Pandemic, delayed exam put question mark over student’s MBA admission

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll of different kind on S. Saranya, who has just been terminated from the MBA programme run by the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham School of Business.

On May 4 this year, the School wrote to Ms. Saranya saying it advised her to withdraw from the programme and if it did not hear from her by May 6, it would remove her from rolls. “The admission….was subject to the fulfilment of minimum eligibility criteria and submission of proof thereof. We have not received all the required proofs of your undergraduate degree till date,” said the letter signed by Bhawana Jain, Chair-PGP.

The deemed university Registrar K. Sankaran said the student was unable to furnish her provisional degree certificate and therefore had lost her eligibility to continue as the admission to the MBA programme was provisional.

After the May 4 letter, Ms. Saranya returned to the institution where she had completed her undergraduate programme – PSG College of Technology, whose principal in-charge issued a letter the very next day certifying S. Saranya of having “completed all courses of study in April 2020.”

The college had in April 2021 issued another letter in which it said, “This is to certify that Ms. Saranya S. ….has completed all requirements of the course and is qualified for the award of the B.Sc. Degree in Computer Systems and Design.”

Notwithstanding the letter, the Amrita deemed university had terminated because Ms. Saranya had not furnished the provisional degree certificate, which was not the same as a letter from the college principal, Mr. Sankaran said.

Ms. Saranya’s father V. Sivaramakrishnan said the student was unable to furnish the provisional degree certificate because Anna University was yet to issue it. But she had furnished consolidated mark sheet and all semester mark sheets.

Sources in Amrita said the institution had terminated Ms. Saranya from the programme also because she had completed her degree in only 2021 and not 2020 and that she had arrears examination.

But the May 5 letter from the PSG College of Technology principal in-charge said the April 2020 examination was held in September 2020 because of the pandemic situation. As for the arrears examination, there was a delay because of a case filed in the Madras High Court.

“Taking all factors in to account, it may be interpreted that the candidate [Ms. Saranya] should have qualified for degree in the exam scheduled in April 2020, if the pandemic had not disturbed the academic schedule,” said the letter from the PSG College of Technology principal. But this was only an interpretation and not order. And, it was only an opinion, said Amrita Registrar Mr. Sankaran and sources in the institution.

The student had completed her undergraduate programme only in 2021 and that made her ineligible for the MBA course 2020-22, they added.

Mr. Sankaran further said that if the student were to return for the 2021-23 batch, Amrita deemed university would consider her candidature and also discount the fee she had paid for the first year as the institution was not after money.

He added that the university had made it clear to the student and her parents as well.

Acknowledging that the university had made the offer, Ms. Saranya’s father Mr. Sivaramakrishnan asked what about the year that his daughter could lose. Was there way to compensate the loss?

Meanwhile, consumer activist K. Kathirmathiyon, who had taken up the student’s case and written to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, argued that Ms. Saranya was in no way responsible for the delayed conduct of examination due to pandemic.

Referring to the letter written by the PSG College of Technology, he said even after the letter was issued, the student had suffered because of the stand taken by the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.

The student had paid the first year fee ₹ 5.35 lakh, written two trimester examinations but was not allowed to write the third for no fault of hers. Therefore the Ministry should intervene, he demanded.

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