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Presi turns down entry demand

- Panel sticks to 60% cap on direct PG admission
Presidency University

Presidency University on Thursday rejected the demand of its graduate students that all of them be given direct admission to master’s courses.

The admissions committee of Presidency met on Thursday and unanimously adopted a resolution rejecting the students’ demand in view of a government order allowing state universities to fill up maximum 60 per cent of master’s seats with home students through direct admission.

The university also rejected another demand of the students — to increase the number of postgraduate seats so that all home candidates gain direct entry without violating the government order.

Over 50 students of Presidency had last week held a 24-hour demonstration outside the vice-chancellor’s office, demanding direct admission of all to PG courses.

Education minister Partha Chatterjee had described the demand as “unethical” and asserted that the government did not approve of any gherao by students. “I wonder how the students could demand that all graduates from Presidency, even those who are unsuccessful, be accommodated in the postgraduate courses. I do not support this demand,” he had said.

The Presidency graduates who have been denied direct admission to postgraduate courses despite scoring more than the cut-off can still compete for a berth by appearing in a test with students from other institutions to fill the remaining 40 per cent of the seats.

The students’ reluctance to compete with those from other universities has triggered allegations that they are scared to face an open contest despite studying at a “centre of excellence”.

The university on Thursday made it clear that there would be no changes to the admission notification that specifies the number of seats and that not more than 60 per cent of the master’s seats would be filled with home students through direct admission.

“There will be no change to the admission rules that were laid down in the admission notification,” vice-chancellor Anuradha Lohia said after the meeting of the admissions committee.

“The number of seats has been finalised after taking the campus infrastructure into consideration. If we are to increase the seat count, we would need more faculty members and better lab facilities. Hence, we cannot increase the number of seats right away,” said a university official.

Harvard historian Sugata Bose, the chairman of the Presidency mentor group, had told Metro on Saturday: “I believe when it comes to admitting students at the master’s level, merit should be the only consideration.”

VC Lohia had on Wednesday met second and third-year students at the Derozio Auditorium and tried to explain to them why all undergraduate students could not gain direct admission to postgraduate courses.

Later on Thursday, education minister Chatterjee said: “This is an internal affair of the university and I believe they will resolve the issue. Presidency University is a prestigious institution and I believe the teachers, students and the authorities will live up to its reputation and not indulge in anything illegal.”

Sumallya Mukhopadhyay, the general secretary of the Presidency student union, termed the university’s decision “unfortunate”.

“We don’t accept this decision. We will hold a meeting to decide our course of action,” said Mukhopadhyay.