The Information Technology sector in India is currently estimated at USD 155 billion; however, IT education remains one of the costliest and ambiguous streams for students. Will a uniform fee structure in tech institutes provide a more balanced education system in India?
In an attempt to draw the attention of the government, in terms of having a uniform fee structure, common entrance test and a balanced staff-student ratio, a body of self-financed technical institutions has raised a petition. The chief patron of the All India Federation of Self-Financing Technical Institutions (AIFSFTI), RS Munirathinam has urged for a bill that implements a uniform fee structure as recommended by the Srikrishna Committee to provide quality education.
“With the Prime Minister aiming to make India a superpower, it is high time we shifted our focus to the educational institutes. The high fees and the tax burden should not fall on the students and institutes,” said Munirathinam to Press Trust of India. “We urge the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Centre to ensure a 1:25 teacher-students ratio as recommended by the MK Kauv Committee. The ratio is currently 1:15. They should also ask all the universities – deemed, private and state – to follow the AICTE guidelines of 2010,” he added.
A national committee, headed by former Supreme Court Judge, BN Srikrishna, has clearly instructed the private educational institutions, business schools and engineering colleges operating with AICTE approval to lower their fees. In 2014, a committee was formed to address the issue of educational fee disparity in technical institutions and the AICTE has made it mandatory to implement the proposals of the National Fee Committee.
In a mandate by the AICTE chairman, Anil D Sabasrabudhe, last year, all states and the institutes falling under the states will face legal proceedings and cancellation of its AICTE approval and such institutions may even be forced to shut down.
The federation consisting of 10,000 colleges across the country has also filed a request to launch new banking services exclusively for students and educational institutes. The President of AIFSFTI said, “We also urge the Finance Minister to reduce the interest rate below 10 pc and restructure the bank loans obtained by the educational institutions for infrastructure development in view of their inability to repay them due to poor admissions.”
While Symbiosis Institute of Business Management charges INR 580,000 per year for a two-year MBA programme, the Manipal Institute of Technology has an annual fee of around INR 300,000 for a four-year engineering course. The lack of parity is evident, but, was beyond the scope of a uniform control. These popular private institutes will now have to follow a fee cap as the AICTE moves to prevent commercialisation of technical education in the country.
In India, education and health care remain the two most lucrative business models that have often been argued for their unscrupulous means. A regime under which the technical institutes are forced to put a cap on their fee looks abstract as of now, but, holds much meat for the gradually sluggish IT sector in India.