Over 14,000 students from arts and commerce background have applied for Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) -a qualifying exam for those seeking admissions to masters and PhD programmes in science & technology, and placements in public sector undertakings. This is the first year that IITs have opened their ‘GATE’-quite literally-for students from the humanities background.
Overall, 8.8 lakh candidates from across the country have applied for the test scheduled in February 2021. While the IITs were expecting an increase in applications, after a few changes this year, it has gone up marginally by only 5,000. The numbers may have reached its natural saturation point, say some.
While humanities in GATE managed to capture the interest of 14,196 candidates, environmental science, also introduced this year, saw 14,804 registrations. Registrations for these new subjects are much higher than the nine existing subjects (out of 27), which is a good indication, claimed IITs. Mechanical and civil engineering remained the top choices, though there was a marginal drop in applications. This year, 3% more girls opted for GATE.
In a first, IIT-B, the organizing institute of GATE 2021, will be allowing students to appear in more than one subject, but only in a prescribed set of combinations. This new feature has pushed more registrations for subjects like engineering sciences (XE) and instrumentation engineering (IN), which were not so popular. Last year, XE saw applications from 4,790 candidates; this year, the number rose to 28,300, a near 500% jump, while IN applications rose by 130%. “This year, since we allowed a combination of two subjects, the number of applications in some subjects have increased. Students may get an MTech seat or a PSU job if they qualify in any one paper, based on requirement,” said profess-or Deepankar Choudhury, organizing chairman for GATE 2021.
Like CAT, GATE, too is an indication of the job market for engineering graduates to some extent. But, the slow economy has not pushed more candidates to opt for GATE. “There cannot be a direct co-relation. Students take into account several factors. There is no age limit or a cap on the number of attempts. The success rate in GATE is also less than 20%, making it one of toughest exams in India. So some may postpone it by a year. There is also a possibility that the numbers have reached the natural saturation level,” said Choudhury, adding that the overall registrations have been hovering around nine lakh for some time. G T Thampi, principal of Thadomal Shahani Engineering College, said many BTech graduates prefer jobs over MTech and those from the metros prefer studying abroad.