June 7, 1997
MUMBAI, June 6: Even after the HSC results are declared tomorrow, it may not yet be time for students to relax. In fact, tomorrow may just mark the beginning of another phase of intense struggle for them.
The university of Mumbai today issued a circular which makes merit the sole criterion for admission to a degree college. What this actually means is that a student clearing HSC from a prestigious college is no more guaranteed admission in the senior section of the same institution. The circular seems to be a precursor to the centralised degree admission scheme which the state government is keen on introducing in the state.
Bombay high court in a ruling issued on May 5 had stressed that merit should be the only criterion for admission to degree courses.
Students from prestigious colleges such as H R College of Commerce, St Xavier’s, Narsee Monjee College of Commerce and Economics, Jai Hind and Mithibai are, for obvious reasons, against centralised admissions or any other similar formula. “We are all very confused and tense. Last year we managed to stop the implementation of centralisation, but this circular has caught us unawares,” said a student.
Vice-Chancellor Dr Snehalata Deshmukh, however, is convinced that only merit should matter. “After discussing the matter with the state government it has been decided that merit will be the only condition for degree college admissions,” she told Express Newsline today. She added that under the new scheme it will be possible to monitor students’ performance throughout their academic career. “In the past, the students, especially those from the commerce stream, tended to take it easy once they secured seats in junior colleges attached to senior colleges. But in the new system everyone will have to perform well in the HSC exams in order to secure seats in degree colleges of their choice,” the vice-chancellor reasoned.
However, implementation of the order may not be easy for the government either. Over 30 `minority colleges’ in the city are likely to challenge the directives. The Principal of Mithibai College of Science, Arts & Commerce in Vile Parle, Rupa Shah, said: “Last year the minority institutions had moved the high court on the minorities rights issue…the judgment is to be delivered on June 9. Only after this verdict is declared that a clearer picture will emerge.”
The Vice Principal of Jai Hind College, Vispi R Balaporia said: “We feel responsible for our students’ (junior college) future. We are seeking legal advice on this circular.’
‘Principal D B Kadam of Bhavan’s College (Andheri), however welcomed the scheme. “I was always for merit. But the hitch is that only academic merit has been considered, and not excellence in sports and cultural activities. An excellent junior college cricket team could well become extinct now!” Meanwhile, the Forum For Fairness In Education, which was instrumental in bringing about these changes, has demanded that the university should announce a list of colleges and courses taught therein under the minority quota, as per the Supreme Court judgment of 1992.
On June 4, Express Newsline had given details of how the new degree admission scheme will make the college principals more accountable and lead to more transparency in the admission process.
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