Students protest Visva quota scrap

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 25.11.14
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Students at the protest in front of Visva-Bharati’s central office. (Indrajit Roy)

Santiniketan, Nov. 24: Around 400 students of Visva-Bharati’s two schools today blocked the entry to the central and vice-chancellor’s offices to protest the decision to abolish the 50 per cent quota for the schools’ pupils in the varsity’s undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

The students of Patha Bhavana and Siksha Satra began the dharna at 11am and left around 9pm. VC Sushanta Dattagupta and other officials could not enter their offices and had to leave. Seven postgraduate students have been suspended for allegedly instigating the school students, a charge one of the seniors denied.

Sources said the quota had been in place since the inception of Visva-Bharati but it was scrapped two days ago following several directives from the University Grants Commission (UGC).

No non-minority central university has a quota for students of particular schools. Students of Patha Bhavana and Siksha Satra, however, pointed out that no non-minority central university ran schools, so the question of such a quota there did not arise.

The students threatened a “sustained movement” if the decision was not withdrawn.

A Class XI student of Patha Bhavana said: “We got admission in Visva-Bharati schools through an entrance test. Why should we be made to face competition again?”

Kishore Bhattacharya, the treasurer of Visva-Bharati teachers’ body Adhyapak Sabha, said the students need not worry as the 50 per cent quota was never filled up. “Every year, around 1,500 seats are available in undergraduate courses. A maximum of 280 students pass out of the two schools,” he said.