Coimbatore: The State Government has decided to once again challenge the higher minimum eligibility marks fixed by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for admission into engineering colleges. Higher Education Minister P Palaniappan told Express on Sunday that soon, his Department would file an appeal before a Division Bench of the Madras High Court. This year, the AICTE had mandated that only students with a minimum aggregate score of 45 per cent would be eligible to enrol in BE/BTech courses under the Open Competition category. For students belonging to reserved categories (BC, MBC and SC/ST), the AICTE had fixed the minimum eligibility aggregate at 40%.
However, in TN, the prevailing policy allowed SC/ST students with a mere pass mark of 35 per cent to qualify for engineering admission. Soon after the AICTE notification came into force, the Higher Education Department had challenged it in the HC and sought to relax the norms to allow all Plus Two passed students to join engineering colleges. But, in a space of a week, Justices K Chandru and V Ramasubramanian had separately dismissed the pleas holding that relaxing norms would dilute the standards.
Justice Ramasubramanin had said: “The vacancy positions in government, aided and Anna University constituent colleges were also not very alarming. Only in self-financing colleges the position was alarming. But, this could not be a ground for the State to scale down the norms.”
TN will challenge the minimum eligibility marks fixed by the AICTE for admission into engineering colleges.
Minister Palaniappan contended that “while the AICTE’s revised norms will help students belonging to Backward Community, students from SC / ST category will be affected. Last year we approached the court and obtained a stay and continued the admissions. Now we have decided to go on an appeal against the ruling.”
Incidentally, 10 years ago when TN had a higher eligibility criterion, the AICTE had stirred a hornet’s nest by lowering the eligibility marks to a minimum pass in Plus Two. Subsequently, the AICTE went on a course correction two years ago and increased the eligibility scores to 50% for OCs and 45% for reserved category students. Later, it reduced the requirement by 5% in each category.
In TN through a G.O. dated June 14, 2010, the requisite minimum qualification was fixed at 50% for OCs, 45% for BCs, 40% for MBCs and 35% for SC/ST students.