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The business of entrance exams and students plight...............

I don't normally follow admission process of engineering colleges, but a news article in the Hindu Business Line- a financial daily- caught my attention. The report says, "Over 1.6 lakh to appear for VIT engg entrance". VIT is a relatively well-known engineering college and it surprised me that so many people would appear for the entrance exam conducted by a private engineering college to fill probably 2,000 seats (could not confirm the number of students admitted each year). Then, I searched for SRM Engineering College- another well known private college. Here again, a news report says more than 150,000 students applied last year.

Each of them charge Rs 900 (around $ 18) for the application form and back of the envelope calculation shows they will make around Rs 14 crore just from selling application forms. Of course, there is a cost of conducting the entrance exams.

Its a good sign that market forces are at work as students assign a premium to colleges that they feel will lead to a better job prospect, even as many colleges fail to fill up seats (number of applicants is less than number of seats). This report, says more than 79,000 out of 262,164 seats are vacant in Tamil Nadu alone.

However, for students, its a harrowing experience. If they are applying for 10 colleges, they might be sitting in six or seven entrance exams, and on top of that, pay Rs 900 for each of them. Entrance exam is not the only way to ascertain a students ability. I think its time a credible third party develop a tamper proof entrance exam that all colleges will accept. If so much money is involved, a private firm might be able to do it . 


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