There has been a drop in the performance of science stream students in the state board Class XII exams whose results were declared on Wednesday and experts say this could lead to engineering cut-off scores dropping by one mark for students whose marks range between 200 and 195. For those who score between 180 and 195, the cut-off or eligibility scores, calculated on marks in physics, chemistry and mathematics, would drop by 1.5 to 2 marks compared to the previous year.
Experts attributed this to fewer students from science stream scoring above 1,150 and an increasing focus on the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical aspirants and Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for those keen on engineering.
Last year, nearly 1,500 students, who scored 185 and above, shared the same cut-off score. This year, only around 900 students would share every cut-off score, said Moorthy Selvakumaran, an educational analyst. “This indicates competition for seats in top engineering colleges would come down for the first time in the last six years at the single window counselling organised by Anna University.”
This year, a majority of biology and computer science stream students seem to have shifted their priorities to preparing for national-level exams like NEET and JEE and parents too appear to be encouraging them in this direction, say experts.
S Ravindranath of the Doctors’ Association for Social Equality (DASE) said that amid attending special training classes organised by government, filling applications and preparing for NEET, students were not able to find enough time to prepare for state board exams.
The situation this year is such that several students who manage to secure a seat in top engineering colleges could quit if their NEET scores are decent enough for admission to a medical college, said a professor from Anna University, requesting anonymity. As a result, several engineering seats are likely to go vacant. “These vacant seats, mostly in government colleges, would go to students who attend the second round of counselling. Deserving candidates, with better scores, would end up getting admitted in DOTE II colleges (private) and pay more fees,” he added.
Last year, nearly 47 % of engineering seats went without takers at the end of first round of counselling, according to official data. This figure could increase as veterinary courses have also been brought under the ambit of NEET this year in Tamil Nadu.
As far as agriculture-related courses are concerned, admission would be based on Class XII scores this year and the demand is expected to shoot up.