Ritu Tripathi|Sep 21, 2021
Without government aid, Asia’s first polytechnic for women turns private
The TS POLYCET 2021 bulletin left Kamala Nehru Polytechnic for Women (KNPW) Hyderabad out. Students and alumni have been protesting for over a month.
NEW DELHI: Even after a month-long protest, students of Kamala Nehru Polytechnic for Women, Hyderabad, have achieved only partial success as admissions to four technical diploma courses out of the original seven have been reopened for this academic year. The courses, however, will be run in a self-financing mode which represents a departure from original practice at Asia’s first polytechnic for women.
The KNPW has taught generations of women from marginalised backgrounds. A survey conducted by students shows that 92% of the college’s students have been from the historically-marginalised Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes, and more than half of its students are from outside Hyderabad. They argue that turning the courses private will make the fees prohibitively high for most students.
The courses that have survived the cull and will now be self-financed include diploma in commercial and computer practice, civil engineering, computer science and electrical power system (electronics and communication engineering).
Over 600 women, current and former students of the institution, have been protesting for over a month against the closing down of government-aided technical courses at their institution. Students allege the institution’s administration has planned to convert it to a private diploma college citing lack of funds as an “excuse”.
TS POLYCET 2021: College missing
Earlier in the Polytechnic Common Entrance Test, or POLYCET-2021, information booklet, KNPW was excluded from the list of polytechnic institutions. Official notice by the Commissioner of Technical Education (CTE), Hyderabad says that the admissions will be allowed this year.
“The POLYCET admissions committee has resolved to make admissions for the diploma courses at Kamala Nehru Polytechnic for Women, Hyderabad, for the AY 2021-22 and the further action will be taken after receiving necessary orders from the Government treating them as ‘self-finance’ courses,” said the official order. KNPW will offer a total of 230 seats for which the admission counselling will be held from August 5.
The Exhibition Society, which runs the institution, had applied to the State Board of Technical Education and Training (SBTET) to convert its government-aided courses into self-financing citing financial crunch in July. The four courses to be discontinued include garment technology, hotel management and catering technology, pharmacy, and architectural assistantship.
|Name of the Diploma Course||Intake approved|
|Commercial and Computer Practice||60|
|Electrical Power System ( Electronics and Communication Engineering)||60|
In September last year, the institutions decided to convert the aided courses into self-financed courses as the institute did not receive the recurring grant-in aid from Telangana Government. Out of 56 teaching posts, 44 are lying vacant without the budgetary support of the government. The society had written to CTE in July asking for continuing the service of contractual teachers.
Currently, the All India Council for Technical Education, the regulatory body of technical education, does not have guidelines for conversion of diploma courses from government-aided to self-financing mode. AICTE can only grant approval to the course after scrutiny of pre-requisite standards.
The assistant director, CTE, D. Venkateshwarlu confirmed having received an upgrade request from the Exhibition Society but the AICTE did not give its approval.
“The management told us that there are not enough funds to run the courses and pay the contractual teachers employed. Without AICTE approval it is now planning to convert the college into a private diploma college where they can charge high fees from students,” said Swati Maniputri, an alumnus of the college.
According to Venkateshwarlu, without AICTE’s no objection certificate, the sponsoring society can still convert the courses. “I identify myself with the cause of students but we have our limitations in respect of private institutions,” Venkateshwarlu told Careers360.
With admissions starting from August 5, students are rallying against the privatisation of the college that provides affordable job-oriented courses to students from underprivileged and economically weaker sections after Class 10.
Maniputri along with other alumni have approached the state education minister, Sabita Indra Reddy to intervene in the matter and sanction Rs 5 crore for the college. However, no concrete decision has been taken so far. The students have also received support from the member of Legislative Assembly Seethakka Danasari who participated in a protest march organised by students on Sunday. “After the protest, the secretary of the Exhibition Society has assured us that they will apply to run all seven courses in government-aided mode but we are not sure if any steps will be taken,” said Maniputri.
The college, according to students, is the best technical institution that offers all facilities to students such as laboratories, playground, including hostel at affordable fees.
The latest All India Higher Education (AISHE) report suggests that students across Telangana prefer to study in a government institution over private ones. The enrollment of students in government saw an increase from 1,44,604 in 2015-2016 to 1,86,272 in 2019-20.
“This institution has been a pillar of empowerment for so many women who come from Dalits and Adivasi backgrounds who do not have the means to study in expensive colleges,” said Maniputri. “College management is conspiring to shut down the college by showing false calculations and false reasons. It sounds like there are strong political reasons and economic benefits behind this,” she alleged.
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