The state education department has come up with a bagful of gifts to attract students to engineering courses. From curtailing tuition fees to reforming the archaic syllabus, education minister Bratya Basu, along with the principals of the state engineering and technology colleges, has announced many schemes to pull students to engineering courses.
“We have decided to bring down the one-time initial deposit fees of Rs 40,000 to Rs 20,000 in private engineering colleges from this year so that students from all economic backgrounds can opt for engineering,” said education minister Bratya Basu at the inauguration of the pre-counselling session for engineering at Netaji Indoor Stadium on Monday. The pre-counseling programme will continue till June 19.
West Bengal Joint Entrance Examination Board (WBJEE) chairman Bhaskar Gupta said the board has been getting complaints from a section of students and their guardians regarding the exorbitant fees of the engineering courses. Hence, they took the decision to curtail the one-time deposit.
The WBJEE also announced a new ‘Free Schemeship’ that would give extra privileges to the economically backward students. From this year, the poor yet meritorious students can avail a discount of 25% in their tuition fees in any engineering college.
“Previously, we used to give 20% discount in tuition fees to the poor yet studious students taking admission under the management quota. But from this year, universities, that do not have management quota, can also provide this facility,” added Gupta.
The state government is also planning to increase the seats in both private and government engineering colleges from the existing 30,000. However, this has triggered a controversy with a section of engineering faculty members questioning the need to increase seats when last year more than 6,000 seats in engineering colleges across the state remained vacant. Many engineering colleges wanted to shut down some of their departments in order to curtail expenditure.
“We are in talks with the engineering universities and WBJEE in this regard. We are aiming to increase around 1,000 seats,” said Gupta. However, minister Bratya Basu said that as more students are coming to the state from outside to study engineering, the state government has decided to augment the number of seats.
The principals and faculty members of engineering colleges like BESU, Jadavpur University (JU), and West Bengal University of Technology (WBUT) unanimously declared about reformation of the syllabus.
“We are working together to reform the old syllabus in order to be at par with modern technological advancements,” said Ajay Roy, vice-chancellor of BESU.
Altogether, 104 stalls from 92 engineering colleges and universities will provide free pre-counselling sessions and guidance to the prospective students. Last year, more than a lakh students participated in this programme.