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TN mulls withholding fee revision for engineering and polytechnic courses
The fees for engineering and polytechnic courses in self-finance institutions are due for a revision this year, but the State government is mulling not to increase it immediately considering the crippling financial loss incurred by many households due to COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown.
The Higher Education Department had constituted a Fee Fixation Committee headed by a retired judge and comprising authorities and academicians, to revise fees once in three years. As per this arrangement, the new fee structure for the next three years was to be fixed this year and the Directorate of Technical Education (DoTE) had invited proposals from all private colleges in this regard.
Though most of the 500-odd engineering colleges and more than 400 self-financing polytechnic institutions sent their proposals by June, the committee is yet to fix the new fee structure due to the pandemic situation.
A senior DoTE official told DT Next that the committee could not convene meetings to discuss revision of fees due to the lockdown. “Many managements of both engineering and polytechnic colleges have sent their consent to hike fees between 15 and 30 per cent as per the guidelines issued by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE),” he said.
“However, due to the lockdown, many parents have faced pay cuts and even lost their jobs. The parents who are into business, too, incurred huge losses. Therefore, the government is carefully considering the option of not hiking fees for 2020-21 academic year. An official announcement in this regard would be issued soon,” said the official.
The government has received several requests against fee hike for technical courses this year, the official said, pointing out that the University Grants Commission (UGC) has already sent a circular to the institutions to reduce their administrative expenses, including curtailing creation of new posts.
S Lakshmanan, a senior administrative staff of an engineering college situated in the suburbs said increasing fee was essential because the institutions are fully dependent on it to pay salaries for teaching and non-teaching staff. According to him, technical colleges would have to fill minimum 75 per cent seats to achieve breakeven. “But more than 50 per cent of the colleges are not able to fill even 70 per cent of the capacity,” he said.
The fees should be restructured for both accredited and non-accredited courses, and there should be a proportionate increase in staff salary and improvement in infrastructure.