Saturday, July 19, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Percentile system has students fuming
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Certain students have expressed their dissatisfaction over adoption of new system of admissions to the Panjab University Business School this year. The “complaints” of students were forwarded to the department by the university.

The department maintains impeccable integrity in the conduct of the admission procedure and a reply in this regard has been sent to the university. Sources maintain that students were complaining because this year onwards the university has introduced percentile formula in calculating the final merit.

Percentile indicates an individual’s relative position among the total population of candidates.

Damandeep Singh, an aspirant, has complained that almost all candidates above him in the merit list had lesser percentile than his. “ In order to explain my point I would like to state the example of a candidate whose CAT score is 39.57 per cent whereas mine is 53.38. There is a difference of 13.81 per cent. As in the final result, one considers 85 per cent weightage for the written test, so the difference between our marks comes out as 11.74. As group discussion (GD) and personal interview is for 15 marks, the candidate not only overtook the lead but also moved ahead 80 ranks compared to mine. This was only possible if the candidate scored full 15 marks in the GD and interview and I scored zero, which seemed impossible,” he said.

Another complainant Mohit Khullar, an aspirant from Jalandhar, was so upset that he surrendered his seat in the department in anguish over the procedure.

Dr Manoj Sharma from the Department of UBS, who was associated with the admission procedure, said the percentile formula had been followed as per CAT criterion. The selection process consisted of a written examination, the GD and the interview and all the processes were carried out independently. The selection committee consisted of eminent personalities from different walks of life.

Dr Sharma said there had been cases where a boy scored well in the written test but performed abysmally low in the interview.

Another independent source said even daughter of a senior faculty member of the department had been unable to make it to the department, which revealed fairplay in the selection process.

One of the candidates has threatened to approach the court, however, the department sources said the complainant stood no chance based on the facts.


School board to await court decision in clerks’ case
Our Correspondent

SAS Nagar, July 18
The item relating to the reinstatement of 134 clerks of the Punjab School Education Board to their original posts was deferred at a meeting of the board members held here today.

The issue was, however, not on the agenda of the meeting but put up as a table item.

There was a proposal that the 134 clerks, who had been removed from their their posts after a vigilance inquiry, be made to join on the same posts. It is reported that these clerks had been employed during the tenure of Mr Tota Singh, former Education Minister, Punjab. The services of these employees had been terminated after a vigilance inquiry had pointed out that board officials had indulged in favouritism while making the recruitments. Since then these employees had been working on an ad hoc basis.

The members said that since the court had set up a three-member panel to decide on the issue the matter should be deferred till any decision was taken.

The members decided that a separate magazine in Hindi should be published instead of reserving some pages for items in Hindi language in the Punjabi magazine ‘Pankhriyan’ published by the board.

The term of Mr S.S. Mongia, who had retired as a chief engineer, as a part-time technical adviser was extended by the Chairman of the board, Dr Kehar Singh, on the basis of existing terms and conditions which was approved by the board.

The board has also approved the service of a part-time horticulture adviser for a period of six months. His services are required for landscaping and improving other aspects related to horticulture in the office complex as well as the housing colony of the board.

An item relating to an increase in the telephone bill limit during examination period was cleared by the board though all the rights in this regard have been given to the chairman. It had been decided to check the earlier records before taking any decision. The board members gave all the powers to the chairman for nominating members to various committees.


Dr Pathak for phased increase of college fee
P.P.S. Gill
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
The Panjab University Vice-Chancellor, Dr K.N. Pathak, said today that the Punjab Government should review its decision on the hike effected in the fee and fund structure in the colleges. He is not against the increase in the admission and tuition fees. However, he strongly believes that the same should have been done in a phased manner rather than putting too heavy a burden on the parents in one go.

Dr Pathak told TNS today that such a steep increase was likely to deprive many deserving students of an opportunity for higher education. There were also reports of at least two students having committed suicide in Punjab because of a hike in the fee.

In fact, the Panjab University Senate at a special meeting on July 6 had rejected out of hand the Punjab directive on the fee hike. It had authorised the Vice-Chancellor to constitute a committee to resolve the tangle. Dr Pathak was in the process of constituting a committee. But in the meantime he was taking a personal initiative to seek relief for the students. He has sought an appointment with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in this connection.

His view was that if the Panjab University could successfully effect a 10 per cent fee hike every year since 1999 without inviting protest from either parents or students, should the state sit on prestige and not revise its decision to jack up the fees? Dr Pathak is working out options that would place all players — the state, the universities, private colleges and their managements, parents and students in a ‘win-win’ situation. He did not disclose all options. He, however, hinted at one. He said the government gave to the private colleges 95 per cent grant-in-aid. It was also keen that these colleges and the universities should become “self-financing”. The government, therefore, could fix a reasonable percentage of share it expected from the admission and tuitions fee that the colleges collected. While doing so, it should keep in view the amount of money given to the colleges and the universities. Thereafter, it could fix an upper benchmark on the admission and tuition fees to be charged by them.

As the issue of a hike in the fee and fund structure will remain live with the government insisting on its implementation, TNS talked to Principal Dr A C Vaid, a Fellow of Panjab University, Prof Charanjit Chawla, a member of the University Syndicate, and Prof. N P Manocha, an activist of the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers’ Union.

Dr Vaid said there were 140 non-government aided colleges in Punjab which were getting Rs 57 crore per year, under 95 per cent grant-in-aid against the required Rs 104 crore. On the other hand, the government was spending Rs 80 crore on 47 government colleges. Out of estimated 2,20,000 college-going students, the private colleges alone had enrolled 1,70,000.

Prof Manocha pointed out that the 95 per cent grant-in-aid scheme was introduced in 1978 with the government promising to periodically review and revise teaching and non-teaching posts. The first and only review was done in 1981. Thereafter, if the strength of students went up three times, the staff strength increased by 2.5 times and the salary bill shot up three times. “The government receives its share of the admission and tuition fees on the live strength of students but continues to give the grant, as per the 1981 strength of the staff”, he added.

Dr Vaid said if the government continued to take an ostrich-like stand on the fee and fund structure and failed to it, higher education would remain a prerogative of only the elite and not masses. The government should have increased the fee in a phased manner instead of putting the burden in one stroke, Prof Chawla said.


Workshop to highlight status of English
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
For those who wish to know the state of global English today the British Council Library is organising a special workshop on its premises tomorrow in this regard. Being organised in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) the workshop aims at targeting students who have not been able to enter any regular course at the college.

Admissions to various city colleges being almost over, those who could not secure admission to any regular course are already busy looking for distance education institutions.

Finding this an opportune time to help the city youth gain perspective, the British Council Library has arranged a free workshop titled “Communication skills for the 21st Century.” It will be conducted by experts.

Interestingly, communication skill is emerging as a key area with jobs in the upcoming IT sector, set to witness a boom. The city itself, apart from being the hub of intellectual and cultural life of the region, is fast emerging as a centre for Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES).

Mr Sushant Banerjee, manager, British Library, stated that the standards of spoken English in the region needed to be improved to enable the youth graduating from the city institutions to compete for jobs in the IT sector. Tomorrow’s workshop is in the series to be organised exclusively to target those who are poor in English and its nuances. Besides, IT parks coming up in UT, Haryana and Punjab will further boost the requirement for trained personnel in English.

There is also a need to strengthen communication skills of candidates who excellent academic record but come from ordinary schools. 


VC releases 2 books on health
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Aimed at spreading the message of healthy life in the common man’s language, a set of two books — ‘Healthy Living’ and ‘Better Health’ — were released at Panjab University here today.

The set of books authored by Dr Meenal, a noted menopause consultant, and Dr R. Kumar, an established eye-specialist, was released by Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, in a simple function held in the committee room.

Speaking on the occasion Prof Pathak said “Dr (Mrs) Meenal Kumar, a senior gynaecologist at Civil Dispensary, Sector 20, is spearheading a movement to provide public health education to women passing through menopausal zone.”

It was pointed out that Dr Meenal had overcome problems on the same account in her personal life. However, the disabilities suffered by her gave her new strength and insight to offer empowerment to women.

In recognition of her services Dr Meenal was entrusted to head the first menopausal clinic in the city which caters to over one lakh women.

The present set of books is a part of series of books on public health education by the two authors. The first book in this series was titled ‘Better Woman’s Health after Menopause’.

A club ‘Menopause Helpline’ was constituted with Dr Meenal as the secretary.

The club has organised at least a couple of meetings on the women awareness programme. There are plans to have regular meetings of the club with the involvement of more women organisations. Public education in the direction of women care was on top of Dr Meenal’s agenda.

Dr Raj Bahadur, Medical Superintendent and head of the Orthopaedics Department at Government Medical College and Hospital, Sector 32, said there was hardly any reading material on health awareness available for the common man in the country. He mentioned his visits abroad where medical fraternity worked on small pamphlets for information of people. He said the books being released today were a big step in that direction and more such efforts would be in interest of the general public.


CBSE invites entries for contest
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 18
To imbibe a sense of respect among students for the rich cultural heritage, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is organising Cultural Heritage Quiz Contest — 2003 for government and private non government schools, Kendriya Vidyalaya and Navodya Vidyalaya throughout the country.

Mr Ashok Ganguly, Chairman, CBSE, New Delhi, has urged the school principals to send entries for the contest. According to him, detailed information about the contest, including the date and venue, will be informed after the entries have been received at the CBSE headquarters. The last date for sending entries is July 31.


Election with a difference
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 18
An election was conducted at Ajit Karam Singh International Public School, Sector 41, to elect the school council representatives here today. The concept of election for the students of classes VI to XI has been introduced to give the children a fair idea about the electoral system of India.

Election was held for head girl, head boy, deputy head girl and deputy head boy. The contestants introduced themselves through their manifestoes. Polling centres were allocated for different classes and the teachers acted as the polling officers.

Ishat Singh was elected head boy, Parnika Kalra head girl, Nalin Minocha deputy head boy and Ramneek Gill deputy head girl.


Two granted bail in forgery case
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, July 18
Anju Jain and Yogita Jain, wives of two commission agents accused in forgery cases, were granted bail by a Judicial Magistrate (First Class) in a Rajpura court today.

The two were arrested on a complaint filed by a Mani Majra resident, Mr Ashok Bansal under Section 406 and 420 of the IPC. In his complaint Ms Bansal had alleged that Ramesh Kumar Jain, a commission agent had taken goods worth Rs 15 lakh from him and had given him two cheques for Rs 6 lakh, which they were dishonoured.

The complainant further alleged that following this the commission agent, who also owns a rice mill on the Dera Bassi-Haibatpura road, disappeared from the town.

The police had booked — Ramesh Jain, his brother Ravinder Jain, their nephews Amit Jain and Atul Jain for their involvement in the case. A police party had raided the house of the accused and arrested Anju Jain and Yogita Jain, wives of Amit Jain and Atul Jain, respectively, while the wives of Ramesh Jain and Ravinder Jain managed to escape.


Bench makes CBI party in PIL
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 18
Taking a serious view of an application alleging corruption in the office of the Registration and Licensing Authority here, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court today impleaded the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as a party after treating it as a public interest litigation.

Admitting the petition, the Bench, headed by Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy, also directed the UT Administration to file reply. The states of Punjab and Haryana, besides the CBI, were also asked to file their replies.

In his application submitted in 2001, city resident Raman Sharma had asked for a probe by the CBI into the allegations of corruption. Taking up the application in May 2001, the court had issued notice to Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana.

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