Cries for help: Reservation policy in Hyderabad further limits availability of seats for psychology courses

With only 2 seats available for the course in two institutions across the country, aspiring students have found a new enemy in the state's reservation policy
The life of people who need psychiatric help will continue to be strained
The life of people who need psychiatric help will continue to be strained

The life of people who need psychiatric help, which is roughly 1:30,00,000 will continue to be strained, thanks to the lack of seats available for psychology courses like Psy D (Doctorate in Psychology). With only 2 seats available for the course in two institutions across the country, qualifying students who wanted the course but couldn't qualify due to lack of seats have found a new enemy in the state's reservation policy to vent out their anger. 

Sweekar Academy of Rehabilitation Science (SARS) in Hyderabad and Amity University in Noida are the only two institutions in the country that are recognised by the Rehabilitation Council of India to offer Psy D course. At SARS Psy D is affiliated by Osmania University and recognised by the Rehabilitation Council of India. 

Divina Richu Denny who secured the first rank was told that she could not get admission because the both seats were reserved for local candidates. Divina, who is from Thrissur says that she feels cheated and embarrassed. "Since I was first on the merit list, I was sure that I would get admission but during the counselling on August 10, I was told that both seats were reserved. Why wasn’t this mentioned in the prospectus? Had I known this, I would have looked for other options," she said. 

Since I was first on the merit list, I was sure that I would get admission but during the counselling on August 10, I was told that both seats were reserved. Why wasn’t this mentioned in the prospectus? Had I known this, I would have looked for other options

Divina Richu Denny, Student

The situation for MPhil in Psychology at SARS is no different. For the 10 seats, 70 candidates appeared. “I was told that eight seats are for locals and that the remaining two fall under SC, ST quota. Of these two seats, if one is vacant it would be offered to me. I have little hope of securing admission. Two years of work has gone wasted,” said A Ashwathi who is from Calicut. 

A senior staff of SARS, on the condition of anonymity, sympathised with the candidates and said that the reservation policy is such that meritorious students lose out. "This profession is such that we need qualified people but here, instead of the first rank holder, the 25th ranker gets admission. In the case of the Psy D candidate, she fulfilled all the criteria and yet, she was denied. We talk about women empowerment and this is what we do to her,” he said.

According to the reservation policy in the state, “admission to 85 per cent of the available seats in every course shall be reserved in favour of the local candidates.” The remaining 15 percent intake is for the SC, ST and OBC candidates

Speaking to the Express, Dr Babu, the director of SARS said that it was ‘ironical’ that there are only four seats for the course in the whole of Asia and meritorious students often don’t get admission. He admitted having written to RCI several times asking for them to increase the number of seats in view of increasing demand. “The problem is not of the organisation but that of the regulator and the government policy. Therefore, according to the Osmania University regulation and RCI directive, local candidates are our first preference,” he said.  

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