HYDERABAD: Though admissions for degree colleges are still far, private degree colleges are wary that in the ensuing academic year the Telangana State Council of Higher Education (TSCHE) might drastically cut down seats. They are unhappy that TSCHE will take into account the leftover seats from last year’s admission instead of facilities in each college as criteria for seat reduction.
Under Degree Online Services Telangana (DOST) for the last couple of years since the online system has been in use, nearly half of the seats were lying vacant. Of the 1,050 degree college in the State, 800 colleges could manage to fill only a measly 20 per cent of their seats. There are around 4 lakh degree seats in degree colleges and a little over 2 lakh find takers.
“At least 500-600 college will definitely shut shops. TSCHE has given more than clear indications regarding this. This will particularly impact colleges in rural areas,” said G Nagaiah, president of Private Degree Degree Colleges Association. He added it is not even financially viable to run such institutions, leaving college the option of either merging with other colleges in the vicinity or closing down.
Laxma Reddy, chairman, Association for Strengthening of Private Initiative in Rural Education (ASPIRE) is of the view that if seat cut has to happen the criteria for it should not be previous year’s admission figures. “This is neither pragmatic nor logical. Instead of regulating colleges for infrastructure, faculty and facility, TSCHE is closing them doing on the basis of admissions. Why shut down colleges that have facilities? Let the colleges figure out how they plan earn their revenues,” he said and added that this is ‘an easy way out of the problem of improving quality’.
TSCHE’s decision to inspect all degree colleges affiliated to Osmania University is also being seen as an attempt to arm-twist private colleges. Private college managements have alleged that “the inspection is a farce since the varsity has not issued any clear set of guidelines that colleges need to follow or on what parameters they are looking at during inspection.”
While talks of closure and merger have been doing rounds for the past several years, college managements were sure of the government cracking its whip this time since in the Assembly election most college management associations has lent support to the Congres-led Mahakutumi. Weary of the government action on account of politicising of the issue, college managements were demanding that they should be allowed to fill in at least 10 per cent of the seats via management quota, if the TSCHE decides to go ahead with seat reduction. For the past three years colleges have been demanding this but each time TSCHE has turned down the proposal.
10% management quota in degree colleges
Speaking to Express TSCHE chairman Prof T Papi Reddy said that they are open to the idea of having 10 per cent management quota in degree colleges if college associations ask for it. He also refuted the allegation that the Council was trying to shut down colleges. “Our objective is not to shut down colleges but to improve the quality of educational institutions and education. Also, the affiliating colleges can at any time inspect affiliated colleges,” he added.