Even as the Institutes of Information Technology (IITs) continue to be the most sought after institutes for engineering and architecture courses in the country, the number of vacant seats across these institutes has touched a four year high. As many as 121 seats across IITs remain vacant this year. Even after seven rounds of admission these seats have been left unfilled. The figure increased substantially since 2014 that witnessed only 3 vacant seats. In the year 2015, 50 seats remained vacant across IITs and in 2016 there were 96.
There are 23 IITs in total that offer 10,962 seats collectively. IIT BHU, Varanasi saw the maximum number of vacant seats this year. As many as 32 seats were left vacant here. It was followed by IIT Dhanbad that saw 23 vacant seats, IIT Jammu saw 13 vacant seats and IIT Kharagpur saw 9. One seat each is vacant at IIT Ropar, IIT Madras, IIT Palakkad, IIT Bombay and IIT Goa. It is courses such as ceramic engineering and pharmaceutical engineering and technology that aren’t attracting enough students. It is seen that students prefer going for computer science and other such courses at National Institute of Technology (NIT) rather than opting for less popular courses at IITs.
A few years back, IITs did not have any second round of admission. The vacant seats then were transferred to preparatory programme. This was a bridge course that helped the quota students to get up to the mark. It was in 2009 that IIT’s began conducting second round of admissions and the vacancies fell.
Many IITs have raised their intake by 400 seats this year. An official from the IIT Council shared that it was suggested to discontinue certain courses that did not attract students. The Joint Admission Board at IIT has apparently considered the suggestion and is planning to meet soon to discuss and take decision about such courses. This would be an attempt towards bringing down the vacancies.
The Human Resource Department (HRD) has also been asked to look for other ways to deal with this situation. It is being estimated that this trend is likely to go upwards. Pradipta Banerji, a professor at IIT Bombay stated that, “This is something we will see growing over a period of time — students will not run after IITs.” The reason given for this is “a shift in the culture”. “For instance, students may take the JEE Advanced exam to satisfy their parents and are likely to get good ranks, but they may then opt for something else, say English literature, which they want to do,” he added.