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The very objective of the single window counselling system for engineering admissions introduced 20 years ago during the DMK government headed by M Karunanidhi has been defeated by the new online counselling system in force since 1918. Students from rural areas find it tough to choose the preferred courses and colleges and the delay in confirming the admissions also leads to frustration among the students. The earlier offline mode of the single window system may need to be brought back.

In the single window system admission, students can choose the college and course of their preferences based on their rankings. In the online system, students must register their preferences online, however, the final decision will be taken by the system software.

The single window counselling was introduced in 1997 when M Ananthakirishnan was the Vice-Chancellor of Anna University. Till that time, engineering students had to send several applications to several colleges. But, the single window system ensured that students get admissions according to their marks.

Following complaints that private engineering colleges are demanding money to allocate the preferred courses for students in the second year, the course was allotted to the students during the admission process based on their marks. Since medical admission was conducted before the engineering admissions, the trend of engineering students migrating to medical colleges after getting admissions resulting in vacancies in engineering colleges was averted.

The single window system of admissions was introduced in medical admissions too, following the widespread reception among parents and students in Tamil Nadu. States like Maharashtra too started following this transparent admission process.

For the convenience of parents and students, the single window counselling was conducted in Madurai, Tiruchi, and Coimbatore other than Chennai. But, counselling in centres other than Chennai was dropped due to the expenses and practical difficulties. The counselling continued at Anna University without any problem.

In 2018, differences of opinion cropped up between Anna University Vice-Chancellor MK Surappa and Tamil Nadu Higher Education Minister KP Anbazhagan. Following this, the counselling process was entrusted with the Directorate of Technical Education and the online counselling system was announced.

Online counselling had complicated engineering admission. It has put an end to the smooth and simple process of students and parents visiting the counselling centre on a particular day and completing the admission process within a few hours, based on their ranks.

In the online mode of counselling, students have to first register the applications and certificates. The certificates will be verified online and the selection list as per ranks will be released. After this, the students must register for the colleges and courses of their choice online.

The students who were allotted the seats as per their choice can join the courses. If they did not get the courses or colleges of their choice, the students can join the given seats temporarily, while requesting a seat of their choice if it is available to them as per their qualification marks. If the seats preferred by the students are vacant, the seats will be allocated to them based on their rank and preference. The students are free to exit the counselling process if  they do not want to accept the given seats,

During the first phase this year, a total of 14,788 students who scored between 187 to 200 marks were invited for counselling. The hardships faced by the students in the online counselling will come to light if the Directorate of Technical Education which conducts counselling comes out with details on the number of students who have obtained seats according to their first choice or the first three preferences and the number of students who did not receive the seat of their choice,

All the students who apply for engineering seats are indeed getting admissions. But, if a student does not get a seat of their choice in the first phase of counselling, there is no guarantee that they will get a preferred course in a reputed college in the next phases of counselling.

T. Nedunchezhian, education counsellor said “Even the students in cities find it difficult to select the colleges and courses in the online counselling conducted by central engineering institutes like IIT and NIT. The majority of the students especially those from rural areas face difficulties in choosing their preferred colleges and courses through online counselling. So, the government should take measures to bring back the single window counselling system introduced by the previous DMK government”.

Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animals Sciences University, Dr Ambedkar Law University, Dr J Jayalalithaa Fisheries University and Tamil Nadu Agriculture University have implemented online counselling. But, admissions for medical courses continue to be conducted through a single-window system.

Please join Clubhouse discussion on this at
Tamil Nadu Engineering Counselling
Oct 4, 8pm (IST)

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