The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Students jostle for seats in colleges

Siliguri, June 5: Vacant looks, aching legs and unending queues — the scene is the same in most colleges of the subdivision as students who have passed their school-leaving exams battle for seats in graduation courses.

“About 1,500 application forms have already gone out in the past two days,” said Malay Karanjai, the principal of Siliguri College. “Like last year, we expect around 4,500 students to apply, though we will be able to take only about 1,100 of them.”

Ranajit Kumar Das, the principal of Kalipada Ghosh Terai Mahavidyalaya, Bagdogra, had a similar tale. “We started issuing admission forms from today and already more than 1,000 students have applied for 840 seats,” he said.

St Xavier’s College, Rajganj, will begin functioning from its Jesu Ashram premises in Matigara from this year with 200 students. This is the only college in the subdivision where students will have to appear for an entrance test (everywhere else, admission is based entirely on marks obtained in the plus-two exams).

“We will give 50 per cent weightage to marks obtained in the school-leaving exams and the rest to the admission test,” said Father Cherian Padiyara, the director of the college. “The admission tests for ISC and CBSE students are over, while HS students sit for their test on June 22.”

Nupur Das, the secretary of the undergraduate council of North Bengal University (NBU), feels the rush for seats is a “good trend”. “Earlier, students from this region were more keen on going to Calcutta or other south Bengal colleges. But now, we are flooded with queries from students of south Bengal wanting to study here,” she said.

“The interest among students to study law in our university this year is overwhelming,” Nupur Das added.

With so many students making a beeline for colleges here, Siliguri College has decided to stick to last year’s rule and impose restrictions on students from outside the subdivision applying to general courses.

“While there is no restrictions for the honours courses, we have imposed cut-off marks on students from outside the subdivision and the corporation area applying for admission to the general courses,” Karanjai said. For HS students, the cut-off is 60 per cent for science and 55 per cent for arts, while for students of other boards, it is 65 per cent in arts and 70 in science, he added.

“This has been done to ensure an equitable distribution of students. While there is tremendous demand for admission in our college, in the hills many institutions do not get enough students,” the principal said.

Karanjai said the rule was introduced last year after consulting the subdivisional officer and student bodies. Dilip Sarkar, the controller of examinations of NBU, said the varsity does not impose such laws, nor does the UGC. “But a college may follow such practice in a bid to decentralise admissions.”

There are 19 colleges in Darjeeling district that offer general courses.

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