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Students and parents representatives have strongly opposed any move by the fee regulatory authority to extend a performance-linked incentive like 1% hike in the tuition fees for colleges with students who excel in tech fests or secure patents. At an open hearing before the Shikshan Shulka Samiti (fee regulatory authority) on the new fee policy for academic year (AY) 2012-13, these representatives maintained that there was no need to grant such an incentive as it was expected from the colleges to see that their students excel at various levels. The hearing for higher and technical education (H & TE) institutions, which cover engineering, management, architecture, pharmacy and other professional courses, was held in Mumbai on Tuesday, 6th Feb 2012.
Chairman of the fee panel, justice (retd) P.S. Patankar, presided over the session. The fee panel is already extending an additional increase of 3% in the tuition fees for colleges which have at least half of their academic courses assessed and accredited by professional rating bodies like the National Board of Accreditation (NBA). Similarly, there is a 5% additional increase in fees for colleges with all their courses accredited by the NBA. Milind Wagh of the Forum Against Commercialisation of Education (FACE) said, A suggestion was made at the hearing that the role of colleges in preparing students, who excel by way of securing patents for their research projects or bring laurels at tech fests, need to be acknowledged by granting a 1% additional increase in fees.Wagh said the suggestion drew strong opposition from parents on the grounds that the same was not in their interest besides; it was the role of the colleges to ensure that their students excel. The Supreme Court has mandated the fee fixation panel to finalise the fees for professional institutions on the basis of cost of education incurred by the institutions. The fee is primarily derived from the overall cost incurred by the college divided by the number of students. A slew of issues ranging from the need to consider actual or sanctioned strength of students for calculation of fees to consideration for depreciation and interest on loans, interim hike and timely scrutiny of fee proposals were discussed at the hearing.P.E. Gaikwad, office secretary to the fee panel, told TOI, The parents, students as well as representatives of colleges have been asked to furnish their written suggestions on these issues to the panel within the next eight to 10 days. The same will be taken up at the panel’s next meeting for finalisation of the fee norms. Members of the fee panel have said that the colleges, which extend a part of their building premises for other commercial use, should set off the income generated from the same against the cost of education. Representatives of institutions pointed out difficulties in securing timely reimbursement of fees by the state government for admissions to the socially and economically backward students.Similarly, they submitted that the depreciation on books, computers and machinery, among others, needs to be applied on the basis of norms preferred by the income tax department. The fee panel also needs to consider interest on loans charged by banks as cost of education, they said. Students and parents representatives opposed these suggestions while maintaining that the fee fixation norms ought to be finalised keeping the students interest as the top priority. They also suggested that the colleges post the full text of their fee proposals, submitted to the samiti, on their websites. Panel members Rupa Shah, A.S. Bhat, chartered accountant Lopesh Vasava and representatives of prominent institutions from Pune, Mumbai, Nashik and other places were present.
Courtesy: Times of India
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