The self-financing professional colleges in the State are drawing flak for imposing tough curbs on excursions, forcing students to often flout the restrictions.

The stance taken by some managements that they will not give permission for leisure trips has come under scrutiny following the ill-fated trip to Munnar that claimed the lives of seven final-year Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering students of the Sarabhai Institute of Science and Technology on Monday.

Noted psychiatrist C. J. John said managements were depriving students of well-rounded campus life. The new generation educational institutions were imposing discipline on students on a scale larger than in schools. “They collect fine from students for not wearing uniform. Frequent text messages are forwarded to parents on the academic and other aspects of students. There exists an irritating kind of supervision. I have come across students who used to say that schools were better compared to their colleges,” he said.

Reacting to the managements’ view that the youngsters become adventurous and were vulnerable to get in to a lot of malpractices especially during excursions, Dr. John said that often managements insist on discipline to the point of stupidity without realising that there were certain kinds of freedom that the youth should enjoy.

“Students should cultivate an internal discipline among themselves but to deny them an opportunity to travel in the name of indiscipline cannot be accepted, ” he said.

K.P.P. Pillai, an expert in engineering education and former executive secretary of the Indian Society for Technical Education (ISTE), said it was still easy to make the students understand the need to ensure discipline while on excursions. “They should be given opportunities to undertake such programmes but after ensuring safety guidelines. Educational tour is part of the curriculum and the presence of teachers could be assured if these excursions get the nod from managements,” he said.

Prof. Pillai said educational institution and parents should take care to ensure the services of trained drivers.

T.A. Vijayan, general secretary of the Kerala Self-financing Engineering College Managements Association, said permissions were not given for excursions but only for industrial visits. However, he admitted that such visits are often combined as tour to various destinations.

P. S. Sreejith, Principal of School of Engineering at Cochin University of Science and Technology, said teachers were reluctant to join such tours as parents will blame them if something goes wrong in a journey.

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