Buoyed over the Punjab and Haryana high court's judgment, upholding its decision to directly admit students in second semester of three programmes, the Punjab Technical University (PTU) is now contemplating to introduce 'winter' admissions in all the disciplines from next academic session.
“The court has upheld university's academic autonomy by dismissing the petition against our decision to admit students directly in second semester of BTech, MBA and MCA courses in January. The success of this pilot project will be reviewed periodically even as we are seriously contemplating to introduce such winter admissions in all the disciplines from next session," Buta Singh, dean (academics), told Hindustan Times.
He said that the affiliated colleges were being issued detailed guidelines on mechanism to be adopted for undertaking first semester studies of these students during the holidays in-between coming semesters. “We had admitted nearly 200 students during January admissions under this pilot project. The university expects enrolling over 5,000 students during the next winter session as we are likely to start such admissions in all the regular courses," he said, adding that the move was aimed at optimum utilisation of the existing infrastructure of technical institutions and to encourage them fill the vacant seats.
Earlier, the division bench comprising chief justice AK Sikri and justice Rakesh Kumar Jain concluded that the bold move of the university, which may advance the cause of education and does not appear to be regressive, needs to be given a trial. “It is not contrary to any law and objective is laudable,” the court upheld while dismissing petition of RD Anand, an academician, who had termed the move as 'contrary to the law'.
The court said that the PTU has not taken this step for the first time in the history of education. "It is a well recognised and prevalent practice in various foreign universities where the admission process is undertaken twice a year, popularly known as 'winter' and 'spring'. In the universities in the United States and Europe, two 'academic years' are permissible which are split half yearly and they are termed as summer and winter session or spring and autumn session. These sessions/academic years have got the sanction of the concerned statutory bodies and otherwise also the universities are autonomous bodies in US and Europe as well," the bench said, adding that this practice is also being followed by the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
"If the seats are allowed to go waste, not only it would be against the interest of the students, it would also be contrary to the public interest, as it is not conducive for the higher education milieu. It would even discourage the private players from making huge investments in education since they are not supposed to commercialise the education," the court said.
Going by all these considerations, the move on the part of the PTU appears to be well founded and actuated by bonafide consideration in the interest of the students' community, the colleges as well as in public interest. "The only thing which is to be ensured is that the quality of education does not suffer thereby. The PTU had assured that teachers-students ratio will be maintained while standards of a curriculum as fixed by the All India Council for Technical Education will not be compromised," it said.