State hikes higher edu seats to fight brain drain
If you’ve successfully cleared your Plus-II exams this year and are looking to get into college, here’s some good news. There has been a 5% increase in the number of higher education seats in Bengal from this academic session, promising to ease the cut-throat competition of finding a college seat, if only by a bit. At the moment, there are 1,200 institutes offering higher education courses in Bengal to 18.5 lakh students. This figure will rise to 19.43 lakh from this year.
“Although not every institute has increased its seat capacity, there will be an overall 5% increase in the intake of students in the various higher education courses in Bengal,“ a senior higher education department official told TOI.“This year, 8.5 lakh students are ready to take admission in UG and PG courses at various institutes.“
The state government has pumped in Rs 480 crore to develop Bengal’s higher education infrastructure, a source said.Among the new institutes to start operation from the 2016’17 session are two government engineering colleges in Purulia and Cooch Behar; the Government General Degree College at Ekbalpore; six government-aided or self-financing colleges; Sanskrit University; and Brainware University .
“Apart from the new ones, several other existing institutes have also decided to increase their intake, cutting across all courses. It also includes 100 more medical seats,“ the source said.
Why isn’t the government planning to ask colleges to uniformly increase 10% seats? “To increase 10% seats uniformly would have meant a lot more expenditure. While a major rush is seen in some of the best colleges in the city , seats go vacant in rural institutes. Thus, we see no need for a uniform hike. Rather, an overall increase is necessary ,“ the official said.
The number of seats was being increased because chief minister Mamata Banerjee had wished to retain the state’s human resources and decrease brain drain, the official said.“Also, the number of pass-outs from the state board is increasing every year. More seats are being created,“ he added. Another reason is that students from the state-run board have failed to achieve high aggregates. On the other hand, students from central boards have scored better marks on an average. This means that ISC and CBSE students have a clear advantage when it comes to gaining entry to colleges.
Of the 7.79 lakh students who took HS this year, 3,829 managed to score above 90%, a mere 0.6% of the total. Moreover, only 35,860 students scored between 89% and 80%. “Though the number of candidates who have scored in the 90s has increased manifold, it is still minuscule compared to other boards,“ the official said. “Last year, the cut-off did not go below 90% for English honours courses in some colleges,“ said a college principal. “How can HS students compete when there is a clear directive of making no discrimination between boards? The increase in seats through infrastructure expansion and new institutes is likely to address this problem to some extent.“
A senior official of Scottish Church College said: “The cut-offs were extremely high in many subjects, including English, economics and political science. The first merit list had only a few HS students. If the government decides to increase seats, these students will benefit.“
anandabazar patrika epaper 02/06/2016 : http://www.anandabazar.com