The demand for engineering, management and computer courses continues to slide in Maharashtra with a 10-20% drop in the number of enrolments for degrees such as BE/BTech, MBA/MMS and MCA (Masters in Computer Applications) .
According to Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) data, around 79,000 students were admitted to engineering colleges this year, compared to 89,000 enrolments in 2015-16. Similarly, around 26,000 and 4,000 students got admission in MBA/MMS and MCA respectively, down from 29,000 and 5,000 enrolments for these courses last year.
Degree programmes in pharmacy and architecture - which have fewer seats compared to management, engineering and computer application courses - have, however, witnessed a rise in demand. While 7% more students were admitted to Bachelor of Pharmacy (BPharm), there’s been a 50% increase in enrolments for Bachelor of Architecture (BArch).
Experts said a decline in college placements, a stagnant job market and better awareness of market conditions among students is responsible for the trend. “There was hope that with the initiatives like ‘Make in India’ and ‘Smart Cities’, new jobs will be created and more job opportunities will come from abroad. But progress is slow and India remains a replacement market. Reality has set in,” said recruitment expert Kamal Karanth, MD, India, Kelly Services and KellyOCG.
According to Karanth, many students are opting out of once popular post-graduate programmes such as MBA, MMS and MCA, because these courses are no longer thought to provide the additional “edge” to graduates. “The students have realised that, if after pursuing MBA, they will get a job of selling credit cards in a bank or be placed in the retail outlet of a fast -moving consumer goods (FMCG) firm, there’s no point doing it. They can get the same jobs after a regular degree,” he said.
Explaining the rise in BPharm enrolments, Karanth said strict regulation on the pharmacy industry has created an increased capacity for employment in Quality Control and Quality Assurance (QAQC) departments. “The awareness that the infrastructure and housing market will continue to be robust is responsible for more admissions in BArch,” he said.
The dip in demand for BE/BTech, MBA/MMS and MCA also means that thousands of seats will continue to remain vacant in professional courses across the state. Experts said while the seats in professional colleges in cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Aurangabad and Nagpur are more or less filled, a majority of colleges in small towns bear the brunt of low demand. “There’s a mismatch between supply and demand when it comes to professional courses. While many colleges have closed down or cut down on their intake, many hope that the job market will flourish in the future,” said SK Mahajan, director, DTE.