In Andhra Pradesh, admissions to intermediate first year began on the official website of the Andhra Pradesh Board of Intermediate Education (AP BIE), on October 21. The process has moved online completely, and the last date for enrollments is October 29. As the government cancelled the SSC (Secondary School Certificate) exams due to the coronavirus pandemic, all class 10 students in the state were declared to have passed the exams, and all of them are now eligible to enroll for intermediate first year, the equivalent of class 11 in the state.
Although the number of students enrolling in intermediate first year is expected to be higher than usual this year, there are fewer options to choose from on the AP BIE website. Sri Chaitanya and Narayana, two of the major educational institutions that run a large number of intermediate colleges in the state, are not among the options available for students.
Education activists allege that these private colleges had started the âadmission processâ much earlier, and have already collected fees from many students and begun online classes. Noor Mohammad, PTLPWA (Private Teachers, Lecturers and Professors Welfare Association) State Coordinator, claims that corporate institutions like Sri Chaitanya and Narayana had started enrolling students much before class 10 results were announced. âFees have been collected in large amounts, online classes have resumed and major parts of the syllabus have been covered too,â he said.
With these colleges not appearing on the website now, confusion prevails among students and parents, according to student organisations. They have demanded an extension of the deadline for admissions so that these issues can be sorted out. SFI (Studentsâ Federation of India) Krishna District Secretary said that parents and students are now in a fix as âseveral corporate colleges have already started classes and taken fees from students, cheating their parents.â SFI has called for the Board of Intermediate to take action against colleges like Sri Chaitanya and Narayana for allegedly resuming classes without permission.
However, explaining the reason for Sri Chaitanya and Narayana not showing up on the website for online admissions, Prakasam district Regional Inspection Officer (RIO) for Intermediate VV Subba Rao said that these colleges have failed to submit their intake capacity to the Board of Intermediate. âIf they donât submit their intake capacity, their colleges wonât show up in the student login page,â he said.
Subba Rao also said that the admission to intermediate to any college will not be valid unless it is done through the BIE website, adding that students who are already in intermediate second year will not be affected.
Earlier in May, the BIE issued a government order limiting the student intake in private junior colleges to 360 students in each year (nine sections with a maximum of 40 students each). On October 21, the same day that online admissions began, the Andhra Pradesh High Court issued interim orders suspending this government order after hearing petitions filed by private college managements against the order.
When asked about the status of students who have already paid fees in private colleges not listed in the BIE website, Krishna district RIO P Ravi Kumar said that the board cannot take responsibility for private colleges who have taken admissions without permission from the board. âIf they (private colleges) submit their intake numbers, they can get added to the website. If they take admissions unofficially, we are not responsible for that,â he said.
âThere are many other options available on the website. Some government aided and private colleges are also available (apart from government colleges). New colleges have been added, sections have been increased. On a priority basis, students can choose their options,â Prakasam RIO Subba Rao said.
Noor Mohammad, however, says that certain private colleges have an upper hand in terms of number of seats available. âIntermediate education in the state has become largely privatised already. There are nearly 1,800 private junior colleges compared to around 350 government colleges. The government must take this as a challenge and ensure that such colleges violating the rules must return fees to the students,â he said, demanding action against colleges which undertook admissions in advance.
While there is no official word yet about the last date for admissions (which are currently set to end at 5 pm on Thursday), Subba Rao said that an extension is very likely as not even 50% of the enrollments have been completed in Prakasam as of Wednesday.