School marks relief for special category

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 28.06.11
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Calcutta, June 27: The Mamata Banerjee government today announced a 25 per cent relaxation in marks for students from the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe categories for admission to higher secondary schools.

“There will be a relaxation of 25 per cent in the qualifying marks for students from SC and ST categories,” said Partha Chatterjee, the industries minister, after a cabinet meeting.

The decision means that if a higher secondary school fixes 75 per cent as the cut-off for admission to science courses, an SC or ST student will be eligible with a score of 50 per cent.

Students qualifying in next year’s Madhyamik examination will gain from the decision, as the admission process for the current academic session is over. The relaxation will be applicable in all government-run and government- aided higher secondary schools.

There are now no reserved seats in schools for SC/ST students. In colleges and universities, however, 22 per cent seats are set aside for SC students and 6 per cent for ST candidates. SC/ST students also enjoy relaxation in cut-off criteria.

“We wanted to extend the exemption benefit to students seeking admission to classes XI and XII and bring in parity. We will have to wait till next year for the decision to be implemented,” said Upen Biswas, the minister for backward classes welfare.

This year, around 197,099 SC students cleared the Madhyamik examination while the number of successful candidates from the ST category was 35,544.

Biswas had recently complained that students from the reserved categories were not getting the benefit of reservation. The minister, however, could not provide data on how SC/ST students were suffering for the lack of a reservation policy in schools. Asked about the number of students who would gain from the decision after next year’s Madhyamik examination, Biswas said no figures were available right now.

He said the decision was taken after talking to heads of institutions and principals of higher secondary schools.

A former school education minister said the cut-off relaxation was not required in schools.

“There are enough number of seats in the higher secondary schools to accommodate students from the reserved sections. There was no complaint that any student from the SC/ST category had failed to get a seat in a higher secondary school,” the former minister said on condition of anonymity.

The cabinet has also approved a decision to appoint 650 teachers in 100 higher secondary madarsas and 75 high madarsas.

It decided to send a team led by food minister Jyotipriya Mullick and North Bengal development minister Gautam Deb to closed tea gardens.