Students applying online for first-year junior college (FYJC) seats this year will have to take more care while filling the application forms.
Reason: They will not be allowed to shift to another college once they are allotted a place.
The admission process to junior college has been streamlined this year after direction from the Bombay high court.
This was after a Pune resident filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the court last year, claiming that the online entrance admission conducted for the past four years for Class XI in Mumbai and Pune regions was faulty and there are deficiencies in conducting the same.
The court had directed the government to streamline the process. The deputy directorate of education has decided not to allow students who have been allotted a seat online to change their college later.
For this reason, education officials from the deputy directorate of education, Mumbai region, have warned students to choose colleges carefully while filling the application form. Students have been asked to select those colleges whose cut-offs are at least 5% less than their expected scores.
“One of the most common mistakes that students make while applying online is not selecting the colleges realistically,” said BB Chavan, deputy director of education. “As a result, they end up in a college that was not their top preference.”
In the past, students always had the option of cancelling their provisional admission taken to a seat allotted to them online and then choosing a college of their choice offline. This year, colleges will not be allowed to admit students who have been allotted seat anywhere else in the online process. The students will be tracked by their unique identification (UID) number, which colleges will have to enter into the system before admitting any student.
“If the UID number of the applicant shows that he or she has already been allotted an online seat, then colleges will not be able to give admission to that child offline,” said Chavan. “We were forced to introduce this rule as it was defeating the purpose of online admissions.”
Chavan added, “Although the offline admissions would be opened once the online process ended, they were technically meant for those students who were not allotted a single seat in the online admissions but we found that as many as 70% students would give up their online seats for better colleges offline.”
Earlier, too, the directorate had tried to curb this practice by asking colleges to stamp the original documents of the students at the time of confirming online admission but the move was opposed by the Maharashtra Navanirman Vidyarthi Sena (MNVS) and was later withdrawn.
Even the new rule has drawn flak from students and school principals, saying that it is against an individual’s freedom of choice. “Students should be free to choose where they want to study,” said Rohan Bhat, the chairperson of Children’s Academy Group of Schools in Kandivli and Malad.
“If an aspirant is not happy with the seat allotted to him online, he should be able to change to any other college of his choice if there are vacancies.”
Students also called the new rule unfair, as they will be forced to study in whichever college that they get allotted online. “We have to fill up as many as 50 preferences in the online form even if we don’t really have that many preferences,” said Shruti Das, an FYJC aspirant from Malad. “As a result, sometimes we end up listing a college just to complete the required number of preferences. If the government is not allowing us to switch colleges offline, then they should at least change the rules of application.”