Chennai: Due to various reasons including the inability of students to cope with the engineering syllabus, introduction of reappearance system and steep fall in the pass percentage has resulted in high dropouts in engineering colleges this year.
The students studying in the second and third years are mainly quitting the courses while some colleges are having about 15% dropouts in the current academic year.
Anna University had introduced Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) to the affiliated colleges last year in which the arrears system was replaced by reappearance registration system.
Under the new system, the students have to redo the internal exam. “The students who have failed to clear the subject in an odd semester can reappear for the same subject only in the next year as the same course will not be offered in the following even semester. At the same time, the students will not be allowed to register for more than 36 credits in a semester which will limit their number of arrears to only two or three subjects along with the regular subjects,” said B.Chidambara Rajan, principal of Valliammai Engineering College, Chennai.
If a student has more than two arrears in a semester, then there is a danger of accumulating of arrears as he could not clear them at one go or in the following semester. “The third-year students who have bulk arrears are quitting the courses along with second-year students,” he observed.
“Though the new system is flexible in selecting or dropping the courses in a particular semester and allowing the students to take one year break to do internships, it is particularly harsh on the average students who could not clear the exams,”another principal added.
The period to get the first class with distinction is being extended to five years from four years under the CBCS.
Some principals also alleged that few deemed universities are targeting engineering graduates with arrears in affiliated colleges and luring them with the promise of degrees. “Students with many arrears clearing them all at one go and get their degrees,”they said.
The stringent evaluation of answer scripts by Anna University has brought the semester results down by 15% to 20% in many engineering colleges in last two semesters.
In December 2017 exams, not a single student from 43 engineering colleges was able to clear the first semester exams and 141 engineering colleges got results in single digits. Only 57 engineering colleges registered more than 50% pass percentage in the exam.
“The stringent evaluation has increased number of arrears and in turn, it has increased the dropouts two to three times in good and average engineering colleges,” a private college professor said.
However, the top engineering colleges maintained that their dropout numbers are as usual compared to last year. “We have dropouts, but it is nothing abnormal compared to last year. Our college has got good results in the last two semesters,” a principal from the top college said.
Career consultant Jayaprakash A.Gandhi said the engineering colleges which have got less 50% pass percentage have high dropouts.
“So far, the students used to carry forward their arrears and they may have some difficulties with the new system. The lower level deemed universities have got complementary exams through which the migrating students are clearing their arrears immediately,”he said.
He defended the stringent evaluation followed by Anna University. “Anna University's efforts to strengthen the examination system could not be undermined. Already people are saying over 80% of our engineering graduates are unemployable. If we still dilute the exam system, it will not help in any way,”he argued.
The officials from Anna University said they are aware of the issue. “It's a new system which was introduced only last year and we will examine it after consulting with the colleges,” they said.