HYDERABAD: With the equal opportunities cell (EOC) going kaput this academic year, students preparing for competitive examinations in Osmania University are left in the lurch.
EOC was set up in 2012 to provide free coaching for the students appearing for competitive exams like Group I, Group II, railways, SI selections and banking jobs and to develop their English and communication skills. As coaching was free, EOC was an instant hit. EOC was set up with the specific aim of grooming students from underprivileged sections like SCs, STs, OBCs and minorities. Students are demanding that EOC be revived immediately.
More than 12,000 students had undergone coaching at EOC in the last two years. As most of the OU students hail from poor families, they cannot afford private coaching. “The minimum fee for getting Group II coaching is `15,000. For Group I, coaching centres charge around `50,000. With such huge fees, we cannot pursue our dreams of entering public services,” explained Sanjay, an MA student of Arts College.
EOC was an UGC-supported initiative, which granted `30 lakh during the 2012-13 academic year. When UGC delayed funds in 2013014, OU vice-chancellor chipped in and granted `17 lakh. With neither UGC nor OU granting funds, EOC became defunct this academic year. “There are about 12,000 students in OU. Along with students of autonomous colleges like Nizam and Secunderabad PG, the number is about 25,000. All these students are dependent on EOC for coaching. For instance, 76 panchayat secretary jobs, 68 VROs, 56 banking jobs, 23 child and women development officers (Group I), more than 30 SI posts, among others, were achieved by EOC students,” said P Vishnudev, director of EOC. “We are receiving a lot of queries about coaching classes from students. But we are helpless. We have brought the matter to the notice of the registrar,” said Vishnudev.
About 90-95 pc of the funds granted for EOC are used for paying subject matter experts who take coaching classes.
A good subject matter expert charges not less than `1,000 for a two-hour session. As a result, most of the funding goes towards paying subject experts. With no money in hand, EOC authorities are in no position to pay for subject experts.