In order to fill vacant engineering and management seats in affiliated colleges, Punjab Technical University (PTU), like some foreign varsities, has allowed direct admission into the second semester. The students can do the first semester later.
Those admitted to the second semester directly will attend classes during summer vacations for the first semester and appear for the exam at their convenience.
The courses on offer are engineering, Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Master of Computer Applications (MCA).
Set up in 1997, the university has nearly 110 affiliated colleges offering engineering courses and 139 colleges offering management and computer application courses.
Classes for first semester courses started in July and those for the second semester are to start in January. However, hundreds of seats remain vacant.
The lack of students is due to two reasons: too many colleges and many of them running without proper infrastrucure. In at least six new colleges in Bathinda, Mandi Gobindgarh and Jalandhar districts, only 30 percent of the seats have been filled, a university official not wanting to be named told IANS.
PTU's dean (academics) Buta Singh told IANS that the university had asked all affiliated colleges to admit students directly in the second semester by Jan 22.
"The idea is to fill seats. This system has been adopted by many leading foreign universities," he said. To compensate for the first semester, students would attend classes between the second and third semester, he said. "There will be a flexible approach in taking exams of the first semester," a university official said.
Buta Singh said PTU was working out the modalities to conduct classes for students, who take direct admission in the second semester at different colleges, at a common campus.
"There are cases where students could not get admission because they had failed in a subject in Class 12 or missed the deadline waiting for results of other universities.
Now, such students can avail this opportunity. If we get good results, we will implement this model in all other courses too," Buta Singh said.
At PTU, an engineering course is of eight semesters while MCA and MBA courses are of four semesters each. To fill the seats, college officials from Punjab go as far as the northeastern region and Nepal to bring in students, a PTU official told IANS.
But the new arrangement has made the colleges with vacant seats happy. "It is a win-win situation for students and a chance to save a precious year. In these courses, the first semester is not dependent on the second semester. So students will not lose any aspect of studies by directly joining the second semester," Anshu Kataria, chairman of the Aryans Group of Colleges, told IANS.