June 13: Sanjukta Mazumdar secured 85 per cent marks in the High School Leaving Certificate examination and was confident that her dream of studying in the prestigious Cotton College would be fulfilled.
Yesterday, as her dream lay shattered, Sanjukta wept inconsolably. She had not been able to secure a seat in the college — not even in the evening shift of science stream.
Sanjukta is not the only one. Hundreds of successful students, many of whom passed the matric exam this year with distinction and star marks, were left out in the race for admission into the regions oldest and most prestigious college.
A strikingly high pass percentage — the best till date — which includes a high number of high percentage holders, has led to an unprecedented situation. With the number of seats remaining the same, a pass percentage of 80 has fallen awfully short.
I am really frustrated. Everyone wants to join Cotton College. No doubt, the college cannot accommodate all. But what about those who even after securing 85 per cent marks could not get admission? Should I place myself in the list of mediocrity? It is high time for Cotton College to increase the number of seats, particularly in the higher secondary classes to accommodate all deserving candidates, Sanjukta said.
Biplab Hazarika, another distinction holder, said the government must address the issue of enhancing the number of seats in its colleges. Since I could not get a seat in Cotton College, I have been left with no option other than taking admission in a private junior college. But studying in a private college will be an expensive affair, he said.
Cotton College principal Indra Kumar Bhattacharyya expressed regret at not being able to accommodate good students, but said under the existing infrastructure and manpower the college could not afford to enhance the number of seats. He said the cut-off percentage for admission into the higher secondary classes was very high this time because of a major improvement in the HSLC results.
Competition becomes more tough for the general category students as the college has to reserve seats for SC, ST and OBC candidates under the Constitution.
The situation was the same in two other leading colleges — B. Borooah College and Handique Girls College.
B. Borooah College principal Dinesh Baishya said there was a demand to increase the number of seats both in the higher secondary and degree classes following an improvement in the pass percentage of matric and higher secondary examination. We do not want to admit more students without proportionately increasing the infrastructure and other facilities, he added.
A senior teacher of Handique Girls College said various internal constraints had prevented the college from increasing seats. He said the college wanted to ensure quality education by admitting limited number of students.
Failure of government colleges to accommodate a large number of students has given rise to several private colleges, which allegedly charge exorbitant fees.
Admission fees in most of the citys junior private colleges is around Rs 10,000 for higher secondary classes. It is around Rs 2,000 less in Cotton College, B. Borooah College and Handique Girls College, a student said.