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Rollout of centralised entry system for colleges in Kolkata, rest of West Bengal put off

VCs need more time, portal to be launched next year: Bratya Basu

Subhankar Chowdhury | Published 29.06.22, 06:05 AM
Bratya Basu

Bratya Basu

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Colleges and universities in West Bengal will not have a centralised online undergraduate admission process this year because some of the vice-chancellors said they need time to comprehend the new mechanism, education minister Bratya Basu said on Tuesday.

Basu, who had on June 2 said the process would be “merit-based and transparent”, pressed the pause button following a virtual meeting with the VCs.


In 2014, too, during Basu’s previous stint as education minister, he could not roll out the process following protests from the Trinamul Congress.

The plan was revived after he became the education minister again last year.

“The vice-chancellors told us that they need five to six months to comprehend the new centralised online system. The Plus-II board results will be released by then. Since the vice-chancellors have cited certain constraints and pushing back the introduction by five to six months is as good as rolling out the new mechanism next year, we have decided against introducing the process this year,” Basu said at Bikash Bhavan, the headquarters of the education department.

Asked what triggered the pushback, considering that he himself had announced the introduction and chief minister Mamata Banerjee had spoken about it, Basu said: “It is true we proceeded following permission from the chief minister. But there are practical hazards. There is a need to create several categories.  The vice-chancellors want to have a flawless system. If a university errs, the onus will be on the education department. So considering the ground reality we made a practical decision.”

It was announced that in the new system a student would be able to apply to multiple colleges by logging into a portal, instead of visiting the admission portal of the individual colleges.

The new system was intended to scuttle the interference of students’ unions of respective colleges in the admission process.

Students’ unions of various colleges have been repeatedly accused of promising seats for money, collecting money for help in the admission process and putting pressure on the college authorities to admit students of their choice.

“It is unfortunate that what could be a fair system could not be introduced following lack of commitment,” said Keshab Bhattacharya, general secretary of the West Bengal College and University Teachers’ Association.

Sources in the department said Dipak Kar, vice-chancellor of Sidho-Kanho-Birsha University in Purulia, was the first to raise objection to the introduction of the system from this year and sought time.

When education secretary Manish Jain asked Kar at the meeting whether he had anything to say, he flagged his concerns.

“Kar said the campuses just reopened for on-campus academic activities following a two-year shutdown triggered by Covid. He argued that at a time when the campuses were settling down with in-person activities, introducing the centralised system could lead to mistakes. He pleaded that the roll-out be deferred,” said a source.

“I was not alone. Most of the VCs wished to have a trial run to make the merit list error free which requires more time,” Kar told this newspaper in a text message. 

Kar was supported by at least 10 other VCs at the meeting, sources said.

A VC who attended the meeting said it appeared the department had already made up its mind about putting the decision on hold and the opposition from VCs only made the task easier.

“The department had gone to the extent of saying in early June that St Xavier’s College and institutions run by Ramakrishna Mission and the unitary universities like Jadavpur and Presidency universities, which conduct entrance examinations, will continue to have their own admission process. Missionary institutions like Scottish Church College were exempted from the system. Announcing a retreat after all this shows a lack of firmness,” a VC said.

Last updated on 29.06.22, 06:05 AM

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