In the past one week, Nigel Pereira, 15, a student went to a guidance centre at MMK College in Bandra thrice. Nigel, who appeared for his Class 10 exams from a boarding school in Mount Abu, Rajasthan, was clueless about the junior college admission procedure.
"I had no clue on how to fill the online form. Had I not been to the guidance centre, I would still be struggling with the procedure," said Pereira, resident of Kalina.
For two days, Pereira studied the admission booklet that he got from the guidance centre and tried filling the form at home. "The college preferences were not matching and each time I tried submitting my form there was some error. On June 14, I again went to the guidance centre where the officials explained the procedure. Despite that, there were errors and the form was not being accepted. I was not able to fill in the college preferences. On June 15, I went to centre and the officials there filled the form for me," said Pereira.
Admissions to junior colleges are being conducted online since 2009. To help students fill forms, the education department has set up 47 guidance centres in Mumbai. Last year, too, there were 47 guidance centres for students.
Each guidance centre has at least three officials from the education department who help students with their queries. The centre has a computer with a login id and a password through which students can submit their application form. "The admission booklets also have a log in id and a password for students but many a time students have difficulties in submitting the form, so we do it from our computer," said Ashok Dhere, education officer who is at a guidance centre at Modern College in Vashi.
Officials at the guidance centres said that this year, more students from the boards other than the state education board such as the ICSE and IB boards are approaching them with queries. "There has been more awareness among students about guidance centres. The centres were set up for students outside the state who do know the admission procedure. But at times, schools do not know the procedure and misguide students and they come to us with their queries," said DT Govind, education officer, who is at the guidance centre at MMK College.
‘Online admissions made simpler’
For twins Nishita (in pic) and Nishesh Bhama, 15, filling the online admission form at home was a tedious task. Last week, when the siblings from Maneckji Cooper School in Juhu tried filling the option form four times from their house, they were unable to submit the form and proceed further. “Although our school organised a training session and explained the procedure, I was unable to submit the form when I went online,” said Nishita, who scored 85 % in Class 10.
“We were scared and did not know why we were getting an error. On June 15, we went to the guidance centre to learn the procedure. The officials at the guidance centre were co-operative and helped us with all the details,” Nishita added.
“As I had a better understanding, this time I could submit my forms at one go,” added the Nishita, a resident of Bandra.
Guidance centre helps save time
Tarun Shenoy, 15, a student of Billabong High School, Santacruz (W) has been struggling with the online admission procedure for the past three days. Shenoy has scored 86% in his best of 5 and wants to pursue science in a junior college, but he says the application process is a little hard and tiresome.
“I don’t know why the school is not aware about what to do?” said Joan Shenoy, his mother. “If it were not for the guidance centre, we would be stuck or still running around.”
Billabong School is not registered under the guidance centre’s list of recognised schools.
“The problem is that we were assigned another ward and before the education department could complete the necessary paperwork the Class 10 results were out,” said Deepa Bhushan, principal of the school. “Therefore we were not officially on the list but we have seen to it that no student has suffered because of this glitch.”
Guidance centre officials said that schools were often careless. “Sometimes schools lose their login ID and password,” said Dilip Govind who heads the guidance centre at MMK College said. “They don’t even bother to follow up with the department or ask for a new one.”
Shenoy pointed out other difficulties as well. “We have to fill out names of 35 preferred colleges,” he said. “The names cannot be repeated and there are some colleges whose name I’ve heard for the first time.”
- Arpika Bhosale