Divyansh|Dec 8, 2023
BTech in India: Waning seats, declining enrolment, shows AICTE data
Seats, placements, enrolment – what the AICTE data says about BTech, BE programmes in India.
NEW DELHI: In the last five years, as undergraduate engineering seats gradually reduced, a vast majority of seats still went vacant in BTech programmes across the country, shows All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) data.
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The all-India capacity utilisation, AICTE data shows, has been only about half of the seats available in 2021-22, with 55 percent enrolment.
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While the approved overall intake in 2021-22 was 25.39 lakh, just over 14 lakh students were enrolled, indicating that the supply of engineering seats is far in excess of demand. According to AICTE norms, “approved intake” means the maximum number of students that can be admitted in a course, excluding the supernumerary seats.
The latest All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) report also indicates a 10 percent drop in enrolment in undergraduate engineering degree courses. As per the AISHE, in courses like BTech and Bachelor of Engineering (BE), enrolment decreased by 10.3 percent – from 40,85,321 to 36,63,685 – between 2016 and 2021.
In the 2020-21 academic year, enrolment was 53 percent of the total capacity of 24 lakh seats. Meanwhile, states with highest seat shares in India recorded an average of 64 percent graduation rate in the batch of 2018-19. The AICTE data shows that the placements in the same states recorded an average of 60 percent at the end of BTech programme in the same year.
The table below shows the numbers for each year. The approved seats have increased in the last three years; however, the vacancy has also increased with it. Between 2019 and 2021, the vacancy has increased by 12 percent, from 9,84,264 in 2019-20 to 11,28,501 in 2021-22.
BTech: Seats, enrolment, graduation
Last year, the education ministry told parliament that 33.6 percent seats were not filled in undergraduate engineering colleges in 2021-22. The official data further revealed that 44 percent seats were vacant in 2020-21 and 44.2 percent in the previous year.
BTech enrolment in states
Almost half of all the engineering seats in India are located in the five states – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. Of these, four, Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra – states with some of the largest shares of seats – were able to fill over 70 percent seats. Tamil Nadu filled 65 percent. With an approved intake of 2.50 lakh in 2021-22, only 1.62 lakh seats in the state were filled. In the previous year, of 2.65 lakh seats, only 1.38 lakh were filled, recording a vacancy of 52 percent.
In 2021-22, Karnataka filled 73 percent of its 1.9 lakh BTech seats; Maharashtra filled 76 percent of 1.35 lakh seats in the same year. Similarly, Andhra Pradesh, with an intake capacity of 1.49 lakh was able to fill 76 percent seats in that year.
Among the states with fewer seats, occupancy was only about 50 percent. Uttar Pradesh, which had an approved intake of 85,000 BTech seats, got 52 percent enrolment and 40,356 seats went unutilised in 2021-22. Similarly, Kerala, with a capacity of 50,463 seats, managed to fill only 27,786 seats, or 55 percent.
BTech: Intake vs enrolment in 2021-22
According to AICTE norms, engineering colleges are required to have faculty and resources as per their intake capacity, instead of their actual capacity. This means that if there are fewer students than the intake, resources will go to waste.
States with a high density of seats like Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Maharashtra also recorded higher rates of students graduating from BTech courses. In this, Telangana was the only exception.
In Tamil Nadu, of the total enrolment of 1.43 lakh students in 2018-19 almost 70 percent students graduated. Of the same batch in Karnataka, more than 80 percent of students graduated. Meanwhile, in Telangana only 52 percent of students from the same batch graduated against the enrolment of 70,000. The table below shows the number of students enrolled in 2018-19 and students that graduated after four years in 2021-22.
BTech: Enrolment vs graduation in 2021-22
In Maharashtra, the number of graduating students in a BTech programme dropped below the enrolment rate for the first time in five years in 2021-22. In 2017-18, the state recorded 1.2 lakh BTech students graduating over 91,000 enrolments. This stark difference suggests that a large number of students of previous batches are graduating. The gap between enrolment and graduation decreased over the years with 84,000 students graduating over 79,000 enrolled students in 2020-21.
In states like Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, the percentage of students graduating is 36 percent, 59 percent and 62 percent respectively.
While the premier institutes like Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and National Institutes of Technology (NIT) rode the wave of the IT boom, placements did not recover in other engineering colleges.
The total number of job placements dipped to 5.7 lakh in 2020-21 from 6.45 lakh in 2019-2020 during the peak of pandemic. The overall placements subsequently improved to 6.18 lakh, although this is less than pre-pandemic levels.
Overall BTech placements
At the state level, engineering colleges in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Maharashtra fetched job offers for roughly 60 to 70 percent students. The table below shows the enrolment and placement figures for the batch that took admission in 2018-19 and qualified for placements in 2021-22.
In Tamil Nadu, one of the states with highest seats and enrolment, 70 percent students in 2021-22 managed to secure job offers at the end of the programme whereas only 43 percent of students got placed in the same year in Kerala. In Delhi, almost 80 percent of students were placed from the same batch.
Engineering: State-wise placement data
Even though past records show a huge gap between demand and supply of engineering seats, AICTE expects improvement in the upcoming years.
In March, AICTE decided to revoke the moratorium on new engineering colleges, especially for those offering courses in multi-disciplinary areas in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) areas. This ban was introduced keeping in mind the low enrolments in engineering and diploma programmes across the country. According to AICTE officials, the moratorium has been lifted after witnessing an uptick in admission in core engineering branches.
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