Calcutta, June 21: Around 30 students turned up at Calcutta’s Nandan film complex today to appear for a Visva-Bharati entrance exam only to realise that the “Nandan” mentioned in the university website as the test venue was a building on the varsity’s campus in Santiniketan.
The students, from Calcutta and faraway districts such as Bankura and Murshidabad, said they had mentioned Calcutta as their preferred venue while filling up the online application form for Visva-Bharati’s bachelor’s degree in fine arts (BFa).
“The declaration for admission to Kala-Bhavana’s BFa course, uploaded on the Visva-Bharati website earlier this week, mentioned the exam venue as ‘Nandan’. No postal address or pin code or the nearest landmark was mentioned. I had selected Calcutta as my preferred venue and when I saw ‘Nandan’, I thought it was the film complex in Calcutta,” said Nilanjana Banerjee, an examinee from Behala.
The chairman of Visva-Bharati’s exam committee said it had been mentioned in the information brochure for admission to various courses, uploaded on the university’s website on April 5, that the entrance exams for the fine arts courses would be held at either Santiniketan or Sriniketan.
“It appears that the students did not read the information brochure carefully,” said chairman Sudhendu Mondal, adding that no re-examination would be conducted for those who missed the test because of “carelessness”. According to him, 750 students took the exam at Nandan, the building adjoining Kala-Bhavana.
The section in the brochure titled “Guidelines for the Applicants” mentions that the admission tests for “all courses other than (those) mentioned in Item I will be conducted in Santiniketan and Sriniketan by the respective department”. Item I does not mention the BFa course. It lists 23 subjects whose exam venues are spread across India.
By the time the 30-odd students who turned up at Calcutta’s Nandan realised they had reached the wrong venue, it was too late to reach Santiniketan, 165km away, for the exam scheduled for 8am.
The students, who had arrived at Calcutta’s Nandan around 7am, said they had not received any admit card. An identification code had merely been generated after they filled up the online admission form. Sources in the varsity said admit cards were not issued because the IDs had been given and particulars on the exam had been uploaded on its website.
Some of the students who could not take the test showed this correspondent printouts of the online application form that gave candidates the option of choosing an exam venue in the eighth column. The students alleged that the column was not there in the form when they checked the website a few days after applying online. A Visva-Bharati source said the venue option was never offered in the form for the BFa course, adding that the students might have filled up a “wrong form”.
The students also alleged that since Wednesday night, they had been calling up Visva-Bharati to confirm the exam venue but no one responded.
Atri Bhattacharya, the secretary of the state information and cultural affairs department, said today: “Nandan is not an academic venue. So there is no question of holding any examination there.”
The 30-odd students who came to Calcutta’s Nandan, some of them accompanied by their guardians, asked security personnel about the exam but were told that no test was scheduled there.
“Some of the girls were in tears and a few guardians called up Visva-Bharati’s telephone numbers but got no response. Finally, a security guard called up a Visva-Bharati teacher he knew. The teacher enquired with the varsity authorities and told the guard that the exam would be held at Nandan in the Visva-Bharati compound,” one of the students said.
Nandan in Visva-Bharati houses the administrative offices of Kala-Bhavana, an art gallery and a library. It also has a number of halls where exams and exhibitions are held.