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Entry rule tweak for private tech colleges

- Bar on HS score as admission cut

Higher Secondary results have ceased to be the criterion for filling up seats at private engineering colleges that remain vacant after admitting students through the JEE board’s counselling.

Since 2011, private colleges had the option to fill up such seats on the basis of scores in the HS exam. The only condition was 50 per cent marks in physics, chemistry and mathematics together in the HS.

The move was a departure from the norm followed since 1962 of admitting only those students who had cracked the JEE or an equivalent examination.

The government has reverted to the pre-2011 system, following a nudge by the JEE board which had expressed concern over the declining standard of engineering education because of the new rule.

A circular recently issued by the government stated: “It is clarified that for admission into the UG course in engineering/technology/architecture/pharmacy it would be essential for the candidate to have appeared in the State Joint Entrance Examination i.e. WBJEEM-2014 or JEE Main-2014 and secure a rank, and the admission shall not be made on the basis of marks obtained in the ‘10+2’ level of examination alone.”

The rule introduced in 2011 gave private tech colleges three options if they wanted to fill up seats remaining vacant after admitting students through the counselling conducted by the JEE.

The colleges were asked to admit students based on their JEE ranks. If seats still remained vacant, a candidate’s rank in the All India Engineering Entrance Exam (held by CBSE till 2012 and has been replaced with JEE-Main) would be the criterion. The final option, if there were still a few seats left, was the HS score.

But sources in the higher education department said most colleges admitted students on the basis of HS marks in a desperate bid to fill up seats. “We have decided to drop the HS score as the criterion as we are against the idea of bypassing the entrance exam,” said an official.

The official explained the kind of problems they are encountering.

“Institutions are struggling to arrange placements for students admitted through JEE counselling because of a crunch in the job market. So, one can realise the prospect of students admitted on the basis of their HS scores.... Over the past of couple of years, there were too many cases of college authorities being held hostage by students because of lack of placement,” said the official.

“As private colleges charge hefty fees, students at times take placements for granted. But a company won’t recruit students whose merit is below average or who lack command of the subject,” he added.

A member of the Association of Professional Academic Institutes (APAI) — which represents private engineering colleges — welcomed the rule change, saying they would rather keep seats vacant than admit students on the basis of their HS scores.

“Admitting students on the basis of HS scores leads to problems in the class. Students admitted through the JEE board counselling are obviously ahead of others. Teachers find it difficult to deal with the different categories of students in the same class,” said a member of the association.

The state JEE board had suggested to the government last year that admitting students bypassing the JEE was eroding the exam’s importance. “We explained to the government that students would stop attaching importance to the entrance test. The department has realised our point,” said Bhaskar Gupta, the chairman of the JEE board.