A way out of the CET seat matrix muddle

A way out of the CET seat matrix muddle

Submitted by alvin on Tue, 2016-06-14 18:37 The stand-off between the state government and private medical and dental colleges over the CET seat matrix has left thousands of students in confusion. While the government appears confident of resolving the crisis, the private colleges have no signs of relenting, putting a question mark over the start of the seat allotment process. How did we arrive at this mess?Prior to the Oct 2002 Supreme Court judgment, seat sharing was quite clear: 85pc of the seats were to be filled via CET and the rest 15pc was left for the management quota.But an order passed by a 11-judge bench changed all that when it gave managements the power to manage the admission process. Later, a 5-judge bench issued a clarification on the earlier judgment. The bench said that the state government and the managements can reach a consensual agreement on the seat sharing ratio. The bench also said that a committee of retired judges would oversee fee fixation and admission process.Accordingly, Karnataka and the private managements reached a consensual agreement on seat sharing: 40pc to the government; 40pc to COMEDK; 15pc to NRI, and 5pc to management quota. Minority linguistic Institutions agreed to part with 25pc of seats for the government, 55pc for COMEDK, 15pc for NRI, and 5pc for management quota. There was no confusion till the academic year 2015-16 and seat sharing consensual agreement had a smooth sailing.  Fee fixation was done on the recommendations of the fee fixation committee with consensual agreement. Appended below is the fee structure till 2015.In 2013, a PIL was filed by an NGO Sankalp Charitable Trust, which sought a directive from the Supreme Court for conducting one national entrance exam - National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET). But the SC dismissed the PIL in 2013.  The same NGO filed another PIL in 2016, requesting the court to re-consider its earlier decision. Subsequently, the order of 2013 on NEET was recalled for review. Later, the SC ruled that NEET was the only solution to address the multiple challenges of students being forced to appear for multiple entrance tests and deserving merit candidates not being able to secure seats in medicine /dental courses.The result was that the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT) exam conducted on May 1 became NEET1. However, those who had not applied for AIPMT would get an opportunity to appear in round two of NEET2 on July 24. The order also clarified that all those who applied for AIPMT and did not appear in NEET1, those who appeared but are not sure of good performance in NEET1 but want to appear for NEET2, may appear so (NEET1 scores are made invalid). The combined result will be declared on August 17, in order to complete the admission process by September 30, a deadline set by the apex court.Many state governments approached the Central government stating that it was unfeasible as they had already conducted the state entrance exam for filling government seats. They also cited students not having studied as per central syllabus and language barriers as reasons for NEET being impractical in the current year.This forced the Central government to issue an ordinance stating that all government entrance examinations conducted for filling government college seats to be valid for one year. But from next year onwards, NEET will be compulsory for all medical/dental college admissions all over India in all government, private, deemed universities, and minority linguistic religious institutions with no exceptions. The current challenge at hand for Karnataka is the total ambiguity concerning private institutions’ admission process for the year 2016-17.As per the ordinance, government college admissions are to be filled through CET ranking and hence there is no confusion. But the question is how to fill the private/deemed/minority institutions seats: is it through NEET or government CET?The SC has mandated that all seats except government college seats must be filled based on NEET ranking. Therefore, the seat sharing ratio can be arrived through a consensual agreement but admission will be based on NEET Karnataka state merit list only. So how do we get out of this muddle?            One possible solution is lies in looking at NIT admissions. Similar to NIT, NEET can rank students as per state merit list and let Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) carry out the admissions/seat allocation as per the state admission guidelines so that Karnataka state is not at a disadvantageous situation. This serves the dual purpose of maintaining uniformity, quality of entrants, and also transparency of admissions in institutions. The following points will bring in more clarity and solve the problem at hand.*  Government colleges’ fee structure is very clearly spelt out and affordable as well.* The major challenge is fee payable by the students in case of admission to private institutions through NEET, since earlier 40pc seats fee was fixed by the Fee fixation committee. Fee for 40pc of seats was fixed at a higher rate as per COMEDK norms while 15pc was paid as per NRI guidelines and 5pc paid as per management discretion.·         Government has to address the question of affordability. Hence government quota seats should be charged less or subsidized. However private managements may be permitted to charge higher fee for the remaining seats/NRI quota seats as per fee fixation committee through consensual agreement.* Government may quickly appoint Fee fixation committee and arrive at fee payable for various categories of seats through a consensual agreement* Expert committee may rank all colleges (Grade A and B) depending upon college infrastructure and institution standing.  Fee fixation may be done as per the grade of the college and also as per the category of seat sharing.  * State governments may arrange loans for all the students, whereever fee paying problems crop up due to non-affordability.* In the absence of reasonably higher fees, private managements may not be in a position to run the institutions with the required professional standards in the back drop of 7th pay commission and rising infrastructure costs.* Medical profession is a noble one and directly contributes to the social wellbeing of rural people and humanity in general.* Recently, IIT tuition fee was increased to Rs.2,00,000/-p.a. All IIMs charge around 14 lakhs for 2 years. Since Medicine and BDS are also professional courses with potential of rich future dividends, fee may be enhanced suitably with a loan option.The Karnataka government, which is earnestly trying to address all these challenges, should look at forming a state level steering committee comprising former vice- chancellors. This steering committee will closely work with two-man committee headed by retired judges, government and private managements on seat sharing and also fee fixation. The steering committee may also work on standardising operational guidelines for future years. The state government needs to act speedily to resolve the challenges on a priority basis. Author:Prof.K.Balaveera Reddy, fomer Vice Chancellor- VTU, Belagavi and former chairman, CET, Karnataka