CHENNAI: The Directorate of Technical Education (DOTE) has directed all engineering colleges as well as Anna University to release original certificates of SC/ST students, withheld due to the concession fee issue.
This decision comes in the backdrop of increasing complaints from SC/ST engineering students losing job offers and opportunities to get into top higher education institutes as their colleges refused to release their original course completion and transfer certificates even after completing their courses successfully.
According to the Government Order (G.O No.92), under the Post-Matric scholarship (PMS) scheme all SC, ST, converted SC Christians with an annual income of parents/guardian less than `2.5 lakh are exempted from payment of tuition fees.
The Central and State government together reimburse the institutions with all compulsory non-refundable fees and maintenance charges under this scheme.
According to an official document (a copy of which is with Express), out of the `1147.11 crore to be reimbursed, only `686.53 crore was sanctioned and distributed and the remaining `460.57 crore was needed to benefit the remaining 40,273 students.
As a result of this, colleges started forcing students to pay fee upfront during admissions and they would reimburse it once the government funds reached them. However, following opposition from local activists and educationists, the higher education department interfered and resolved the issue temporarily. At present, even after these students completed their courses, the amount to be reimbursed has not reached the colleges.
“So, the colleges have refused to release the students’ certificates until the students paid the concession fees, even if they wanted it urgently for higher education or job opportunities,” said M Nizamudeen, General Secretary, Consumer Federation Tamilnadu (CONFET), a Cuddalore-based NGO which filed a complaint against this with the DOTE.
Arjun (name changed), one of the affected students from Cuddalore said, “I completed my engineering from a self-financing college there last year and the officials made me and my father, an auto-driver from pillar to post to get my certificates. Though I got placed in a leading IT firm, they were not ready to take me on board as I was unable to submit the necessary documents (course completion certificate).”
Nizamudden added that the government should immediately reimburse this fund to end the sufferings of these students, most of them being first generation graduates. Referring to this complaint, Director of Technical Education, S Madumathi had sent a circular on January 18 to principals of all self-financing technical institutions (engineering and polytechnic colleges), the Controller of Examinations, Anna University and Department of Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare.