Medical seats: KEA, give them a chance

The refusal of the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) to hold another round of counselling for aspirants to medical courses is wrong. These students, who are from Kodagu and Kerala, were unable to attend the offline counselling for students on Friday. Kodagu and Kerala suffered incessant rain and terrible floods over the past two weeks. Indeed, the floods in Kerala were the worst in a century. People were forced to flee their homes and have been stranded in makeshift shelters for days and only now, with the waters receding, are they slowly returning to homes that are completely destroyed. Roads to and from Kodagu and Kerala to Bengaluru were under water, making it impossible for anyone to travel. Thus, students who were supposed to attend Friday’s counselling in Bengaluru were unable to do so. In addition to lack of transport connectivity out of Kodagu and Kerala, telephone and mobile connectivity was down as well and newspapers were not available. Students were therefore left in the dark about the KEA’s mop-up counselling on Friday. As if the trauma of experiencing the floods and seeing their homes being washed away isn’t bad enough, the students’ educational aspirations have been dealt a blow by the KEA’s announcement that it will not hold another round of counselling for them.

It is unfortunate that Karnataka’s Minister for Medical Education, D K Shivakumar, who should have given the students a sympathetic hearing and directed the KEA to adopt a more compassionate approach to the issue, has washed his hands off, dismissing the students’ problem as a “personal” one and declaring that the government “cannot interfere in the issue at this stage.” Taking their cue from the minister, KEA officials have since dug in their heels and refused these students a chance to obtain admissions.

The number of students impacted is reported to be relatively small, so holding another round of counselling is not going to be a huge logistical problem. The KEA, which is at fault for notifying and holding final counselling rounds knowing full well that students from these parts would not be able to attend, should adopt a reasonable position. Here are students who must have worked hard to clear the exams. They were shortlisted but could not attend the counselling, not because of their own laxity but because a natural disaster prevented them from being in Bengaluru for the counselling. To have their hopes and dreams dashed at a young age for no fault of theirs is unjust and unacceptable. It is in the hands of the KEA to change that. It should hold another round of offline counselling for these students. That is the right thing to do.

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Medical seats: KEA, give them a chance

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