Is merit not a privilege?

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It’s more than a decade since the self-financing sector has been unleashed on the professional course sector in the state and finally a defining moment has come wherein merit has been given a go-by in a brazen manner allowing the managements to admit students as they like to the newly-created privilege quota.

The agreement in this regard was signed on Friday between the Kerala Private Medical College Management Association (KPMCMA) and the state government and the government order laying bare all the details is out now.

This year’s admission process is special in another respect also.

The government first asked the Commissioner of Entrance Examination to include three colleges — ie, the Kannur Medical College, Karunya Medical College and CSI Medical College Karakkonam — that did not first sign an agreement with the government, in the government allotment process for MBBS.

As things stand now, four SF medical colleges are missing from the list prepared by the government in association with KPMCMA.

They are Karunya, Kannur, CSI Medical College Karakonam and MES Medical College, Perinthalmanna.

Incidentally, MES president Fazal Gafoor is the president of KPMCMA and his college is missing from the agreement entered into with the government!

The government says that the new order supercedes the earlier GO, which obviously means the four medical colleges are out of the allotment process.

The CSI Medical College is a separate entity with a separate agreement with the government and will have a flat fee of `3.75 lakh while Karunya and Kannur will make admission on their own and have not entered into any agreement with the government for CEE’s allotment.

The same is the case with MES medical college. While talking to Deccan Chronicle on Saturday, Commissioner of Entrance Examination B.S. Mavoji, however, said that the option registration for the 11 colleges under the association will continue.

“I have no instruction otherwise from the government,” he said.

On the other hand, 15 seats out of a total of 100 will be privilege seats and the government order in this regard says “the managements concerned shall be entitled to fill up these seats irrespective of their rank in the ranklist prepared by the management consortium for allotment under management quota.”

It further says that “In the event of no candidates available in the ranklist prepared by the management consortium, the remaining seats will be filled by the managements from the candidates available in the ranklist published by the Commissioner of Entrance Examination irrespective of their rank in the ranklist.”

“Though the agreement looks somewhat okay with the private colleges surrendering their community quota seats (15 seats out of 100 seats), in lieu of getting 15 privilege seats, it does not augur well for the medical education sector with merit being given the go-by.

The managements have resorted to this new method since they have found it more profitable than the community quota system.

Always the self-financing agreements have been loaded in favour of the SF managements,” said K. Reghunatha Pillai, former joint commissioner of entrance examinations.

Government has secured best possible deal

We were able to secure 50 per cent of the total seats in SF medical colleges for admission on the basis of pure merit.

When the 15 per cent privilege seats have been granted, the 15 per cent community quota has been done away with. In the case of minority colleges like KMCT and MES, if they go to court, they will be able to secure the community quota as well. So we couldn’t touch it.

They asked for 20 per cent privilege seats and we gave them 15. Nobody is talking about these achievements of the government. Now what A.K.Antony envisioned while launching SF colleges has been achieved.

We still hope that colleges like Kannur, Karunya and MES will come back to sign an agreement with the government. Hence, we are continuing with the allotment process.

V.S. Sivakumar, Health Minister

Government has surrendered before managements

What is happening in Kerala today is pure business in the name of education. We are going to react strongly against this.

The privilege seats given to SF medical managements are in violation of not only the Supreme Court order but also all other established practices.

Shockingly, the government has dispensed with even minimum marks for engineering admission. The media is also not highlighting these issues.

The government has surrendered before the Christian managements also. They had promised 25 seats for admission under government quota when the LDF was ruling, but we did not accept it.

Now the present government has accepted their scholarships that can support just 10 students on government fees, allowing the Christian managements to make a huge profit.

M.A. Baby, CPM politburo member and former education minister

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