Siliguri, Nov. 14: Students from other states will now be allowed to take the Joint Entrance Examination, higher education minister Satyasadhan Chakraborty announced here today.
“The quality of higher education, particularly technical education, in our state is very high and we are keen to extend the facilities to students from outside. There are many students in the neighbouring states who want to pursue an academic career in Bengal,” said Chakraborty.
He was addressing the inauguration of a two-day University Grants Commission golden jubilee seminar on “policy planning for higher education in India under the WTO regime” at North Bengal University. The university is among 12 across the country that host the seminars.
The decision, officials said, would attract meritorious students from other states and increase competition, in effect raising academic standards in the institutions.
Earlier, students aspiring for a berth in the state-controlled engineering colleges had to fulfil either of the following domicile requirements: One, the candidate should be a higher secondary council student or a resident of the state for at least 10 years.
Two, one of the candidate’s parents should be a state or central government employee for the past 10 years.
The conditions were imposed five years ago to ensure that 95 per cent of the seats in engineering colleges were open to Bengal’s students.
Chakraborty said the government was planning to increase the number of seats in the technical colleges to accommodate the students from outside. “We are asking private players with proven credentials to invest in education. We are also inviting them to develop centres of excellence in the state,” Chakraborty said. However, he was quick to add that education was not “a commodity”.