For this year’s junior college admissions, the government is likely this week to demarcate the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, including Thane and Navi Mumbai, as one district, thus ending uncertainty about the controversial ‘70:30’ rule it imposed last year.
This rule forced junior colleges to reserve 70 per cent of their seats for students in the same district, and left Thane and Navi Mumbai out of Mumbai district.
Although it eventually retracted the rule after a court case and said it would decide this year, students in these satellite towns have been extremely anxious.
“The proposal is likely to be approved,” said Sanjay Kumar, principal secretary, school education. “If the 30 per cent quota for outsiders is not filled, colleges can apply to admit students from within Mumbai.”
The 70:30 rule was an old government resolution that was not being followed in Mumbai. After a representation from some citizens last year, the government decided to enforce it. But Thane residents felt that it was unfair to them, and Thane corporator, Pratap Sarnaik, moved the Bombay High Court, which stayed the admissions.
“If this proposal is accepted, it will solve everything,” said Sarnaik. “Why should students from Thane and other places not benefit from institutions in Mumbai, especially because most toppers are from this area?”
Colleges in suburbs such as Mulund suffered the most because they had already admitted students from nearby Thane. “For us, every student who is meritorious is good enough. As an educational institution, to discriminate against students based on where they live, is not our aim,” said Sandhya Devanji, principal, Mulund College of Commerce.