Such is the state of affairs that even BIE is helpless due to the enormous power wielded by these college managements

Intermediate education is in the clutches of a few groups, and they are increasingly spreading their control over the delivery of education acquiring small players at will and opening new branches.

Such is the power of these groups that the Board of Intermediate Education (BIE) can do little, but overlook the blatant violations. If it is wilful ignorance sometimes, most times the BIE officials are helpless with the enormous power wielded by the college managements. The recent remarks of the High Court recently on the functioning of corporate colleges and the BIE’s inability to take stringent action have certainly brought focus back on the Intermediate education.

Records indicate that nearly 10 per cent of junior colleges in the State are managed by two groups -- Narayana and Sri Chaitanya, that have spread their stronghold cutting across districts and regions.

Narayana group has 267 colleges of which 33 were started this year and 10 were acquired, while the Sri Chaitanya group has 190 colleges, including 14 new colleges started this year and 20 acquired. A few other corporate groups together run about 100 colleges.

Number of colleges

Over all, around 5,600 junior colleges function in the State, including 820 in the government sector, 300 in the social welfare and residential welfare system and 178 colleges in the aided system. The remaining are small players in small towns.

Growing craze for ranks among parents and certain belief that only they can provide quality education coupled with aggressive marketing in the media has what helped these colleges prosper over the years. “With the best talent lured with attractive offers such as free education, free boarding and financial gifts to the toppers’ parents are easily attracted to join their wards. Now it has tuned into a social prestige to see their children only in these two colleges,” says P.Madhusudhan Reddy, general secretary of Government Junior Lecturers Association (GJLA).

Violations

The violations range from poor infrastructure in majority colleges, neglect of co-curricular activities and lack of play grounds and fire safety norms. Colleges also function in places other than they are permitted to do so. Norms say that each college should have 8,000 Sft built up space and fire safety certificate. But most colleges violate these crucial norms. Laboratories are mostly ignored with focus on coaching for the entrance examinations like EAMCET, AIEEE and IIT-JEE.

Illegal additional sections is another violation that is done deliberately as these colleges can easily afford the Rs. One lakh penal fee. In some cases students are under impression that they are students of a particular corporate college but on record they are admitted in an acquired college. They realise it only when the marks sheet is issued. But colleges convince parents that name doesn’t matter as it is they who run those colleges. Allegations of buying the rankers at competitive examinations like EAMCET and IIT-JEE are also on the rise, but the colleges smartly cover them up under the pretext of coaching.

Parental acceptance

In fact, it’s the absolute acceptance by parents that the corporate colleges are actually giving a go by the norms. Rarely there are complaints from parents, who want their children to be disciplined for two years, so that the academic benefits can be reaped in the professional colleges. Officials agree that some pressure can be bought on them only through parents, who should demand proper facilities. “Unfortunately, they are just focussed on marks and ranks,” officials say. Parents don’t even complain about the fee. The BIE has fixed the tuition fee of Rs. 1,453 for unaided colleges but fee structure ranges from Rs.20,000 to Rs.1 lakh depending on the college and the facilities extended such as AC classrooms and hostels. “Though the BIE fee is unreasonable collection of huge amounts is unethical,” says G. Narsimha, a teacher whose daughter studies in a corporate college. “We are more concerned about education than fee and its government’s responsibility to monitor,” he says.