Aided colleges wary of policy of Kerala on unaided programmes

3 months ago 24

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‘There is no level playing field, as aided colleges are preferred just for the name’

Managements of government-aided arts and science colleges are understood to be apprehensive of the impact that the policy of neighbouring Kerala will have on Tamil Nadu on the issue of government-aided colleges offering unaided programmes.

At the start of this academic year, the Kerala government had informed the Supreme Court of its decision not to sanction new self-financing courses in aided colleges.

On their part, managements of self-financing colleges in Tamil Nadu also share the contention of Kerala Arts and Science Unaided College Management Association that they are at a disadvantage when compared to the aided colleges that offer unaided programmes by utilising the infrastructure meant for aided programmes. The reasoning is that the aided colleges receive substantial aid from the University Grants Commission and the State governments.

‘Reality is otherwise’

“There is no level playing field. There is a general tendency on the part of students to prefer unaided programmes in aided colleges over those offered by unaided colleges, though the harsh reality is that the quality, both in terms of faculty qualification and delivery mechanism, is far better in unaided colleges,” a principal of an unaided college in the city said. The irony is that the students do not mind paying higher fee for the unaided programmes in aided colleges due to the advantage of brand name, despite the fact that the teachers in aided programmes have nothing to do with the course offered under self-financing stream, the college head said.

Only through better patronage can the unaided colleges, which also cater to the higher educational requirements of the economically backward sections of the society by levying reasonable fee, be in a position to strengthen infrastructure,” another Principal said.

Heads of the government colleges, on the other hand, opine that there is nothing wrong in optimising the utility of available infrastructure for improving the gross enrolment ratio of the State in higher education.

Citing this factor, the Kerala High Court had, during 2014, rejected the petition filed by the Kerala Arts and Science Unaided College Management Association seeking prevention of government-aided colleges from starting self-financing courses.

Thereafter, the association had moved the Supreme Court challenging the State’s policy of persisting with permitting aided colleges to run self-financing UG and PG degree courses utilising the infrastructure meant for aided courses. The Higher Education Department of the State had, nevertheless, clarified that the policy will not affect the continuation of the existing unaided programmes in such institutions.

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