Ramdas Kamath, senior vice-president, Infosys Technologies Ltd., inaugurated the Common Entrance Test counselling centre on the premises of the Sahyadri College of Engineering and Management here on Thursday.

With this, hundreds of students and their families were greatly relieved because they used to travel to Bangalore every year to attend the counselling.

Students and parents started arriving at the centre from 8 a.m. for the first and second rounds of counselling for medical seats.

Akshay Krishna (17), who had come from Kasargod district (Kerala), said: “Going to Bangalore is very hectic. You have to go there at least two days in advance and bear the travelling and lodging expenses.”

A resident of Kadri here, Ramya Nadig, said “You can come to Mangalore and complete the counselling process in a day and return home without any hassle.”

For Sanjay Kordcal from Katpady in Udupi district, both the counselling centre and the college he was applying for are located in Mangalore. Sanjay, who secured fifth rank in the State, has opted for admission in Father Muller's Medical College here as it is closer to his house.

Stressing that higher education was essential for an emerging economy like India, Mr. Kamath advised students “never to stop acquiring knowledge”. The opening of CET counselling centre was another step towards decentralising the process of counselling and making it easier for students, he said.

To meet the projected 9 per cent growth rate, there was a need to improve enrolment in higher education in India on the lines of China. “For this, the education sector needs to be liberalised,” Mr. Kamath said.

The Government must allow private sector to enter higher education arena, he added.

MP Nalin Kumar Kateel and president of the Bhandary Foundation (which runs the Sahyadri group of institutions) Manjunath Bhandary spoke.

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