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This year, the JEE (Main) exam which is scheduled to take place on 3rd April (offline) and 9th and 10th April (online) has seen a dip of about 100,000 students from last year to 2016. The count of the number of students touted to appear went from 13.03 lakh to 12.07 lakh, seeing a considerable decrease of 10.9% this year.

Previously, the exam saw maximum number of applicants after its conversion from AIEEE to a common exam in the year 2013, for which a whopping 14 lakh aspirants registered, which was more than the numbers from the past years of the existence of AIEEE (11.2 lakh in 2012). This saw a plummeting decrease the very next year to only 13.56 lakh applicants. The number again took a hit in 2015 by 50000 where it saw a decrease to 13.03 lakh.

JEE (Main), a part of the Joint Entrance Examination for admission into NITs and IIITs and some other Centrally Funded Technical Institutions (CFTIs) is taken every year by aspirants from around the country in the month of April. The examination has both online and offline versions. 1.5 lakh students are selected from JEE (Main) to appear in JEE (Advanced) which is the entrance exam for IITs.

This constant decrease in numbers has been worrisome according to the experts. Every year, a considerable percentage of seats have not even been filled by the students in these premier institutes. This might be taken as an indication of the change in mentality of Indian students in general. But is it for the good?

The trend however is relatively new to the education system. When the exam was AIEEE and not a part of the screening process for the now renamed IIT JEE, there was always an increase in numbers, including IIT JEE itself.

This probably is a showcase of the increased awareness and exposure students have to the traditional engineering system in India. Students have also started to take decisions based on career choices where many of the engineering aspirants later pursue management courses Post Graduation. Another reason can be the unavailability of quality engineering education outside of these premier institutions in India which might leave people to choose other potentially upcoming research fields and other undergraduate programs that offer a lot more in the basic field of sciences. Yet another reason could be the placement statistics in recent times where unemployment of engineers in their core sectors has been on the rise.

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