Andhra Intermediate Board Will Implement 1:40 Teacher-Student Ratio from Academic Year 2021-22
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The Board of Intermediate Education (BIE), the regulator of the crucial two-year intermediate course in Andhra Pradesh, will implement a teacher-student ratio of 1:40 from the next academic year, 2021-22, an official said on Thursday.
However, for the current 2020-21 academic year, obeying the Andhra High Court ruling, BIE will allow a maximum number of 88 students per classroom.
"Yes, definitely we will reduce it to 40. Whatever studies the High Court has directed us to do, we will conduct them," BIE secretary V. Ramakrishna told IANS.
The BIE envisioned restricting the number of students in a classroom to 40, adhering to international standards of the teacher-student ratio, considering the endless number of students corporate colleges were cramming into classrooms.
However, the court allowed 88 students per classroom for this academic year.
Ramakrishna himself is clueless about who recommended this 88 ratio earlier, which was existing as a government order even before the court recommended it.
The state government has chosen not to challenge the High Court ruling in the Supreme Court as students and parents are eager to start the academic year after the time they lost due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We cannot make the students keep on waiting. Already the academic year is almost over, they are putting a lot of pressure on us to open colleges. Even the managements want colleges to be opened, they have admitted students and collected fees," observed Ramakrishna.
In normal times, intermediate examinations get over by February end.
To make up for the lost time, the BIE will extend the current academic year till April and has also slashed some syllabus for the first and second year intermediate courses, in synch with the CBSE.
Syllabus reduction was coordinated with the CBSE so as not to put the state students at a disadvantage when they appear for national competitive examinations such as IIT, AIIMS and others.
Ramakrishna, a 2009 batch Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer has also clipped the wings of several corporate colleges over conducting their own admission tests.
"The admissions should be made based on the SSC (Xth standard) pass or equivalency obtained in the qualifying examination. They should not conduct any test for admission. All the principals are instructed to take measures to provide full security to girl students and also follow the instructions issued for prevention of suicide deaths strictly," observed the BIE secretary.
Likewise, intermediate colleges have also been restricted from admitting students in the second year who have completed their first year in Telangana intermediate colleges.
"The curriculum of the syllabus is different in both the states. If any student is interested to study in Andhra, they should take admission into first year only," he said.
Similarly, college principals have been instructed to take the BIE's permission before admitting students who studied in the Xth standard from other boards.
"We are doing this to root out students coming for intermediate admissions who completed their school education from some fake boards," said Ramakrishna.
However, there would be no issue for students coming from recognized boards such as ICSE or CBSE.
For transparency, during the period of admissions lasting from January 7 to 17, the board has ordered all the college managements to prominently display the number of class sections the BIE has permitted in each and every individual college.
Every college must also display the number of seats filled up in each section and the number of seats still available for admission on a daily basis.
If any college wishes to increase its number of classroom sections, it has to take permission from the BIE, a move aimed at cracking down on profiteering colleges which have crammed students into classrooms without even proper infrastructure.
Asbestos sheds as classrooms, premises sans fire safety certificates, mind numbing advertising blitz, admission hunting, compelling teaching staff to market colleges, overcrowded classrooms and other transgressions will hopefully be a thing of the past.
"Any deviation from the instructions will be viewed seriously," added Ramakrishna.
Intermediate education in the state has been subjected to decades of abuse and profiteering by several entities, condoned by successive governments and senior officials, which is now being sanitized for the benefit of lakhs of students.