The state government will ask colleges to scrap admission tests and interviews from the 2014-15 academic year to facilitate the introduction of centralised online admission, under which students will be admitted from merit lists prepared by the respective universities.
The move was mooted at a meeting on Tuesday between senior officials of the higher education department and two vice-chancellors to discuss the implementation of a recent notification on introduction of centralised online admission from the upcoming academic session.
Officials explained to the VCs of Calcutta University and West Bengal State University that the proposed system could not be introduced if the colleges continued with their screening procedures.
“Under the new system, screening would be based on Class XII marks. If the colleges persist with their own admission tests, it won’t be possible to draw up a central merit list,” said an official.
At least six colleges under Calcutta University — including Lady Brabourne, Bethune and Gokhale Memorial — admit students in some subjects through admission tests or interviews.
The meeting decided to keep Christian colleges (such as Scottish Church, Loreto and St. Paul’s) and Muslim institutions (such as Milli Al-Ameen College for Girls and Al-Ameen College) out of the purview of centralised online admission as they are empowered by the Constitution to follow their own admission policies.
Linguistic minority colleges like Shri Shikshayatan and Bhawanipur Gujarati Education Society, too, will be exempted from the new system.
A CU official said a mechanism has been worked out to ensure that the colleges which will scrap screening tests and interviews are not forced to compromise on merit during admission.
“For the reputable and sought-after colleges, we will set a higher cut-off. It will be mentioned in the centralised online admission order — to be issued by the respective universities — that a student will be considered for a reputable college only if his or her HS scores are above the cut-off,” said the official.
“Our model will be similar to the one followed during the online counselling for admission to engineering seats. A student gets a berth at Jadavpur University or Besu (now IIEST) only if he or she secures a good rank,” the official added.
A teacher of one of the colleges that conducted screening tests till last year said the new system would deny them the freedom to choose meritorious students.
An education department official said colleges run by trusts — like the City group of colleges and Rani Birla College — will be part of the centralised online admission system.
Kausik Gupta, the vice-chancellor of West Bengal State University in Barasat, said there was a proposal to start “help desks” in and around colleges that don’t have Internet connections to help students register and get admitted online.
An education department official said: “We have proposed that Net facilities be provided to the colleges at the earliest.”