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Mohit Dhyani|Jun 27, 2022
NEW DELHI: To stop the commercialisation of technical education in India, a committee constituted by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has proposed a cap on the maximum fee an institute can charge.
The committee, led by the former Supreme Court judge Justice Srikrishna has proposed that in the case of undergraduate engineering programmes, the annual minimum fee cannot be below Rs 79,600 while the maximum has been capped at Rs 1.89 lakh. For a two-year postgraduate programme in engineering, the committee has proposed a minimum limit of Rs 1.41 lakh and an upper limit of Rs 3.04 lakh per annum.
The limit has been revised from its previous report submitted in 2015, which recommended the maximum fee for UG four-year engineering courses be fixed at Rs 1.44 lakh to Rs 1.58 lakh per year. The committee had recommended an upper limit but the minimum fees did not exist, until now. The report was put for comments from states including their concerns and the response of a sub-committee.
Apart from tuition fees, the committee said institutions can charge development fees limited to 15 percent of the tuition fees. This development charge “should take care of the expansion of the system and development of education as also the non-recurring expenditure towards major repairs and replacement of laboratory equipment, furniture etc,” the report stated.
These proposed guidelines, however, do not apply to institutions like the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) that do not require AICTE approval. If approved by the ministry of education and the states, the fee structure will be applicable to all AICTE-approved technical institutes.
For a two-year MBA or a postgraduate diploma in management (PGDM), the committee has proposed a lower limit of Rs 85,000 and the institutions cannot charge more than Rs 1,95,200.
A postgraduate degree in engineering (MTech) should have a minimum fee of Rs 1.41 lakh, the committee suggests, and not more than Rs 3.04 lakh as the maximum fee. For PG degree courses in planning, applied arts and crafts, and design the committee has suggested a minimum fee of approximately Rs 2 lakh.
The committee has set the minimum fee for a three-year diploma course in engineering at Rs 67,900 while the upper cap is Rs 1.40 lakh. Educational institutions cannot charge below Rs 82,500 for a diploma in design and cannot charge more than Rs 1.61 lakh.
As per the committee’s recommendation, the upper limit for a diploma in hotel management and catering technology should not be below Rs 67,900 and not more than 1.47 lakh. Meanwhile, a UG degree in the same course should between Rs 81,300 and Rs 1.91 lakh.
The highest minimum fee has been set for a two-year PG course in planning, applied arts and craft and design with Rs 2.1 lakh, Rs 2.20 lakh and Rs 2.63 lakh per year respectively.
An institution can charge not more than Rs 2,000 under miscellaneous head like medical, placements, counsellor and other such services, the report states.
The report also includes concerns and observations from 11 states including Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujrat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.
One of the concerns raised by states was that many technical institutes charged a fee below the minimum threshold by the national fee committee. Responding to this, the report said: “The minimum fees thus provide for the compensation for the minimum expenditure that an institute will have to make to maintain a minimum level of infrastructure and human resources. It is expected that the human resources are also paid salaries at least at the minimum level of scales.”
The report further states that institutes which have accreditation “can charge a maximum of 25% additional tuition fees than prescribed maximum fee for the undergraduate degree program in engineering and technology and a maximum of 10 percent additional tuition fees than prescribed maximum fees for other programmes".
Considering the “paying capacity of students” the report urges state governments and the institutes to arrange for scholarships from other sources like industries and trusts, government subsidies, easy educational loans from financial institutes etc. for the students.
While there are scholarships in place for students belonging to historically-marginalised Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities, the report observes that there are delays in the release of funds to institutes.
The committee recommends that mechanisms should be put in place by the respective state governments to pay the institutes after verification within three months of the claims submitted. It further suggests if there is a delay in reimbursement of fees from the state governments beyond one academic year, institutes should be allowed to borrow funds for meeting the expenses, especially payment of salaries.
The committee also recommends that fees apply to all students in a class shall be the same and no differential fee structure be allowed except for foreign nationals and non-resident Indians (NRI).
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