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Urban-rural divide widens

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PREPARING FOR EXAMINATION: Students browsing through books at the Tamil Nadu Professional Courses Entrance Examination. File photo .
PREPARING FOR EXAMINATION: Students browsing through books at the Tamil Nadu Professional Courses Entrance Examination. File photo .

V. Jayanth

CHENNAI: If the State Government thought that scrapping the Common Entrance Test (CET) and admitting students to professional courses on the basis of their Plus Two marks will help students in rural areas, it should think again.

Going by this year's Plus Two results, the bias in favour of urban students has only increased.

According to a detailed analysis presented at The Hindu Education Plus Career Fair 2006 on Saturday, hardly five per cent of those likely to enter medical colleges this year will be from rural areas.

Students from the Namakkal belt, known for its residential schools, and from Chennai have outperformed those from other areas, said Salem-based analyst Jayaprakash Gandhi, who analysed the results.

Out of the 66 education districts in the State, 38 are entirely rural.

Of them, at least 15 may not figure in admissions to top colleges in the State, be it medical or engineering.

If at all some make it, it will be because of a better performance in the Tamil Nadu Professional Courses Entrance Examinations (TNPCEE).

The reasons

Academic circles explain that the reasons for the divide are not far to seek. While urban students have better access to intensive coaching, their rural counterparts do not even have enough of quality teachers to shape them. Even in the Namakkal-Salem-Rasipuram region, which abounds in residential schools that give special coaching to the students for scoring very high marks, it is mostly urban students who are on the rolls. Many rural schools are lacking in laboratory facilities and staff vacancies are not filled easily.

Unless the quality of education in rural schools improves dramatically, it will be difficult for the average student in these areas to match their urban counterparts. For that to happen, the Government and its School Education machinery have to work overtime, they argue.

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