Set up more govt colleges in Thoothukudi to prevent youth from getting into criminal acts: Activists

Students, especially girls, find it difficult to pursue higher education, and have to compromise due to lack of colleges, activist Michael Anto Jeenious added.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only(Express Illustrations)

THOOTHUKUDI: With many students, who have completed Class 12, finding it tough to get seats at private colleges, the call to establish government colleges, especially women’s colleges, in Thoothukudi Town has grown in intensity.

Meanwhile, activists said that at least two government colleges and a law college are required so that students can study, and get distracted by vices and nefarious activities.

It may be noted that over 18,500 students appeared for the Class 12 exams. The average pass percentage was 95. Many students are also opting for arts and science colleges, which are in high demand currently.

According to a RTI reply, Thoothukudi district has 28 arts and science colleges, including three government arts and science colleges at Kovilpatti, Sathankulam and Vilathikulam each. There are nine government-aided colleges, and 16 private colleges, offering arts and science courses.

There are nine arts and science colleges in Thoothukudi district’s headquarters, of which five are private, the RTI revealed. There is no college in Ottapidaram and Eral taluk and no government colleges in the assembly constituencies of Thoothukudi, Ottapidaram, Srivaikuntam and Tiruchendur.

“Hundreds of students from Ottapidaram and its surrounding areas come to the colleges in Thoothukudi,” said Prabakar, an activist.

Michael Anto Jeenious, the activist who filed the RTI, said students fall prey to addiction due to a lack of education. Many are also unable to pursue higher education owing to the high fees at private colleges.

“Despite filing petitions, the district administration has not sought permission to construct arts and science colleges,” he said, adding, “It is pertinent to note that political leaders owning private and aided colleges in the city are obstructing the setting up of new government arts and science colleges.”

Students, especially girls, find it difficult to pursue higher education, and have to compromise due to lack of colleges, Jeenious added.

With no avenues for higher education, the youth opt to work at textile showrooms, supermarkets, bakeries and other private entities for a meagre `6,000/month, said sources.

“Parents who do not wish to send their girl children to far-off places send them to work. This has only benefited local businesses as they now have access to cheap labour,” said Prabakar.  “Thoothukudi is becoming a hotspot for crimes by juveniles, murders and drug peddling by those below the age of 20. It points to a situation where the youth are forced to provide for their families,” said RTI activist Murugan.

There is also a strong need for a government law college in Thoothukudi as students find it difficult to get seats at the Government Law College in Tirunelveli, Murugan stated.

SFI district secretary M Kishore Kumar, who was protesting against an aided arts college for hiking the fees, told TNIE that there is a strong need for a government college in Thoothukudi town, a vibrant industrial city.

Because of the absence of a government college, private and aided colleges are fleecing the students,” he said.  A senior police officer said that the establishment of government colleges may help students pursue higher education, eventually reducing unemployment and dropout rates, and reducing crime. 

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The New Indian Express