While the state’s First Year Junior College admissions are on a pause due to the Supreme Court stay on SEBC (Socially and Economically Backward Class) quota, private colleges of other boards have not only begun their academic year but are also steadily completing their syllabus. Parents of students who have opted for state’s junior colleges are worried their children will lose out to peers from other boards in competitive and board exams.
Parents and principals of junior colleges have cautioned that the academic year for FYJC students may span for barely three months. In such a scenario, there are no guidelines from the State School Education Department on reduction in portion or change in assessment pattern.
Sarthak Parab, who has applied for admission to colleges in the science stream, has begun self-studying from state board books and YouTube lectures, like other students. His mother Sunila says, “It’s as if we are hitting arrows in the dark. There is no clarity about how the students will be promoted, whether there will be practical exams as usual, or how much should be studied. Science syllabus is vast, and the confusion about the way ahead has caused mental stress to a certain extent. Given that the court procedures will take time, the education department should issue some directives on how FYJC students can start learning.”
Advocate Vishal Saxena, a parent who has petitioned the High Court for urging the state government to begin FYJC admissions, told The Indian Express, “CBSE and ICSE colleges are already halfway through the completion of their syllabus. It has created pressure among students of state board, especially those who will be appearing for competitive exams such as JEE or NEET. Most of them will remain dependent on coaching classes. I have appealed the state to begin FYJC admissions as per the Supreme Court’s directions.”
In order to keep all students of FYJC engaged in academic learning, KC college principal Hemlata Bagla said that the college plans to host guest lectures on YouTube. “We have thought of arranging orientation programs for all students since the coursework is the same across junior colleges. Students can start learning the contents of their syllabus. Once the colleges start, there will be a rush to complete the syllabus with least possible holidays. We are waiting for instructions to come regarding this.”
Principal of Jai Hind College Ashok Wadia stated, “No colleges have been making individual decisions. We will follow the directions of the department relating to how the academic year should be conducted.”
In a statement issued on Thursday, School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad had said that FYJC admissions are being delayed due to the ongoing case in the Supreme Court. In this regard, CM Uddhav Thackeray will soon conduct a meeting and announce a decision that will benefit students, she said.
Junior colleges usually start their academic year in August, which has been delayed due to the pandemic. 2.32 lakh students have applied for admissions in the Mumbai Metropolitan region alone.