests from students' organisations. Meanwhile, KCECMA will also urge the government to permit setting up of industrial free zones in engineering college campuses. This would help students achieve world class vocational and industrial training and encourage start ups. Member colleges will also forge tie-ups with international universities to launch joint projects in the current academic year. 

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