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Partha firm on tech entry bar

The state government has refused to consider an appeal by private engineering colleges to lower the admission bar and allow them to fill up some seats on the basis of Class XII results.

“A team representing private engineering colleges will meet me. I will tell them that the government is against engineering colleges admitting students on the basis of Plus II marks. Doing so would mean lowering the standard. Only those who have secured JEE ranks would be allowed admission,” higher education minister Partha Chatterjee told Metro on Tuesday.

Bengal has 83 private engineering colleges, offering more than 36,000 seats. An estimate by the Association of Professional Academic Institutions, a body of all private engineering colleges, states that more than 20,000 seats would remain vacant.

The government engineering colleges offer about 5,000 seats, which have been filled.

“When we meet the minister we will plead for relaxation of the eligibility criteria so that some of the vacant seats can be filled up. Hopefully, the minister will consider our plea,” said Taranjit Singh, the president of the association.

Sources said the association would seek permission to admit students on the basis of their scores in physics, chemistry and mathematics in the HS or equivalent exam.

For three years till 2013, the government had allowed admission on the basis of Class XII marks to the engineering seats that remained vacant after admitting students based on their JEE ranks. The only condition was 50 per cent marks in physics, chemistry and mathematics together.

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

A circular issued by the government last January 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 JEE board this year allotted ranks to everyone who had appeared in the JEE. Among them, only those who had scored the minimum positive mark in each paper were eligible for admission in engineering colleges.

Over a lakh students wrote JEE (engineering) 2014 and about 78,000 of them got positive marks in each paper. Only around 30,000 opted for counselling, JEE board chairman Bhaskar Gupta said.

“The figure is less by 6,000 than last year. Mainly candidates who got middle or lower ranks did not register for counselling.”