Presidency is the flavour of the admission season on its debut as a university, drawing 19,000-plus applications so far on the strength of a roadmap to revival bolstered by historian Sugata Bose’s mentor group and Amartya Sen’s aura.
In the eight days since the first admission form was downloaded, more students have applied for admission to the undergraduate courses offered by the fledgling university than in any academic year in the 193-year history of the erstwhile college.
As forms will be distributed and accepted online and over the counter for two more days, the number of applications is likely to exceed 20,000, officials said.
“There is tremendous enthusiasm among students to join the undergraduate courses of Presidency University. The institution’s upgrade has obviously revived interest in it,” registrar Pradip Kumar Sengupta told Metro.
The university started its admission process on June 1, breaking the tradition of distributing forms only after the announcement of the Higher Secondary results. The decision to start distributing and accepting forms two days in advance was meant to enable ISC and CBSE XII students to beat the admission rush.
“I was determined not to do my graduation in Calcutta and applied in five Delhi colleges to study geography. But after I came to know about Presidency getting a top-class mentor group, I decided to take the entrance tests there for both geography and English. I won’t go to Delhi if I get admission to Presidency in either of these subjects,” an ISC student said.
The biggest boost for Presidency in this year of transition is the number of applications from outside the state. “Over the past few years, we have hardly had students from the other metros applying for seats. This time, there are applications from Delhi and Mumbai as well,” an official said.
Till 2010, when Presidency operated under Calcutta University, the majority of applicants from outside Bengal would be from the northeastern states, Bihar or Jharkhand. So long is the queue for admissions this year that Presidency would need to hire halls elsewhere to seat everyone for the entrance tests.
“The admission tests for various departments are scheduled between June 14 and 19. We intend hiring space in some nearby campuses like Sanskrit College, Hindu School and Hare School to accommodate everyone who has applied,” the official said.
Two years ago, Presidency had to seek permission from Calcutta University to extend the admission process beyond the last date of admission because it had failed to fill up nearly 20 seats — mostly in science subjects — even after the third round of counselling.
So has only hype triggered Presidency’s turnaround?
“Presidency has been in the news for more than a year and that has definitely helped. As a former member of the faculty, I feel good that students want to study here. The onus is now on the government to do all it can to fulfil the promise of giving students a world-class university,” a retired teacher said.
The immediate requirement is a batch of new teachers. Some of those who had taught at the erstwhile college do not have the expertise to teach in a university that aims to be a world-class institution.
Students have been bombarding the authorities with questions about the faculty and the promised roster of visiting lecturers and professors, including big names from abroad. “Right now there is a buzz about Presidency. The challenge is to ensure that it doesn’t fizzle out,” a former student-turned-lecturer said.
Presidency offers BA and BSc honours courses in 18 subjects with almost 600 seats, the same as last year. English, math, chemistry and physics are the subjects in demand, a university official said.
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