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Private tech colleges up in arms against Odisha govt decision to opt for JEE Main

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 21:

A day after the Odisha government decided to opt for the JEE Main route, the all-India examination, for admission of students seeking admission into engineering colleges in the state, the Odisha Technical Colleges’ Association (OTCA) and Odisha Private Engineering College Association (OPECA) – the two representative bodies of technical colleges in the state – have taken up cudgels against the state government.

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The OTCA and OPECA said the decision of the state government was a violation of the law of the land. They said that they will discuss the matter with the government but threatened to take to the streets or knock on the doors of the court if the government did not act. .

“As a matter of principle, we will first draw the attention of the government to it, discuss it with the minister. But we would not hesitate to take the matter to the streets and last of all take the matter to the court if our demand is not accepted,” said Biswajit Mohanty, president OTCA.

“The state government’s decision is in violation of the provisions of the Odisha Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fee) Act, 2007. We will urge the honourable chief minister to seek the view of the Law department in the matter. If no action is taken, we would take the matter to the court. Weare sure the law is on our side,” said Binod Dash, secretary OPECA.

“The government is seriously concerned over the large number of vacant seats in engineering colleges in the state and is trying to find a solution to it. We are hopeful about arriving at a solution to the problem through negotiations,” said Employment and Technical Education & Training minister Sanjay Dasburma.

The policy planning board of the Odisha government’s Technical Education department that met on November 7 to take a final call on Odisha JEE had recommended in favour of all-India examination (JEE Mains) like it was done last year, while leaving the final decision in the matter to the state government.

OPECA had complained that admission through the JEE Mains had led to poor admission figures, which were “the worst in seven years.” The state had joined the all-India examination in 2013 for the 2014 academic session. It had argued that the number of students taking the JEE Mains test has dropped considerably. While 63,635 students had taken the test in 2012, the number came down to 62,157 in 2013. The fall between 2013 and 2014 was even greater with only 48,221 students taking the test, it had pointed out.

It may be recalled here that despite a special state-level JEE examination conducted at the behest of Orissa High Court, nearly 37,000 seats have remained vacant in the state’s 101 private and 10 government colleges. Only 11,000 students are pursuing technical courses in the state and in this context private colleges had wanted the government to revert to the Odisha JEE.

Educationists have welcomed the government’s decision to stick to its last year’s decision opting for JEE Mains and had opposed the move to revert to the old system severely criticizing the state government for deterioration of the education standard in Odia-medium schools.

The performance of students in the JEE Mains last year drew criticism over the quality of students. Only 3,202 students had qualified for the JEE Advanced. Ultimately, only 59 students from the state could make it to various IITs.