Lucknow : As the process of admissions to engineering and professional courses at APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University (AKTU) comes to a close, there are as many as 326 colleges in which there is not a single student. Officials said these are institutes which were rejected by the students totally, hence, zero allotments for academic session 2017-18. UP has 584 colleges affiliated to AKTU.

At the end of five rounds of counselling, figures show, there are 134 colleges, where admissions are one to nine. In Lucknow, there are 28 institutes which have zero admissions in spite of the allotments. Then there are 18 colleges in the state capital where there have been no allotments at all. "It is worrisome if no students join an institute even after locking their seat and paying the fee. This indicates failure of the university as a whole in attracting students,'' said a professor, requesting not to be named.

Further, there are 76 institutions where allotments were between 11 and 50. In all, there are only 34 colleges, excluding the 12 government-run institutes, in which there have been more than 50 allotments. "These are the ones actually helping the university survive,'' commented another teacher, attributing the poor show to supply outstripping demand, besides improper infrastructure, unqualified faculty and scanty placements.

According to AKTU vice-chancellor Vinay Pathak, engineering education attracting less students is a worldwide phenomenon in the present day, adding that students are quality conscious and career-oriented. They opt for colleges that have training and placement facilities, and in which teaching-learning process is good. "High number of colleges with zero-allotment is an indication that in the long run, only quality will survive. A state like UP needs only 25,000 to 30,000 engineers/professionals which we get almost every year,'' Pathak said.

Only 18,000-22,000 admissions take place through counselling, while around 10,000 seats in private colleges get filled through direct admissions. Under the direct entry, raw students who haven't even appeared for any entrance exam are admitted. Direct entry is deemed 'selling' of seats which remain vacant after counselling.

The surplus colleges which fail to attract students, said Pathak, will eventually close down. "Prevailing market forces will compel them to shut down. New affiliations will be granted only on the basis of requirement'', he said.

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