Maharashtra govt underreported number of illegal FYJC admissions: Mumbai activists
Mumbai city news: Activists questioned why the report did not cover all the colleges in Maharashtramumbai Updated: Jul 08, 2017 09:25 IST
The competition among students seeking to get into a reputable first-year junior college (FYJC) is fierce. That’s what makes the state education department’s report, which states that 299 of 39, 476 FYJC seats in 73 colleges were filled illegally last year, shocking.
Even more shocking? The audit covered only a few colleges in Mumbai and Pune, said activists monitoring the admission process. As the total intake for Mumbai itself was 2.6 lakh, they fear the actual number of seats that were illegally filled through online admissions is much larger.
Third parties were meant to audit colleges after the admission process last year, acting on the orders of the Bombay high court and the Maharashtra government. The objective was to ensure that all colleges admitted open-category students through the online admission process, and then followed the department’s norms while admitting students to quota seats.
Pune-based non-government organisation (NGO), Syscom, however, challenged the audit and its findings. In the past, the organisation has filed public interest litigations (PIL), seeking to streamline the admission process and iron out discrepancies.
Activists questioned why the report did not cover all the colleges in Maharashtra. “The audit was ordered for the entire state, but the department only conducted it in a few colleges in Mumbai and Pune,” said Vaishali Bafna, NGO member and one of the petitioners. “If they cover all colleges, more illegal admissions will come to light.”
Another objection is that the department did not make the audit report public — it was recently acquired by the NGO after repeated Right to Information (RTI) queries. The report shows that in Pune, the audit was conducted by an expert committee consisting of former education officials, but in Mumbai officials visited colleges themselves, alleged the activists.
“No specific parameters were fixed for the audit; there are also no records of audit committee holding any meetings or coming up with recommendations by the end,” said Bafna.
She added that the audit did not check if admissions were merit-based. “The audit was only an eye wash by the department,” said Bafna. “It did not investigate or question any of the information provided by the colleges.”
The education department, however, said the audit was carried out as directed by the state. “We appointed third parties, which carried out the exercise and submitted a report to us,” said BB Chavan, deputy director of education, Mumbai region. “Based on the report, we sent show-cause notices to a few of the colleges.”