MUMBAI With admissions to undergraduate (UG) professional courses including engineering (BE/B Tech) and pharmacy (B Pharm) having concluded recently, figures shared by the state common entrance test (CET) cell reveal that seat vacancy across both courses has dipped this year as compared to last year.

For the first time in over six years, seat vacancy in B Tech institutes in Maharashtra has dropped almost 10% points to below 40%—while the seat vacancy stood at 45.6% and 48% in the academic years 2020-21 and 2019-20, respectively, this year, the seat vacancy for the course stands at 36.6%.

The sudden surge in demand for engineering courses is due to the sudden demand for fresh information technology engineering graduates in the placement season this year, said experts. “IT related graduate programmes are in high demand and most engineering colleges in urban areas haven’t got a single vacant seat in these departments. In the last two years, there’s been a sudden demand for fresh IT graduates and this has attracted more students to the course this year,” said Gopakumaran Thampi, principal of Thadomal Shahani Engineering College, Bandra.

He added that while courses such as mechanical and civil engineering are still facing seat vacancy, most other courses including computer science, IT, artificial intelligence (AI) and data science have attracted maximum applications this year.

CET cell figures have also revealed how nearly 11.4% seats in B Pharm were vacant in the academic year 2020-21 while the seat vacancy stands at 8.8% this year. Experts have attributed this sudden surge in demand for undergraduate engineering and pharmacy courses to the delay in carrying out UG medical and dental admissions in the state this year.

“Not only was the overall admissions’ process delayed but simple registrations for students and the announcement of the state merit list were delayed in Maharashtra by four months. In the meantime, several students opted for admissions in neighbouring states where the process began in November itself and several students with low scores in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET-UG) opted for admissions in other courses including engineering and pharmacy to avoid further delay,” said Sudha Shenoy, activist fighting for medical aspirants’ rights.

Hindustan Times had recently reported how pre-admission registrations for undergraduate health science courses including MBBS and BDS witnessed a drop by a few thousand applications this year. Figures shared by the CET cell, the admission conducting authority, revealed that only 55,674 candidates completed the process by uploading the necessary documents and paying fees by January 5 which was the deadline. This is nearly 9,000 applications lower than the 64,645 registrations completed in the previous academic year.

Looking at the dip in registrations, the state CET cell extended the deadline for completion of registration for health science courses and nearly 2,000 new candidates have registered since January 6 and this process will go on till January 17.

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