Engg colleges settle for govt fee structure

Padmaraj panel had fixed lower charges

Engg colleges settle for govt fee structure

After learning that the Justice B Padmaraj committee report reco­m­m­ended lower than expe­cted fee structures for engineering courses, private colleges on Thursday scampered to ag­ree with the governm­e­nt’s proposal of Rs 35,000 per annum.

The sudden turnaround came a day after the Karnataka High Court directed the state government to make public the fee regulatory committee’s report whose recommendations seemed to have disappointed the private colleges.

The private educational institutions were shocked to learn at a meeting with the state government that the fee structure recommended by the Padmaraj committee was much lower than they had expected.

Sources told Deccan Herald that the fee determined for a majority of colleges was between Rs 24,000 to Rs 35,000, with only a handful of colleges being charged higher fee. It is understood that the highest fee determined was Rs 54,000 for six colleges.

This was a far cry from what the private managements had expected. The college association expected fees to be in the range of Rs 40,000 to Rs 80,000, with top institutions charging as high as Rs 1 lakh.

Realising that the tables had turned against them, the Karnataka Unaided Private Engineering Colleges Association (KUPECA) immediately convened a meeting Thursday evening and decided to accept the government formula.

‘Students’ interests’

Association Vice-President Pandurang Shetty said: “We decided in the interest of students and parents that we would settle the matter and accept the government formula. Moreover, counselling is scheduled to start next week, and we did not want to trouble the students. All colleges have agreed to the government formula”.

Former MP R L Jalappa, who had filed a case in the High Court against the state government to make the fee report public, said that he would take a decision on accepting the report on Friday.

Under an agreement, private engineering colleges are expected to give 45 per cent of engineering seats to students who have cleared the CET for Rs 35,000.  The remaining 55 per cent seats will be given under Comed-K and management quota for Rs 1.25 lakh. In addition to this, a supernumerary quota of 5 per cent mandated by the AICTE will provide free seats for economically backward students.  Higher Education Minister V S Acharya said that the details were still being worked out and the final agreement would be ready by Monday.

Supernumerary quota

A few of the issues that remained to be sorted out include whether the supernumerary quota will be included in the CET quota, the provision of poor and meritorious quota and lowering CET fee further in exchange for a hike in Comed-K fee.

In accordance with Supreme Court judgments, private colleges are at a liberty to admit students based on an entrance test, while fee will be fixed by a regulatory committee. However, a consensual agreement between the government and private colleges can override this. As a result, since 2006, admissions to engineering and medical colleges have been made on the basis of consensual agreements.

But this year, negotiations between the state government and private colleges have been long and bitter, as Higher Education Department was reluctant to hike fees from last year. Colleges, on the other hand, demanded that fee under CET quota needed to be hiked to Rs 50,000 to meet additional expenses incurred because of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations.

The Padmaraj committee submitted its report in March determining fee structure for engineering, medical, and dental colleges. The state government initially refused to reveal the contents of the report, and this drove colleges to demand making the report public and rejecting the government’s proposal.

After filing a petition, the High Court on Wednesday asked the state government to reveal the contents of the fee report to private colleges. However, the contents of the report turned out to be a surprise for colleges and they decided to accept the state government’s proposals.

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