Thursday, March 22, 2007

Economics, not Engineering, shows the way

Would you expect a reputed College of Engineering to adopt technology based solutions to efficiently perform its own functions?

Perhaps not, if you understand what the economics professors taught you.

Since college seats are scarce and the college is not able to charge a market determined price for its limited seats, it must find other means to reduce demand.

You would, therefore, understand how the Delhi College of Engineering solved its admission problem:

  1. They notified the Combined Entrance Examination for 2007 on March 21, 2007 during the CBSE Board examination when the attention of students is mainly fixed on their textbooks. Thus only such candidates who have supportive and involved family members would get notified.
  2. The advertisement seems to have appeared only in Hindustan Times. That is a good move too because it increases the odds in favour of families that subscribe to (and carefully scan) several newspapers--surely a good target population.
  3. The form can only be obtained from two or three places by making a personal visit on working days between 10 am and 4 pm, excluding lunch time. This is a little confusing. It may be designed to target families that have at least one literate, unemployed member or those that employ drivers for their family car.
  4. The brochure would be available only between 23 March 07 and 16 April 07. Since the period starts on Friday and ends on Monday, it is includes the maximum number of weekends possible. And should you want the bulletin by post, this period is further reduced to 13 days, which includes three weekends.
  5. The official homepage of DCE at did not mention the notification on the day it appeared, but rather referred to their admission process for year 2006. That was a clever way to throw off the lazy Internet dependent wasters. Even as this post is made, the two main admissions hyperlinks refer to last year.
  6. Yes, a relevant link has also been quietly added now. But that is to discover the really determined crowed: it points to the virtually unreadable picture of the ad in the newspaper. How clever! It is not machine readable, so wouldn't be indexed on search engines. (The information must be protected from any easy or automatic retrieval mechanism.)

And these barriers are for just obtaining the information brochure. Surely the rest of the mechanism is equally carefully designed keeping the end objectives in mind.


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