CMO halts move to hike fee under scholarship plan

Rajmeet Singh

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 9

A fee hike by Punjab’s Higher Education Department under the Scheduled Caste (SC) Post-Matric Scholarship Scheme for different self-financed courses has been halted by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) after it was found contradictory to previous instructions on the capping of charges.

Increasing the fee under the self-financed courses would have meant an extra financial burden on the state exchequer, as the charges of the SC students are reimbursed by the government. “Instead of fixing the fee on the basis of the affiliating university, an amount with maximum capping has been fixed. This needs to be reviewed,” said a senior government functionary.

In the past, the Private Universities and Joint Association of Colleges has been quoting the fee structure of government and professional universities to seek the revision of amount for self-financed courses. In 2016, the state government had brought the fee of government and private institutions on a par.

Officials said the fee of self-financed courses revised by the Higher Education Department for 2016-2017, 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 had brought out the variation in the amount charged by different universities.

The Higher Education Department has proposed Rs 64,680 as the revised fee for two-year BEd course in a university against the previous amount of Rs 16,000. For Elementary Teacher Training (ETT), the fee had been fixed at Rs 44,000 against earlier Rs 8,725. In case of universities offering BSc (Agriculture)-cum-MBA, the fee has been proposed at Rs 1,79,465 and for BSc (Honours) courses at Rs 1,08,993.

Sources said after a series of meetings chaired by senior functionaries in the CMO, a committee of the Secretaries of Higher Education, Technical Education and Finance had been constituted to take a relook at the entire issue and come out with a uniform fee structure.

In case of educational institutions affiliated with the Technical Education Department, the tuition fee of Rs 60,000 had been fixed for degree courses in engineering, architecture, pharmacy and hotel management.

Anshu Katria, co-chairman, Joint Association of Colleges, said they had taken up the issue of fee capping at a recent meeting with the group of ministers. “The colleges should be paid fee for respective self-financed courses being charged by the affiliating university concerned. How can a college teach BEd students for Rs 16,000 and ITI students for Rs 3,000 per annum?” he said.

CMO halts move to hike fee under scholarship plan