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Looking Till The End Of The Line

New engineering colleges and NEET face trying times in this crucial year for students

Looking Till The End Of The Line
New Life
A graduating student at the CMR Institute of Technology, Bangalore
Photograph by R.A. Chandroo
Looking Till The End Of The Line

Despite being one of the most sought-after professions in the country, engineering education is paradoxically at the crossroads today, facing one of its toughest challenges ever. In the last couple of years, interest in engineering colleges has gone down, leaving many colleges to desperately seek students or face the prospect of empty classrooms.

While the top 200-300 colleges are well applied to, the remaining ones have been given a miss by prospective students. Colleges in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have struggled to fill their seats last year. It is not surprising that a number of them have approached the AICTE for closure. In the last year or so, over 200 colleges have closed down.

Shockingly, in 55 colleges, less than 100 students were admitted in all in the last two years against a full capacity of over 30,000. This year too, about 30 colleges have applied for closure due to lack of students. Many more have applied for reduced student strength, others are discontinuing courses with no takers.

This is a huge departure from six-seven years ago, when engineering colleges were mushrooming in states like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh; interest in engineering and faith on colleges’ teaching quality meant they were flourishing too.

Partly, this downtrend owes to reduced engineering jobs in the market. On top of that, only some newly minted engineers fit the qualification or skills for the jobs that exist. According to experts, only 24 per cent of graduating engineers are actually employable.

All this is certain to put a lot of pressure on the seats available at the top 200-300 engineering colleges. In coming years, getting admission into them will be more difficult as competition will intensify.

Most heartening is this year’s increased participation across the survey’s nine streams, making it more meaningful.

The other big development this year was NEET in its first proper year of exams. Already, there are doubts over the future of NEET—the process and security and frisking of students have been questioned. On top of that, there have been problems with question papers in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. Already, a retest has been conducted in Warangal, with the possibility of a overall retest looming large. There were high hopes from NEET as a combined exam, with the government planning a similar exam for engineering exams, combining it with the existing JEE. There may be second thoughts on that, looking at the hiccups NEET is going through.

Amidst this confusion over entrance exams, Outlook’s ranking of India’s Best Professional Colleges (in partnership with Drshti Strategic Research Services) assumes great importance, particularly for students who are entering colleges or are preparing to apply to them. Like last year, our flagship ranking of India’s Best Engineering Colleges has pretty much the same names at the top, with a visible churn in the middle level, where many new entrants have found a place. A similar trend was visible in medical colleges, with the top colleges more or less retaining their positions.

What is most heartening is the increased participation across the survey’s nine streams, which has encouraged us to increase the Medical, Dental and Law rankings from Top 20 to Top 25, and Architecture and Fashion Design from Top 10 to Top 15, making the rankings more robust and meaningful, and helping students make a more informed choice.

Along with this, our package of stories touches on important issues relating to engineering education, NEET and the general state of education in the country, apart from a special section on India’s top women corporate lawyers and the rise of chefs and film-making as professions in demand.

We hope our package and rankings would give a complete picture of India’s education landscape and help students and parents choose wisely.


India’s Top Professional Colleges


  1. IIT Delhi
  2. IIT Bombay
  3. IIT Kharagpur


  1. AIIMS, Delhi
  2. AFMC, Pune
  3. CMC, Vellore


  1. Maulana Azad Institute, Delhi
  2. Manipal Dental College, Manipal
  3. Govt. Dental College, Mumbai


  1. Sir JJ College of Architecture, Mumbai
  2. SPA, Delhi
  3. Dept. of Architecture, IIT Roorkee


  1. NLSIU, Bangalore
  2. NUJS, Kolkata
  3. GNL Univ. Gandhinagar

Mass Communication

  1. A.J. Kidwai School, JMI, Delhi
  2. Symbiosis Institute of Media, Pune
  3. Xavier Institute of Communication, Mumbai

Social Work

  1. TISS, Mumbai
  2. Dept. of Social Work, Delhi Univ.
  3. Madras School of Social Work, Chennai

Fashion Design

  1. NIFT, Delhi
  2. NIFT, Navi Mumbai
  3. NIFT, Bangalore

Hotel Management

  1. IHM, Pusa, Delhi
  2. Welcomgroup Grad School, Manipal
  3. IHM Chennai

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