Should Meghalaya be Conducting College Admissions During the Pandemic?

RAIOT received the following message on WhatsApp and we chose to publish it for public health reasons

This is a message from concerned citizens of Meghalaya. In view of the growing number of CoViD 19 positive cases, our concern is regarding the government’s decision to open up college admissions for session 2020-2021. Our take on this matter are as follows:

1) We are well aware and mentally prepared that educational institutions will be the last sector which will be unlocked. Hence what is the logic of allowing fresh admissions to take place now?

2) Perhaps this decision has come about because the government does not realise the ground reality of what goes on during admission time. I can understand that online admission is there. We have no problem with it. Our concern is offline or ground admission. The government protocol is 200 applicants a day. Who will keep count of this number? Moreover, this will keep the college staff at risk because they will have to touch 200 forms per day. No one will know if these forms are of a possible carrier since we have to treat everyone as an asymptomatic carrier.

3) Thank God for online admission. But not everyone can access it. Even those who can access it, if the option of off line admission is given, the usual preference is to actually go to the colleges to physically apply.

4) For those with no smart phones, they will either line up outside cyber cafes or go to colleges for admission.

5) The need to apply to colleges as of now, is really not there since the final semester students have not been cleared out by the university.

6) If the government put psychological pressure on the students by opening up admission, they will throng the streets for fear of losing out on their college seats. This way, you will unnecessarily force ten of thousands of class 12 students to not ” stay home” in order to ” stay safe”. These are young and carefree teenagers who will not be so careful in maintaining the social distancing and let alone wearing of the masks.

7)The usual scenario of admission process is that for students who do off line admission, they move about from college to college to apply into as many colleges as they can to ensure that they get a seat for themselves. In case we have a positive case in any of the colleges, it would make contact tracing highly impossible.

8) Who will help to maintain social distancing outside of the College campus. The police? The volunteers of the dorbar shnong? Why put an overwhelming pressure on government machineries and dorbar shnong volunteers? Why have these admissions when cases are spiralling?

9) Shillong’s covid positive cases is ascending rapidly. The majority of the Higher Secondary Schools and Colleges are in Shillong. The young Students are less careful and those from the rural areas will flock to Shillong hopping from one college to another and by the evening they will travel back to other districts with less or no cases. Along with them the virus may likely travel to remote villages. Shillong’s colleges is where every class x or class xii passed young mind villages and little towns will want to apply for admissions.

Suggestions

1) Permit only on line admissions for now with the directive that not less than 40% of seats to be reserved for off line applicants for all subjects/departments/streams for later.

2) Off line admissions should be kept in abeyance for now. All on line applicants are to pay their fees on line as per arrangement to be made by the school/college without having to go to the bank.

3) Tuition fees to be paid later.

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