There will be no ceiling on fees for professional courses, chairperson of the Fee Fixation Committee Justice Ajit J Gunjal said on Monday.
He told reporters after a two-hour meeting with managements of professional colleges at Vikas Soudha that the primary factors for determining fees in professional colleges would be the location and infrastructure.
“Affordability will not be a criterion. However, colleges will have to justify their proposed fee structures. We will visit colleges to verify their infrastructure,” the former High Court judge said. He said a fee would be fixed in each college based on urban, semi-urban and rural locations. “We have a chartered accountant on the committee who will verify accounts of each college before arriving at a figure,” he said.
Section 6(4) of the Karnataka Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Determination of Fee) Act, 2006, says that the fee determined by the Fee Fixation Committee would be valid for three years (three batches).
“In that case, we will have to collect the same fee from a student who joins MBBS in 2016 till he finishes his course in 2021. We have to consider the increasing costs,” said Dr S Kumar, executive secretary, Consortium of Medical, Engineering and Dental Colleges of Karnataka (COMEDK).
“In our institutions, the average increase in expenditure in the last three years is 22 per cent. I need to know my per-student expenditure when he is in his second year,” said D Jawahar, CEO, PES Group of Institutions.
‘Only Two Tests’
Justice V Jagannathan, chairperson of the Admission Overseeing Committee, said that there was no provision for minorities, private universities and deemed institutions to have their own entrance tests.
There will be only two tests that would be held, he said. “You either make admissions through the state Common Entrance Test (CET) or come under one umbrella association to conduct one test,” he told college representatives.
When a representative from Karnataka Religious and Linguistic Minority Professional Colleges Association said their colleges had a different concept of admissions, Justice Jagannathan said: “There is only one concept in admissions, and that is merit.”
There were calls to allow private universities to exercise their academic freedom to conduct their own tests. “There is no point in granting autonomy and private university status if we cannot do things differently. PES is a university and we should be allowed to have our own method of admission,” Jawahar said.
Another representative pointed out that the CET is a state-level test, while the COMED-K was a national-level exam.
“The Act says that unfilled seats can be filled by merit students from the CET, which is just a state-level test. CET’s level of merit is different from COMED-K. It will help if non-Karnataka students are allowed to take the CET,” he argued.
There is little clarity on the supernumerary quota (SNQ) mandated by the All India Council for Technical Education.
Five per cent of seats in each engineering college and course are reserved for families with an annual income of less than `4.5 lakh.
“If 50 per cent of seats are for SC/ST/OBC and the remaining for general merit, where do we accommodate the SNQ?” asked one principal. Another provision for lateral (direct) entry into second year engineering for diploma students is unclear.
The state government has sought legal opinion on the reservations to be provided for Hyderabad-Karnataka candidates and its applicability in unaided professional colleges, said Rajneesh Goel.
‘Special Needs of AYUSH’
K Chandrashekhar, general secretary, Karnataka Private Homeopathy Medical Colleges, said their colleges had different requirements.
Ashok Kumar, chairperson of an Ayurvedic college, said the two committees needed to look at Ayush colleges separately. “This year 69 PG Ayurveda seats were vacant. Do we even need an entrance test?” he asked.