DINDIGUL: S Nithila* graduated from Mother Teresa Women's University in Kodaikanal in 2008 and received her UG degree certificate in 2009. She, however, lost her certificate two years back and had applied for a duplicate one with the Office of Controller of Examinations.
To her shock, she was told to pay Rs 2,000 as search fee for each year, while only Rs 2,000 was required for obtaining a duplicate certificate, as per the university website. The university also charged Rs 1,500 extra for search fee (website fee shows Rs 500), she alleged. Translating the search fee for twelve years since her course completion, it sums up to a total of Rs 24,000 till this year. Alarmed at the exorbitant amount, she has sought the intervention of Chief Minister MK Stalin and Minister for Higher Education K Ponmudy in the issue.
Many students like Nithila who have lost their certificates are in a fix.
Speaking to TNIE, Mithila said, "I lost my degree certificate two years ago while travelling in a bus. I applied for a duplicate one. Though the university website shows the fee as Rs 2,000 for obtaining a duplicate certificate, the staff at the controller of examination asked me to pay a search fee of Rs 2,000 per year, which translates to Rs 24,000. The amount is huge and beyond my capacity to pay."
Nithila, who is a housewife, has written the PG-TRB examination and is awaiting results. "I hope to get good marks and get posted as a government school teacher. All institutions ask for a degree certificate for verification and I want it at the earliest. I don't want to ask my husband for money to get my duplicate certificate," she added.
From the university website, TNIE learnt that Rs 500 is collected as search fee (but there was no mention of the date in which it was enforced or clarification on what category of certificates can be obtained for the fee) and Rs 2,000 is charged for getting duplicate degree certificates.
Replying to the queries, Mother Teresa Women's University Controller of Examinations(i/c) A Usha Raja Nanthini told TNIE that the varsity would place the agenda to the syndicate to review the search fees and it would take more than ten days.
When contacted, Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU) Controller of Examinations(i/c) M Dharmaraj said the MKU collects search fees of Rs 250 from the applicant only after she/he applies for a degree certificate after three years of course completion. For a duplicate certificate Rs 2,000 is collected.
Speaking to TNIE, General Secretary of Madurai Kamaraj, Manonmaniam Sundaranar, Mother Teresa and Alagappa University Teachers Association (MUTA) M Nagarajan said, "Collecting Rs 2,000 as search fees per year is like a daylight robbery and a shame on the state-run university."
He said there is a uniform fee structure in Government Arts and Science College in the State, but variations in State-run University. "It will never bring social justice. The fee structure should be uniform. The Tamil Nadu government should hand over the fee fixation decision to the Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education (TANSCHE) after consultation with the stakeholders including students, teachers, representatives of teachers and students etc.," he suggested.