The Presidency Alumni Association has written to education minister Bratya Basu about the need to restore admission tests at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The tests could not be held in the last two years because of the pandemic.
The letter said that since students had returned to campus and in-person exams had resumed, “the Presidency Alumni Association strongly feels that the admission tests for selection of students to Presidency University at the undergraduate and post-graduate level should be reinstated” in all departments through the state joint entrance examination (JEE) board.
The board used to conduct the tests before the pandemic.
Students and alumni have accused Presidency University authorities of not taking steps to restore the tests despite the undergraduate admissions being less than two months away.
Jawhar Sircar, member of the alumni association and Trinamul Congress Rajya Sabha MP, told The Telegraph: “Tests have been a time-tested mechanism, since they were started in 1971, in selecting bright students and must be revived. If required, we want to meet the education minister, Bratya Basu, regarding this.”
“Presidency has historically had a different status where merit has been protected. In my view, this protection of merit has been based on an open and transparent admission mechanism ensured by admission tests,” he said.
In May 2015, the association had met then education minister Partha Chatterjee and requested him to engage the state JEE board to conduct the entrance test for the university after the institution had decided to do away with the system citing logistical constraints in holding the tests.
Last Friday, student representatives met the authorities and demanded that the undergraduate entrance tests be restored.
Students alleged that while the admission tests could not be held in the last two years of the pandemic, the university authorities were not taking any steps to restore the steps now because they want to keep the practice of Plus-II board marks-based admissions.
A member of the alumni association said when school students were writing in-person board exams, Presidency aspirants should be screened through a fair mechanism, too.
The JEE board had said last year that it would not conduct admission tests on behalf of any university unless asked by the state government.
“So, we are approaching the education minister, an alumnus of the erstwhile Presidency College. This initiative should have come from the university,” said an association member who did not want to be named.
The letter that was addressed to Basu was also copied to Presidency vice-chancellor Anuradha Lohia.
Calls and messages to the VC went unanswered.
Minister Basu did not reply to calls and messages from this newspaper.