Thousands of students returned home without taking their semester exams being conducted by Punjabi University, Patiala, following a boycott by the government-aided colleges on Wednesday. The colleges refused to open locks of classrooms for the exam as a protest against the state government’s decision to conduct college admissions via a centralised portal.
There are a total of 21 aided colleges in Punjab, and most of them want to be excluded from the centralised portal for admissions.
Panjab University (PU) authorities postponed all exams for undergraduate and postgraduate students that were to be held on Wednesday owing to teachers protest and said fresh date will be notified later.
Owing to the teachers stir, Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU) also changed its exam centres.
Explaining their stance Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising teachers from aided, Unaided College Management Federation, Principals Association and Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union, said the decision will be detrimental to these colleges and the government should take it back.
Dr Amandeep Kaur, principal at Akal Degree College, Mastuana Sahib, said the decision of boycotting the examination was taken on the call of the Joint Action Committee (JAC).
“We had already informed the state government and Punjabi University about the boycott call. But they did not listen and deployed teachers from government schools to conduct the exams. Our peons are also with us in the protest against the state government. Therefore, the college gates were not opened,” she said.
She further informed that the state government’s centralised portal for all the students applying for admission will ruin the aided colleges.
“The portal will ruin all the aided colleges as the seats will be allotted in an arbitrary manner,” she added.
The JAC has also threatened that the boycott will continue till June 3, and the next course of action will be decided on that day.
Dr Khushvinder Kumar, a member of JAC, said, “There are a total of 21 aided colleges in Punjab, and 18 of them boycotted the examination. We don’t want to do it, but the government is not paying attention to our issue.”
Meanwhile, Punjabi University Controller of Examination, AK Tiwari, said alternative centres have been made for the exams.
“The centres have been changed, and the exams will take place on Thursday,” Tiwari said.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) also came out in support of aided colleges and asked for immediate withdrawal of the arbitrary order to impose centralised admissions on government as well as aided and unaided colleges while keeping private universities out of its ambit.
Asserting the move has resulted in chaos, SAD spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema in a statement said it seems that the government has bowed down to the demands of private universities.
“Either all colleges and universities should be part of the centralised admission process or all institutes should be allowed to conduct admission process on their own. The government should not adopt a discriminatory policy,” he added.
He blamed the chief minister Bhagwant Mann for the ongoing strike by college teachers which disrupted the examination process.