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For years, computer science was a rage among those who made it to the top of the Common Entrance Test (CET) selection list. But preferences have changed as the information technology shimmer has faded and the state of the economy has become less certain.

Among the popular streams, computer science has the highest vacancy (40%) and mechanical engineering the least (16%). In between are electrical engineering (39%), electronics and communication engineering (36%), civil engineering (36%), information technology (28%), electronics and telecommunication engineering (25%), electronics engineering (23%) and computer engineering (22%).

The discipline of electronics and communication engineering has gone down in popularity as much as computer science, said an official from the department of technical education. "Mechanical engineering without any ambiguity is the most popular stream today, be it by seat allocation, the number of applicants or vacancy."

Going by seat allocation, the top stream is mechanical, followed by electronics and telecommunication, computer, civil, information technology, electrical, computer science, electronics, and electronics and communication. And by the number of applicants, the order is: mechanical, electronics and telecommunication, computer, civil, information technology, electronics, electrical, computer science, and electronics and communication.

Engineering college teachers say that with the economy no longer being at the top of health, students are preferring basic streams. Also, the popularity of streams is determined by the previous year's placements.

According to Anil Sahasrabudhe, director, College of Engineering, Pune, core engineering streams have become popular again because they allow a student the freedom to move around. "If you join mechanical, you can shift to allied branches like metallurgical or aerospace." But some branches have not taken off despite industry demand. For instance, 98% of food engineering and technology seats remained unfilled when admissions closed. Vacancies in streams with no demand, however, are understandable. An example is textile engineering, where 80% of seats remained vacant. "Ever since the textile mills of Mumbai shut down, this course has had very few takers, forcing many colleges to close down the department altogether," said Krishnakumar Gawand, an assistant professor at the Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute.

Also, "we still see fewer women than men joining engineering", Sahasrabudhe said. "But their numbers have increased over the years."

# Categories : National Article (INDIA)
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