NEW DELHI: The All Indian Council of Technical Education (AICTE) has warned engineering colleges and other technical institutions against forcing students to pay fees and non payment of salaries to staff during the lockdown due to COVID-19 and directed withdrawal of any terminations made during the period.
The warning comes following complaints to the HRD Ministry's technical education regulator about colleges insisting on fees, not paying salaries and terminating staff during lockdown.
"It has come to knowledge of AICTE, that certain stand alone institutions are insisting that students should pay the fees, including admission fees, during the lockdown.
It is clarified that colleges and institutions should not insist on payment of fees till the ongoing lockdown is lifted and normalcy is restored," AICTE, Member secretary, Rajiv Kumar said in an advisory to colleges.
"It has also been learnt that various institutions have not paid salary to their faculty and staff members, for the duration of the lockdown.
Also certain institutions have terminated the services of certain faculty and staff members.
It is clarified that salary and other dues to the staff will be released for the duration of lockdown and also terminations, if any, made during the lockdown will be withdrawn.
Hence, the same may be strictly complied with," he added.
The country is under a lockdown since March 24 to contain the spread of coronavirus.
However, colleges were closed and exams postponed at least ten days before the lockdown was announced.
The lockdown has now been extended till May 3.
"Online classes for the current semester will be continued during the extended lockdown.
A revised academic calendar will be issued by UGC subsequently.
The UGC has constituted a committee for recommending the modalities of conduct of examinations, award of marks and passing criteria in examinations and directions in this regard will be issued separately.
"Due to ongoing lockdown and restricted access to Internet, the activities pertaining to Prime Minister's Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) for the academic year 2020-21 have been delayed.
However, it is clarified that the scheme will be continued as in the past, once the lockdown is lifted.
A calendar of events, laying down fresh timelines will be published by AICTE in due course," Kumar said.
According to Union health Ministry, the death toll due to coronavirus rose to 414 and the number of cases to 12,380 in the country on Thursday.
While the number of active COVID-19 cases is 10,477, as many as 1,488 people have been cured and discharged and one had migrated, it said.
The total number of cases include 76 foreign nationals.
Twenty-two deaths were reported since Wednesday evening, the ministry said in its updated data.