Thousands of students from far-flung places in Bengal are flocking to Calcutta to seek admission to under-graduate courses, despite the state government’s efforts to check district students from crowding the city colleges.
As in previous years, reputed institutions like St Xavier’s, Presidency, Jadavpur University and Lady Brabourne are drawing the largest numbers. Some middle-ranking colleges, such as Goenka and Asutosh, are also witnessing a high turnout from the districts and the city’s neighbouring areas, since the publication of the Higher Secondary results last week.
The government, in a bid to modify the Calcutta-centric system of higher education, took a string of steps to check meritorious students of the districts from coming to the city for higher studies. State higher education minister Satyasadhan Chakraborty has already made several appeals to the students not to be selective about colleges while seeking admission. There should not be a crisis of seats at the under-graduate level if the total number of seats in all the 340 state colleges are taken into account, he said.
“Apart from developing the infrastructure in the district colleges, we have introduced under-graduate courses in a number of subjects, including molecular biology, biotechnology, microbiology, and electronic and computer sciences. In addition, several colleges have also been allowed to run post-graduate courses,” Chakraborty pointed out.
“Some of the colleges in the districts have already achieved the high standards maintained in some of the best institutions in Calcutta. If the district colleges are able to sustain this, we hope many high-performing students from the city and from other states will prefer joining those colleges, instead of targeting a handful in Calcutta, in the future,” the minister added.
The repetition of the previous year’s trend might be a matter of concern to the state higher education department, but meritorious students from the districts willing to get a berth in the city’s reputed colleges have a point to justify their choice.
“We admit a good number of colleges located outside Calcutta have improved their standards in terms of infrastructure and subjects on offer. But this is not enough to satisfy students, who have scored very high marks in Higher Secondary. Is there a single institution in the districts which can substitute for Presidency, St Xavier’s or Jadavpur University'” asked Supratim Basu, a student from Burdwan, who has collected admission forms from Presidency College.