Home arrow Archives arrow Open Forum arrow Open Forum 2009 arrow Education Scam:GOVT FAILS TO CHECK CORRUPTION,by Dhurjati Mukherjee,12 June 2009
News and Features
INFA Digest
Parliament Spotlight
Journalism Awards
Education Scam:GOVT FAILS TO CHECK CORRUPTION,by Dhurjati Mukherjee,12 June 2009 Print E-mail

Open Forum

New Delhi, 12 June 2009

Education Scam


By Dhurjati Mukherjee

The recent scam of two colleges, Shree Balaji Medical College & Hospital and Sri Ramachandra University (SRU) demanding Rs 20 to Rs 40 lakh as capitation fee for admission has created a furore. No matter that taking capitation fee is an open secret. The price for a post-graduate seat in most private medical colleges across the country is around Rs 2 crores. In fact, most institutions demand extra fees either directly or through their agents, and in some cases the capitation fees are higher.

Such institutions normally enjoy the involvement/patronage of politicians or bureaucrats. In the present two cases too, a DMK Union Minister of State is involved. The clout that the SRU wields can be gauged from the fact that it has the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) President Ketan Desai and Vice- President Kesavankutty Nair on its board. Never mind, Desai was asked to step down from the President’s post in 2001 following corruption charges but was again re-elected.  

Recall, the Supreme Court had ordered an unambiguous ban on capitation fee in August 2003. The five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by the then Chief Justice V. N. Khare, ruled in the TMA Pai case that, “under no circumstances the educational institutions could charge capitation fee or indulge in profiteering”. But most institutions made a mockery of merit in education. Wherein once they became well known they turned into money-spinning rackets. Moreover, the rich were willing to pay capitation fee to ensure their wards admission in medical or engineering colleges.

According to the Delhi High Court, the MCI is a “den of corruption” and yet the Government has done nothing to clean it up and add moral force to the regulator. Ditto the case of the All India Council for Technical Institution (AICTE) where recognition for engineering courses has been accorded at random without proper infrastructure and faculty. Most of the known institutions charge capitation fees for back-door entry though the demand for engineering seats is less than that for medicine.

The Government’s negligence is obvious thanks to the involvement of society’s bigwigs and leaders in such institutions. Shockingly, the ‘deemed university’ status has been granted to unproven and questionable educational bodies. In the last five years alone the ‘deemed university’ status has been conferred on medical colleges’ nationwide, raising doubts among experts on the caliber of most of these institutions.

Incidentally, Tamil Nadu has the highest number of deemed universities followed by Karnataka and Maharashtra. Not only that. There are instances of educational institutions being conferred deemed university status even before the first batch of students have passed out. Clearly, smacking of bureaucratic recklessness and complicity at high places.

Think. If there was no capitation fee, no promoter’s quota in medical and engineering colleges and strict vigilance in these institutions, the question of doling out money to get mediocre students admitted would not arise. It is only because of loopholes in our law and the willingness of the Governmental machinery to see that the wealthy get preference in all matters that corruption in educational institutions persists.

Sadly, the meritorious and poor students suffer. Even if they get admission without paying any capitation fee, it is virtually impossible for most families belonging to the lower income groups to pay the fees and hostel charges in private medical or engineering colleges

Look at the irony. While the business community aided by the politicians and bureaucrats reap money by opening educational institutions and nursing homes, the poor, as usual, suffer. In spite of getting good results they cannot get themselves admitted to private specialized institutions. The few scholarships that are available barely cover 10 per cent of the deserving candidates.

Worse, both the Central and State Government’s are making no efforts to ensure better facilities for the deserving students Surprisingly, the Central Government does not give the Children’s Education Allowance of Rs 1000 per month (earlier a miniscule Rs 40 per month) until a child passes Class XII!  Indeed, strange.

Further, there is urgent need to set up Central Universities, IITs along with centres of higher learning to ensure that students from low income groups get the best quality education, both in Government institutions and private colleges. This is not to suggest that the middle income group does not suffer. They suffer equal pain when their wards do not get grades to qualify for admission in Government institutions.

Compounding matters, private institutions ask for capitation fee. While in the case of engineering colleges it is monies paid ‘for qualifying’, in medical colleges even if a student qualifies he still has to pay ‘for admission.’

In the case of deemed University, which conduct their own examinations, only those who pay earlier qualify. The capitation fee ranges around Rs 10 to Rs 40 lakhs. A ‘sufferer’ of capitation fee had to pay Rs 8 lakhs extra for her daughter’s admission to a deemed University medical institution in Pondicherry even after ‘applying pull.’

In sum, the need of the hour is sincerity and vigilant action by honest politicians. Some institutions need to be immediately blacklisted to set an example for others and check their nefarious activities. Simultaneously, each institution should reduce its fees by 40-50 per cent for students belonging to the lower income groups, having an income below Rs 120,000-Rs 150,000 per annum. The earlier the Government acts the better. ----- INFA

 (Copyright, India News & Feature Alliance)

< Previous   Next >
  Mambo powered by Best-IT