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Minister deadline for college portal

Partha Chatterjee

Every college must have a web portal of its own by December so that college admission can be fully online next year, education minister Partha Chatterjee told vice-chancellors of all affiliating universities on Wednesday.

At the meeting with the VCs, the minister repeated what he had said on Tuesday about the government’s stand on centralised online admission to colleges, which his predecessor Bratya Basu had tried to introduce this year.

“There will be no centralised online admission. But the government is determined to introduce online admission at every college next year. Every college must have its own web portal in six months,” an official in the higher education department who had attended the meeting at Bikash Bhavan quoted Chatterjee as telling the VCs.

Soon after assuming office Chatterjee had ruled out introducing the centralised system this year, saying it would be implemented later.

On Monday, he asserted that a centralised online system for college admission would never be implemented. He set 2015 as the deadline for colleges across the state to switch to the online system.

Chatterjee called the meeting with the VCs and other senior officials of universities to discuss the difficulties they faced in running the institutions. This was his first meeting with the university heads after assuming office as education minister on May 27.

The minister told the VCs that they should ensure that the colleges maintain transparency in the admission process and students are admitted strictly on the basis of merit.

Chatterjee devoted the first 45 minutes of the one-and-a-half-hour meeting to point out to the media criticism the government has been facing because of alleged irregularities in college admissions across Bengal.

“You have to be cautious in dealing with the media,” an official quoted the minister as saying at the meeting.

Chatterjee, however, did not discuss the trouble at several colleges over undergraduate admission.

He pointed out to the VCs that they should restrain themselves while speaking to the media because their comments could be distorted.

“Since you are academicians you might not understand the political implications (of your comments). Please leave that to us,” the official quoted the minister as saying.

The minister told the vice-chancellors that he was willing to interact frequently with the universities to hear their problems.

He wanted to know from the vice-chancellors whether they had any plans for the development of their institutions. He promised all help for implementation of the development plans, including introduction of more courses.