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Simple task or a headache?

LAIQH A. KHAN

Centralised degree college admissions will work out well, say its proponents, but…



New policy: Students to be allotted colleges and courses of their choice based on the marks scored in the II PUC exams.

The process of admission to degree colleges across the State could well go the professional colleges’ way with the Inter University Board (IUB), the highest decision-making body among Universities, resolving to come up with a common admission policy for each college under a particular University from the academic year 2010-11.

However, students seeking admission to degree colleges need not write an entrance exam like the Common Entrance Test (CET) or the COMED-K entrance exam that is necessary for admission to medical, engineering and dental colleges. They will have to just appear for a counselling session that would be convened for admission to colleges under each University.

The students will be allotted colleges and courses of their choice based on the marks they had scored in the II PUC examinations.

No waiting

“Under a centralised admission policy, the students seeking admission to undergraduate courses need not go to several colleges, shell out hundreds of rupees for application forms and wait endlessly for their names to be announced,” said Minister for Higher Education Aravind Limbavali, who chaired the IUB meeting held in Belgaum last week. If the colleges in which they are seeking admission fall within the purview of one University, the students have to submit a single application form. Seats will be allotted to the students on the lines of counselling that is currently taking place for admission to professional colleges. Such a centralised admission policy is already in vogue for admission to certain postgraduate courses in Universities. From the coming academic year, admission to all the postgraduate courses in each University will also be centralised along with undergraduate courses.

Though the IUB’s move appears simple on paper, experts opine that the task is easier said than done. For, a couple of Universities including Bangalore University have more than 700 colleges affiliated to it and the exercise could be a huge drain on its human resources. Also, there are many Universities in central and northern Karnataka whose geographic purview spreads across several districts.

“Students would prefer to join a college close to home. Unlike students of medical and engineering colleges, many degree students would not travel long distances or relocate for the sake of colleges,” said lecturer R. Ramachandrappa, who also represents the Bangalore University College Teachers’ Association.

Complications

Private unaided colleges and minority institutions too are expected to oppose the IUB’s move. “They are unnecessarily complicating the admission process,” said Principal of St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore, Fr. Ambrose Pinto.

“Our institution has been declared as a minority institution. So, we have to fill up 50 per cent of our seats with students belonging to minority communities. How can we admit students sent by the government through counselling under the centralised admission system?,” he asked.

Garden City College, Bangalore, a private unaided college offering a host of degree courses, too struck a discordant note. “A student may pick our college in the initial rounds of counselling. But if he picks up another college towards the final rounds of counselling, how can we fill up the seat? We may just not have any student to take up the seats left vacant towards the end of the counselling. This is how several seats in engineering and dental colleges are left vacant each year,” said a college spokesperson.

Also, many private colleges have a fee structure that is higher than the fees in government and aided colleges. But, most representatives of private colleges claimed that fee structure was not an issue for them in the context of centralised admission system.

Scepticism

The Principal of an autonomous institution was even sceptical about the Government’s ability to implement the IUB’s decision. “So many decisions of the IUB taken in the past could not be implemented,” he added.

Government officials are, however, optimistic that the centralised admission system can become a reality in Karnataka and cite the example of Delhi University adopting such a procedure for admission to colleges affiliated to it.

Meanwhile, the Government has offered to invite private and unaided colleges for a discussion to sort out the ticklish issues confronting the implementation of the process.

Mr. Limbavali, who expressed confidence that the Government colleges and aided colleges would fall in line, expressed his desire to convene a meeting of private college managements and discuss the matter.

The IUB has also decided to set the ball rolling by constituting a three-member expert committee to work out the modalities for implementing the policy.

The committee, comprising Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) Vice-Chancellor H.P. Khincha, VTU Registrar K.V.A. Balaji and Commissioner of Collegiate Education Nagambika Devi is expected to go into the nitty-gritty of the issue and sort it out.

Prof. Khincha said the committee will go into various dimensions of the centralised admission process and make necessary recommendations to the Government on the issue.

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