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Is fee reimbursement a boon or bane?

Is fee reimbursement a boon or bane?
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Though the fee reimbursement scheme was thought to be a boon for both the students and engineering colleges in the initial days, with scholarships not being released on time and tuition fees of lakhs of students kept pending for years together, this scheme has now turned out to be a bane for the colleges and students alike in Telangana. 

Mahabubnagar: Though the fee reimbursement scheme was thought to be a boon for both the students and engineering colleges in the initial days, with scholarships not being released on time and tuition fees of lakhs of students kept pending for years together, this scheme has now turned out to be a bane for the colleges and students alike in Telangana.

With the Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) tightening the noose against all the defaulting engineering colleges for not abiding by the quality norms, the majority of the engineering colleges in Telangana had to close down their campuses. In Mahbubnagar, there were about 11 engineering colleges of which only two have withstood the fluctuation.

“Initially, the fee reimbursement scheme was initiated by the then late Chief Minister Y S Rajashekarha Reddy to support the higher education of weaker section students. But unfortunately, the majority of engineering college managements took advantage of it and started a number of colleges.

In the process, they had staked the quality and failed to provide proper faculty, facilities and future scope for the students. Because of lack of quality, the State government had rejected permission to more than 174 engineering colleges. At present only 140 colleges that withstood the tough testing time and have proved their caliber and we are one of them,” said K S Ravi Kumar, the chairman of Jayaprakash Narayana Engineering Colleges, Mahbubnagar.

After the formation of Telangana, the State government has focused on the quality of engineering education and directed the JNTU to ensure that all the affiliated colleges abide by the quality norms set by the University and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). Out of 315 engineering colleges, the JNTU has rejected affiliations to more than 170 colleges.

And a few colleges have also closed themselves voluntarily as the supply exceeds the demand. Earlier in 1997, there were only 36 colleges in all the 23 district of AP and Telangana. But eventually, more than 700 colleges have come up because of excess supply. The fee reimbursement scheme which was aimed at supporting the poor students had also played a spoilsport as some management took advantage of this scheme and minted money.

“Earlier the parents and students use to feel the pain of paying fees. In some instances, the parents use to sell their ornaments and even sold lands for investing in their children’s education. Because of this pain, the students had the innate will to work hard and to excel,” opined the chairman.

Though it was delayed measure, the move of JNTU to tighten the noose against the engineering colleges is yielding good results as only the quality ones are remaining while the rest are being rejected. However, the engineering colleges are now asking the government to release the pending dues under the fee reimbursement as lakhs of students have not got their tuition fees since past 2-3 years.

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