All set for the PGCET round
With a good score, rural students can get a seat of their choice in a university of their option. But some academics are unhappy.
Test between July 12 and 15
It is finally official. After much thought, controversy and Inter-University Board (IUB) meetings, the State Government has opted to go ahead with a Post- Graduate Common Entrance Test (PGCET) for admission to various general PG courses offered by the Universities of Bangalore, Gulbarga, Karnatak, Kuvempu, Mangalore, Mysore, Tumkur and the Women’s varsity.
For non-professional PG seat aspirants, the move means another entrance examination, while for several candidates in remote corners of the State, the test is also an opportunity. With a good score in the PGCET, they now have a chance to get a seat of their choice in a university of their option.
The process is already on. Bangalore University, for instance, has started issuing test applications. Students could take the test for M.Sc. programmes in Bio-Technology, Bio-Chemistry, Chemistry, Physics and Microbiology. M.A. courses are offered in History, Economics and Political Sciences. Master of Social Work, Master of Education and Master of Commerce are the other courses offered.
The applications could be obtained till June 25 from the Prasaranga Sales Unit, Central College campus, Bangalore University, Palace Road, Bangalore-1, on production of a demand draft for Rs. 400 (Rs. 200 for SC, ST and Category 1), drawn in favour of the Finance Officer, University of Mysore, Mysore- 570005. The filled-in applications should be sent to the Special Officer, CET Cell, Crawford Hall, University of Mysore, Mysore-570005 within the specified date. The entrance test syllabus could be access online through www.bub.ernet.in or http://www.uni-mysore.ac.in
Autonomy at stake
The PGCET proposal had kicked up a storm with many academicians fearing it would jeopardise the autonomy of the varsities. But the Higher Education Minister D.H. Shankaramurthy was convinced that the entrance test would only benefit the students. His argument: since there was hardly any negative response from students — the key stakeholders in the process — the entrance test had to go on.
However, students’ outfits such as the All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO) were up in arms, condemning the move as “disastrous,” aimed at commercialising the PG courses.
The PGCET, according to AIDSO president M.N. Sriram, was against the time-tested norm of providing a majority of PG seats for the students under the jurisdiction of a particular university. Thousands of meritorious but financially weak students will be thrown out of the ambit of higher learning, he felt.
Former Bangalore University Vice-Chancellor M.S. Thimmappa had opposed the proposal when he was in office. In his view, the test would be “an infringement of the autonomy of the universities and an exercise designed to dilute their responsibilities.”
With the PGCET, the State Universities — originally formed to cater to only local, regional needs — will have to admit students from across the State based on their entrance test scores. “The Karnataka State Universities Act, 2000, is clear that the universities should cater basically to the regional needs with a jurisdiction earmarked,” says Dr. Thimmappa.
Each university in the State now has its own syllabus, approved by its own methodology, thus giving it a separate identity. The PGCET, with its emphasis on a uniform syllabus, threatens to undermine this. Also under threat is the universities’ right to frame their own curriculum and strike a different path. Notes Dr. Thimmappa, “Different varsities are meant to project different orientations of a particular subject. All universities cannot have the same expertise.”
V-C authority diluted
Another fear was that with the admission process taken out of the universities’ control, the authority of the Vice-Chancellors would be diluted. “If anything goes wrong, the V-Cs can always wash their hands off the issue, blaming it on the agency that conducts the CET. The test will thus be very bad for higher education in general,” says an academician.
The Government and all those in favour of the PGCET had argued that the test would help students from across the State to get admitted to specific courses such as Bangalore University’s Electronic Media programme, not available elsewhere. But academics felt this was the Government’s easy way out. The Government could have supported an Electronic Media Department in, say, Gulbarga University to cater to students from that region, was their counter-point.
The proposal to make the PG admissions on the basis of only the PGCET scores had also come under attack. This move would hamper lower, middle income and economically weaker students. The Bangalore University College Teachers’ Association (BUCTA)’s point was that the girl students would be particularly affected by the rule.
Yet, despite all that opposition, the PGCET is now on track, and will be held between July 12 and 15. The test will be conducted in Bagalkot, Bangalore, Bellary, Bidar, Davanagere, Dharwad, Gulbarga, Hassan, Karwar, Kolar, Madikeri, Mangalore, Mysore, Raichur, Shimoga, Tumkur and Udupi.
But before applying for the test, don’t forget to see if you are eligible. Candidates should have passed the graduate examination of any recognised university in India. Those who have appeared and/or appearing for their final degree exams can apply. But only those who have passed the degree at the time of counselling will be considered eligible for admission.
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