Centralised admission in Bengal takes burden off colleges

This admission season is going to be less burdensome for colleges across West Bengal with the State switching over to a centralised process to be conducted online by the higher education department.

The results of State Board’s Class 12 exams are expected on Friday, and they will be followed shortly by those of CBSE and ICSE — that time of the year when colleges come under a lot of pressure, not just because of the high number of applicants seeking admission to various undergraduate courses but also because of unions exerting their influence.

“In the preceding years, it was a busy time for colleges once the higher secondary results were declared. A vendor had to be fixed to manage the college portal, or the contract of an existing vendor renewed. Changes/updates to the admission portal had to be made. There would be frequent meetings of the admission committee to discuss and fix the timeline of the admission procedure. This drawing of the timeline was a complicated process as sufficient gaps had to be maintained between every round of admission. Online payment gateways had to be finalised, sending of bulk SMS had to be organised. This meant a lot of expenditure for individual colleges,” said a history teacher of a college affiliated to the University of Calcutta.

“This year, all we have had to do so far was appoint a nodal officer and an admission convenor and send their details to the higher education department. Also, in a given proforma, send all details related to the college — its history, location, courses and subjects offered, subject combinations available, intake capacity in each subject, and the fees payable. These details have already been sent. We are now waiting for communication from the government,” the teacher said.

This idea of a centralised admission process was first mooted by Education Minister Bratya Basu in 2011 when he was given the same portfolio, but it couldn’t take off at the time amidst opposition by those who felt they wouldn’t have a say in the admission process. As a result, colleges went in for individual portals and individual online admissions. Then, last week, after 11 years, Mr. Basu met the Vice-Chancellors of various universities in the State and decided to centralise the process.

Autonomous institutions, such as Jadavpur University and Presidency University, have either been kept out of the new system or have been asked to choose whether they would want to be a part of it. Most of the autonomous universities have their own admission tests.

A centralised admission system is expected to not only bring about greater transparency and prevent college-centric agitations but also benefit rural students, who will now have a wider choice of colleges through a single portal.

“All this will also mean less work for college admission committees. Until last year, our college used to have six merit lists published one after the another, a process that would last two months. The new system may also see a lesser number of seats remaining vacant because very often post-admission vacancies are created when a student leaves one college to join another,” said another teacher from a Kolkata-based college.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2022 1:39:14 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/centralised-admission-in-bengal-takes-burden-off-colleges/article65511090.ece