In view of the number of screening tests that students need to take up to acquire engineering and medical seats, the supreme court has stepped down to a soft corner advising the government to take the board exam marks also into consideration while allotting seats without giving 100 percent importance to entrance exams alone. The Supreme Court asked the government on Friday to frame guidelines to do away with the present system of a single test deciding their future.
Instead of the full weightage for entrance tests, 40 percent weight should be given to results of the Board exams and 60% for performance in the entrance exams while shortlisting candidates for admission to such courses, the court said.
"It is wrong that the entire future of a student is decided by his/her performance in the entrance examination," the court said, adding that "we cannot pass an order on the issue and it is for the government to regulate the system and frame the policy".
The court bench consisting of Justices A K Goel and U U Lalit also expressed their concerns over the number of private institutes cropping up as coaching centres cashing upon these exams and that the Centre should put in place a mechanism to regulate them.
The issue came up when the court was hearing a PIL filed by SFI, CPM's student wing, requesting the Supreme Court to direct regulation of such institutes that exploit the students' situation and charge exorbitant fees.
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The SC agreed to the PIL with regards to the commercialisation and said that such institutes needed to be regulated, but there couldn't be a blanket ban on them. Advocate Deepak Prakash who appeared for SFI contended that the Centre should frame a specific law to regulate the Rs 40,000-crore private coaching business. He also sought that such institutes should be banned as the facilities were being availed only by rich students, putting the poor at a disadvantage.
"Because of the hype created by the aggressive advertising by the coaching institutes, when a child realises that he can't make it to the medical or engineering course, the guilt of spending his/her father's hard-earned money on coaching classes leads him/her to commit suicide," the petition said.
The court in return observed, "You cannot say that there should be no coaching centres. We agree that school education has got a secondary status with coaching centres mushrooming across the country. But how can we regulate? It needs to be regulated by the government," the bench said.
In that regard, Advocate Harvinder Kaur Chowdhury, appearing for the HRD ministry, told the court that the issue was under consideration and the government was committed to the welfare of students.
She told the bench that a circular was issued by the CBSE in 2014 banning coaching institutes from taking classes on school premises. She said that the Right to Education Act, 2009 also bars teachers from engaging in private tuition.