Bengal colleges finding it hard to fill vacancies in undergraduate courses – The Hindu

Recently, a prestigious girls’ college, Lady Brabourne, had to reduce the number of seats in a few departments. File image for representation. | Photo Credit: Maninanthan.V. M
Colleges in West Bengal appear to be failing to attract students as most of them face an unusually large number of vacancies for undergraduate courses this year, forcing the State government to extend the last date for admissions.
“It has been observed that a good number of seats are lying vacant at different General Degree Colleges and Unitary Universities at the UG level. Considering [this], the competent authority in the Department of Higher Education has decided that online standalone portal may be reopened with effect from September 12 to September 16 for the UG courses in General Degree Colleges and Unitary Universities, if required, for receiving fresh applications,” the State Government said in a recent circular to colleges and universities.
“UG admission process may continue till September 28 to fill up the vacant seats,” added the circular, a reflection of how grave the situation in the State is. It is not uncommon these days to come across posts from teachers on their personal social media pages, urging potential candidates to join their institutions.
Teachers and parents see several factors contributing to this sharp decline in the number of candidates seeking admission in local colleges, primary among them being students going outside West Bengal to study in the belief that the quality of education and the chances of landing respectable jobs are higher there; and the explosion in the number of new colleges in the State.
“This has been happening for quite a few years now, particularly in the suburbs but also in Kolkata. Recently, a prestigious girls’ college, Lady Brabourne, had to reduce the number of seats in a few departments because of this. This year, [the decline] is more evident possibly because of a combination of factors: pandemic-induced economic insolvency, growth of private institutions with more attractive courses, desperation among students to study outside Bengal,” said a teacher of a Kolkata college, who did not want himself or his institution to be named.
“Most importantly, so many colleges and universities have been opened all over the State indiscriminately in recent years without any ground assessment as to whether there was a genuine demand for them,” the teacher said.
As a result, even a month after admissions began and merit lists were published, a large number of seats remain vacant in most colleges of West Bengal. “There may be other factors too, apart from the exodus of students to other States and the mushrooming of institutions, such as students dropping out of school during the pandemic and many of them being lured by the easy money in working for app-based services,” said the teacher of a college accredited with B++ grade in South 24 Parganas, where seats usually fill up within a month, something that hasn’t happened this year.

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Printable version | Sep 11, 2022 12:33:09 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/bengal-colleges-finding-it-hard-to-fill-vacancies-in-undergraduate-courses/article65874862.ece
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