KOZHIKODE: The SC/ST students’ hopes of pursuing education in the various self-financing arts and science colleges have been dealt a major blow by the state government’s failure to reimburse the fee stipulated for these courses.
Consequently, the students, majority of whom belong to indigent families,are forced to cough up the entire fee as in the case of the others. And those unable to bear the economic burden have no option other than to opt out. In the case of Calicut University alone,where the number of self-financing arts and science colleges had shot up to 140 from a mere 10 in the last four years, there were few if any takers for SC/ST reserved seats, which had witnessed a corresponding increase.
Incidentally, the state government’s earlier order granting fee concession to the SC/ST students in the professional colleges in the self-financing stream, along with the government and aided colleges,did not specify the case of the arts and science colleges, which also charge comparatively huge fee for several of the courses offered by them.
“The semester fee for the biotechnology course comes to around Rs 18,000 for a student and for the BCom course, it is Rs 11,000. For an entire year, the course fee alone comes to nearly Rs 40,000. This will not be feasible for students hailing from economically backward families. I have talked to the managements of several self-financing arts and science colleges under Calicut University and found that the SC/ST students had not joined those colleges, especially in the last four years owing to the lack of an existing system for fee reimbursement,” said Calicut University Syndicate member P K Supran, who urged Vice-Chancellor Khader Mangad to probe the matter. The varsity, on its part, is looking into the issue to come up with appropriate remedial measures.
Self-financing College Teachers and Staff Association state joint secretary Abdul Azeez K confirmed that seats were indeed lying vacant both in the reserved and unreserved category. He added that the teachers, who receive a comparatively low salary here, view these institutions as a makeshift workplace before going in search of greener pastures.
It was also pointed out that the colleges were often forced to compromise on quality and that the students scouted around for institutions with a better brand recall. Principal of Blossom Arts and Science College, Kondotty, T P Ahemmed said that there was a decline in the number of students joining the college. “We will not charge the fee once the government brings in an amendment, extending the fee concession to the arts and science stream SC/ST students also. Their benefits are to be recorded at the respective SC/ST Offices at the district level. Already, the amount for their uplift is lying unutilised in the district offices and this could be effectively utilised if an amendment were to be brought in,” he added.