Girl students in government-aided degree colleges are major gainers from the 2014-15 State Budget. With the aim of increasing the enrolment of girl students in higher education, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced a waiver of tuition and laboratory fees for all girl students enrolled in any of the 317 aided colleges in the State in the academic year 2014-15, and even those in the second and third-year degree courses.

B.L. Bhagyalakshmi, Director, Department of Collegiate Education, explained that the tuition and laboratory fee together in aided colleges would amount to Rs. 1,200 approximately per student. While students will have to pay the ‘college fee’ for cultural and sports activities, colleges will not collect the tuition and lab fees from any girl student. Mr. Siddaramaiah said the government will directly reimburse the amount to aided colleges.

The budget also proposes upgrading 30 government science colleges as ‘model science colleges’ in a phased manner at a cost of Rs. 2 crore each. “There has been a lot of concern from academics and the government about the preference for other courses over science courses. Colleges that are well established or have scope for growth will be chosen and physical and human infrastructure, state-of-the-art libraries and labs, opportunities for new courses and research will be provided to them,” Ms. Bhagyalakshmi explained.

The Budget also proposes to set up a Karnataka Science and Innovation Foundation to encourage research, new concepts and path breaking technologies in all universities and colleges involved in teaching science and technology at a cost of Rs. 1 crore.

Two Advanced Research Centres in Bangalore (with funds from Visvesvaraya Technological University) and at Udupi (under Mangalore University) will be set up using funds from the Rashtriya Uchchatara Shikshana Abhiyana (RUSA). Under RUSA, 50 scientists and 50 teachers in 50 subjects will be recruited initially under the ‘Welcome Home’ scheme for eminent research scholars and teachers of Indian origin in foreign countries.

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