VTU collects Rs 12 cr for e-learning, but spends it elsewhere

VTU collects Rs 12 cr for e-learning, but spends it elsewhere

Only a few lakhs spent for the purpose

VTU collects Rs 12 cr for e-learning, but spends it elsewhere

The Visvesvaraya Technological University (VTU) collects Rs 12 crore from students towards e-learning every year, but the annual reports of the university show that only Rs 26 lakh and Rs 11 lakh were spent on e-learning in 2012-13 and 2013-14, respectively.

Where is the rest of the money going? Documents with Deccan Herald show that only a bit of the money is spent on e-learning, while a good part seems to be spent on various other programmes. The goals for which the money is generated are not being met as per their annual reports.

The money is reportedly being spent on a platform that provides soft skills to both IT and non-IT students of VTU, procurement of Micro Electro Mechanical Systems software, Apple Bio-informatics lab, wireless lab, campus automation software and online examination and evaluation for PG programmes of the university.

“As per a resolution of the executive council of VTU, the university is collecting Rs 500 per year per student to offer courses through e-learning. But what the annual reports show is that the collected money is being spent on other courses. The money collected as fee, Rs 12 crore, is shown under different account heads as income from e-learning fees,” a senior academic who has been with VTU said.

The documents also show that the university already charges an additional Rs 500 per year as ‘e-resource consortium fee’ in addition to the Rs 500 as e-learning fee. This amounts to duplicity – charging additional money from students – when money is collected twice for the same objective of providing e-learning resources.

Yet another issue crops up for the university to clarify: the e-consortium fee is not incorporated in the fee notification sent to the Karnataka Examination Authority (Cell). The decision to collect the e-resource consortium fee was not informed to the KEA in advance for the year 2015-16. Why the decision was not conveyed is not clear. Authorities from the university state that they will inform the KEA about the consortium fee from 2016 admissions onwards.

The documents raise the question of whether the collected fees is being under-reported because the VTU authorities want to spend the money on other courses of their choice. In any case, not only is a fee being collected twice from students, it is being utilised for purposes that are different from the stated objective - e-learning.