Experts say there could be three main reasons for this.
There has been decline in the number of students taking up maths. The number of students who appeared for the maths exam this year 14,000 fewer than last year’s figure indicates that many decided in Class XI against pursuing engineering given the dwindling related job opportunities.
Secondly, official data shows that the overall academic performance of science students has come down from 94.7% in last year to 92.3% now. So more first group (physics, chemistry, biology/computer science) students will look up to arts and science colleges besides the usual lot of arts and commerce students.
Finally, enrolment in commerce and accountancy streams has increased by 23,100 over last year and the pass percentage of these students has increased by 3 points. These students stand a better chance in B Com admissions in top arts and science colleges this season, say experts.
Educational consultant Jayaprakash Gandhi said science students unaware of the situation will either rush for management quota seats in engineering colleges or shift to arts and science colleges. “So, there is going to be a tremendous rush for B Com and related courses.”
Also, professors from city arts and science colleges say, students are finding it to difficult to secure bank jobs as many nationalised banks are merging and are seeking advice to pursue live science courses.
On completing these courses, the professor add, students get an opportunity to either pursue research or enter the teaching profession after post graduation.
Besides, many students are showing a lot of interest in veterinary, agriculture and paramedical courses and competition in these fields is expected to be much tougher, said Moorthy Selvakumaran, a career guidance expert.
But there are not many seats in Tamil Nadu for veterinary courses unlike for agriculture. In 2013, only four private colleges, affiliated to TN Agricultural University, offered B Sc (agriculture) courses. Now, more than 10,000 seats are available in 26 colleges.
Similarly, colleges offering pharmacy and physiotherapy courses have increased manifold.
Sales of applications have already begun in many colleges. But there was not much crowd on the day results were declared because it was holiday on the occasion of Good Friday and part of an extended weekend.