In cyclone-battered Sunderbans where normal life is yet to be restored,the administration has taken crucial measures to provide relief to nearly 10,000 students,who are set to join undergraduate courses.
One step is the exemption of admission fees for one academic session and the extension of the admission timeframe in colleges like Sagar Mahavidyalaya,the admission process will begin from June 16.
The faces of these students tell you they are exhausted not only at the horror they have witnessed but also the hardships in its aftermath, said Prabir Khatua,principal of Sagar Mahavidyalaya.
But in some colleges,the admission process has already begun and the response so far has been overwhelming. On the first day of the distribution of forms at Raidighi College,about 800 to 900 forms were given out,much to the surprise of colleges authorities.
In Patharpratima,one of worst-affected areas by Aila,students are determined to pursue higher education.
Despite the poverty and the adversities,students are eager to learn. They are filling up undergraduate classes. There is also a healthy demand for the postgraduate streams like English,Geography and History. We have increased seats at the postgraduate level this time, said Kuntal Chakraborty,principal of Patharpratima Mahavidlaya.
The situation in Mausuni island is also critical. Located on the southern-most tip of the Sunderbans,nearly 80 students passed the higher secondary examination from the only school that offers that level here. The island remained totally cut off for several days after the cyclone and there was no connectivity of any kind. Even the school suffered damages. A huge chunk of the island is said to have been submerged. But students have shown resilience and are keen on pursuing higher studies.
The colleges are,however,in a dilemma over identifying students from cyclone-hit areas. The affected students will now have to give proof of address to substantiate their claims. The colleges are demanding confirmation from either the block divisional officer or the sabhadhipati of the panchayat samity.