CET new norms: Big colleges hopeful, smaller ones wary

Wide rifts among private colleges came to the fore at a meeting called here on Monday to discuss the fees and regulations for admission to undergraduate professional courses for the next academic year. 

The cause of dispute was compliance with the Karnataka Professional Educational Institutions’ Act, 2006. While popular medical and engineering colleges demanded “fairness” in fee structure, saying they should have the freedom to charge students as per the infrastructure they provide, the smaller and lesser-known institutions feared they would struggle to fill seats if the Act was implemented from the academic year 2014-15.
 Some college managements asked the officials to allow them to conduct the CET and the Comed-K test as they would be able to fill a certain percentage of seats if the government quota was retained. Others even questioned why a 2006 Act was being implemented in 2014. They argued that the Act should be amended to suit the present-day requirements. 

The meeting was convened by two retired judges of the High Court, who chair the Admission Overseeing Committee and the Fee Regulation Committee respectively. Officials of the Higher Education Department were also present. 

Representatives of Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopathy college managements also sought to be included in the admission and fee regulation committees so that they were part of decision making. 

Ashok B, the representative of one of Ayurveda colleges’ associations, said that several institutions had been unable to fill seats for the last seven years. “There is no competition. Only the first round of seats are being filled in many colleges. There are far more seats but fewer candidates,” he said. 

From now on, neither minority colleges nor deemed universities can conduct their own entrance tests as the Act leaves no scope for multiple entrance tests by private colleges. 

Amid this, colleges from the Hyderabad-Karnataka region sought a separate reservation policy. The officials asked the managements to submit their feedback so that an informed decision could be taken. 

Justice V Jagannathan, who chairs the Admission Overseeing Committee, asserted that merit was the only criterion for the entrance test. 

“Transparency, merit and being non-exploitative will guide entrance test,” he said.

 Colleges requested the retired judges to go by the “principles of natural justice” while regulating the fees and the admissions. Justice Ajit Gunjal, chairperson of the fee regulation committee, said: “Nobody should be apprehensive. We will give you a patient hearing and visit institutions to check for infrastructure, if necessary.” The judges and the government officials reassured the managements that no decision would be taken without their consent and without hearing the aggrieved parties (read private colleges).
 In New Delhi, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said that he would seek a report on the issue from the officials concerned. 
No more BE seats in govt colleges 

There are no plans to increase BE seats in government colleges, to compensate for the higher fees in private colleges and the fewer seats that would be available when the Act is enforced in the next academic year. Higher Education Secretary Rajneesh Goel said it was up to the government to decide on increasing the seats. But seeking the approval from the authorities concerned would take at least a year. So just about 3,000 government seats would be available, he added. 

15 pc seats for NRIs
As much as 15 per cent of seats will be reserved for NRI students. Vacant NRI seats will go to the general merit category. The NRI students will not have to write the entrance test. 

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