Medical, engineering seats shouldn’t be based on one test

sc

Considering the enormous pressure students face to crack entrance exams for admission to medical and engineering colleges, the Supreme Courtasked the government on Friday to frame guidelines to do away with the present system of a single test deciding their future.

Instead, 40% weightage should be given to results of the Board exams and 60% for performance in the entrance exams while shortlisting candidates for admission to such courses, the court said. “It is wrong that the entire future of a student is decided by his/her performance in the entrance examination,” the court said, adding that “we cannot pass an order on the issue and it is for the government to regulate the system and frame the policy”.

The bench of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit also expressed concern over mushrooming of private coaching institutes for entrance tests and asked the Centre to put in place a mechanism to regulate them.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by CPM’s student wing SFI, asking the SC to direct regulation of such institutes, which — according to the PIL — “exploit” students and demand exorbitant fees. Agreeing that commercialisation of education must be curbed, the SC, however, said such institutes needed to be regulated, but there couldn’t be a blanketban on them

Advocate Deepak Prakash, appearing for SFI, contended that the Centre should frame a specific law to regulate the Rs 40,000-crore private coaching business. He said such institutes should be banned as the facilities were being availed only by rich students, putting the poor at a disadvantage.”Because of the hype created by the aggressive advertising by the coaching institutes, when a child realises that he can’t make it to the medical or engineering course, the guilt of spending his/her father’s hard-earned money on coaching classes leads him/her to commit suicide,” the petition said.

However, the court observed, “You cannot say that there should be no coaching centres. We agree that school education has got a secondary status with coaching centres mushrooming across the country. But how can we regulate? It needs to be regulated by the government,” the bench said.Advocate Harvinder Kaur Chowdhury, appearing for the HRD ministry, told the court that the issue was under consideration and the government was committed to the welfare of students. She told the bench that a circular was issued by the CBSE in 2014 banning coaching institutes from taking classes on school premises. She said that the Right to Education Act, 2009 also bars teachers from engaging in private tuition.