The association of Private Engineering Colleges in Bengal has appealed to the state government for permission to admit students who did not write any common entrance exam, a move that sources said has been prompted by a staggering number of vacant seats.
The Association of Professional Academic Institutions said a section of Plus-II board students could not write the JEE this year because the exam was held ahead of the usual schedule.
As the JEE board wanted to start admissions early, the test this year was conducted in February instead of April.
Of the 34,000-odd BTech seats in private colleges across Bengal, 22,000 remained vacant after the three-phased centralized counseling by the JEE board ended on October 31. Since no more centralized counseling will be held, the state higher education department has allowed the colleges to admit students directly to fill the vacant seats.
The colleges have been told to factor in the candidates’ ranks in the JEE (conducted by the Bengal JEE board) and JEE-Main (conducted by the National Testing Agency primarily for admission to the NITs) before selecting them for admission.
But the association of private engineering colleges wants even those students who did not write the JEE in February to be considered for admission, on the basis of their Plus-II board exam marks.
With such a dismal status amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges are finding it difficult to sustain…. We appeal to you for immediate action this year, particularly in this pandemic, to allow us to admit students who have not appeared for WBJEE and are without a rank. We request you to ensure the sustainability of the self-financed colleges across the stateManish Jain
“We request you to consider 10+2 students of specific stream in 1st year, as per the AICTE approval process handbook (APH) 2020-21 rules, as eligible this year for admission,” the letter written by Taranjit Singh, the president of the association, said.
Singh said if a large number of students whose names figured on the JEE merit list did not take part in the three-phase centralized counseling, there was no point expecting that they would have a change of heart now and be willing to enroll.
“Let the non-JEE candidates be given a chance to address the vacancy crisis to some extent,” Singh told The Telegraph.
A member of the association said a number of students who cracked the JEE did not appear in the counseling or enroll because shrinking job prospects amid the Covid pandemic made them wary of paying the “steep” tuition fees charged by private colleges. “Luring the non-JEE candidates could be the last-ditch attempt,” the member said.
A state Government order on November 30, which allowed the private Engineering colleges to admit students directly, said prospective candidates with a “valid merit rank” in the WBJEE-2020 or the JEE-Main 2020 would be considered for admission. However, those with a merit rank in the WBJEE “shall be given preference”.
“Further vacant seats, if any, can be offered for admission to intending diploma holders in engineering and technology, as well as BSc, passed candidates following the AICTE–20 guideline in the matter,” the order states.
An official in the higher education department said the AICTE approval process handbook, which is being cited by the association while pleading for permission to admit students who did not appear in the JEE, did not say anything on whether
common admission tests could be bypassed during admission.
“Securing a rank in the JEE or JEE-Main is an essential qualification for studying BTech in Bengal…. After deliberation, we will inform the association about our decision,” the official said.
The Odisha Private Engineering Colleges Association (Opera) had in 2018 submitted a proposal to the state government to allow non-JEE candidates to be admitted in the first-year BTech in the 2018-19 academic session
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