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B-schools fail to write off empty classroom worries

Vinay Umarji  |  Ahmedabad 

Industry players predict an occupancy of 50% at most institutes this year.

This year again, many schools may just have to do with empty classrooms, as placements, mostly in the financial sector, are yet to recover from the meltdown blues.

According to sector players, enrolments in schools this year too are on a decline with industry players predicting an occupancy of only 50 per cent at most of these institutes.

“Enrolments in education seem to be going down. This is also visible in the number of applications coming in for the (CAT). The numbers have come down from 260,000 to 200,000 in the last three years,” said Samir Barua, director, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A), during ‘Conference on Management Education: The Road Ahead’ at its campus.

According to data from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), last year around 60,000, or 30 per cent of the existing 200,000 management seats, remained vacant. This was registered as the highest vacancy ever in management education, with institutions even accepting money and selling seats to students without entrance test scores.

Last year, the Ministry of Human Resource Development added another 80,000 management seats to the existing pool.

There are over 4,000 business schools in India. Apart from the top 25 or so, which includes the prestigious IIMs, Indian School of Business and a handful of others, most others are struggling to fill their seats. “The has approved more number of institutes, thereby increasing the seat capacity. The current year is likely to see only half of them being filled,” said S Balasubramanian, director, GRG School of Management Studies. Several calls made to Chairman S S Mantha went unanswered.

While the trend is more visible in the low-rung B-schools, the top-level institutes are mostly insulated from the decline in enrolments, say industry players.

“Post-meltdown, placements, mostly in the financial sector, took a beating. Since most of the MBA graduates wanted to go for the finance sector, the meltdown has resulted in a decline in the number of enrolments at B-schools,” said Ajit Balakrishnan, founder, chairman and CEO of and chairman, Board of Governors at IIM-C, on the sidelines of the conference.

According to Uday Salunkhe, group director, LN Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research, Maharashtra alone is likely to see over 10,000 vacant seats in management education this year.

“Of the over 4,000-odd B-schools, the top institutes form a very small chunk. Hence, the decline in enrolments is more among the mid and low rung This, after the approved more number of institutes sometime back,” Salunkhe added.

First Published: Sat, July 23 2011. 00:55 IST