Karnataka has the smallest quota of subsidised government seats in private engineering and medical colleges in a seven-state comparison by the Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA).
Unaided professional colleges in Karnataka give 45 per cent of their engineering and 40 per cent of medical seats to the government to be filled up through the Common Entrance Test (CET) conducted by KEA. This is very low compared to Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
In Tamil Nadu, the share of government quota seats in professional colleges is 80 per cent for both engineering and medical. Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat have 75 per cent of seats under the government quota, Madhya Pradesh has 60 per cent under its quota, Kerala has 50 per cent and Maharashtra has 65 per cent.
Karnataka’s fee structure for government quota seats is also on the higher side. Candidates who secure engineering seats through CET have to pay `36,090/41,590 and `46,000 for medical a year. In Andhra Pradesh, which has the highest number of engineering colleges, the fee under government quota ranges between `14,000 and `16,000. The fees for medical and engineering government seats in Gujarat is `6,000 and `1,500 a year, respectively.
Unlike Karnataka, where the fee is fixed through a consensual agreement with professional colleges, all these states have a state-appointed Fee Fixation Committee to determine fees. The method of allotment of seats in these states is through counselling by a state agency for government share of seats.
V P Niranjan Aradhya, a researcher with the National Law School of India University, blames the education lobby in Karnataka. “The education lobby is always the strongest, even in school education, as most of the institutions are run by politicians,” he said.
B V Ramesh Gowda, president, Technical Students Federation, said the ratio of government quota seats should increase to help meritorious students.
“If the share of government seats increases, more students will write the CET and not other tests. Also, they will have to pay lesser fees.”