After June 2, Andhra Pradesh will be short of quality institutions

The formation of Telangana is likely to leave the successor State of Andhra Pradesh seriously short-changed in education. Not only does the new State have the location advantage for attracting the best institutes, Hyderabad, which will remain part of Telangana, already boasts some of the biggest names in the sector — the ISB (Indian School of Business), NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology), NALSAR (National Academy of Legal Studies and Research), BITS (Birla Institute of Techonology and Science) and ICFAI (Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India).

However, the bifurcation as such may not pose much problem in admissions with the jurisdiction of the state universities in both regions clearly demarcated and the processes put in place, ensuring that the division of academic institutions, work-force and seats will not be as acrimonious as of other departments.

The present norms will continue for the next 10 years, which is a long time for the rapidly changing education sector.

Among the 42 universities in the State, 34 are state-run with Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions having 10 each and the other 14 in Telangana. The remaining three Central Universities are located in Hyderabad but the admissions are governed by Central Government norms that give no scope for discrimination against students from the Seemandhra region. The situation will be similar in the five varsities that enjoy deemed varsity status.

Among the 750-odd private engineering colleges with a capacity of 3.6 lakh seats, 344 are in the Telangana region and 366 in the Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. The present policy of 85:15 (local-non local) ratio will continue. “The Seemandhra region too boasts several quality institutions,” says P. Rajeshwar Reddy, Founder General Secretary, Consortium of Private Engineering Colleges Managements Association of A.P. (CECMA).

Also, the Seemandhra region has the advantage in medical education. Among the 42 medical colleges with 6,200 seats, 21 are in the successor Andhra Pradesh and among them eight are in the government sector. Telangana has only four government colleges and more private medical colleges. The huge difference in the fee structure between government and private colleges puts Telangana at a disadvantage.

The reorganisation Bill has promised the successor State several national-level educational institutions but academics are sceptical of these assurances as they need huge investments. Even prominent cities like Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada or Tirupati will have a long wait for these institutions to be put in place.

“Even if money is pumped in, it will take more than a decade for them to acquire the status of similar institutions in Telangana,” says former JNTUK Vice-Chancellor, Allam Appa Rao.

Academics point out that promises of an IIM and a world-class university promised for Visakhapatnam in 2008 by Mr. Manmohan Singh have remained just dreams.