Managements of private engineering colleges have stuck to their demand to hike the fee for the academic year 2014–15 and have threatened not to sign the consensual agreement with the government if the demand is not met.

M.K. Panduranga Setty, secretary, Karnataka Unaided Private Engineering Colleges’ Association (KUPECA), said the member colleges had “unanimously” agreed to place the demand for a 30 per cent hike in fee.

The decision was taken at a meeting of KUPECA here on Tuesday, just days after a meeting with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday. During that meeting, there was a split among the association members on whether to agree to the consensual agreement.

Quits post

On Tuesday, the divide was out in the open with D. Hemachandra Sagar, president, KUPECA, quitting the post over differences. Mr. Sagar said, “We had a meeting for more than three hours. I tried to convince all the members to sign the consensual agreement, but I couldn’t succeed. The most important stakeholders are parents and students. You cannot arbitrarily increase the fees without consulting them or informing them at least six months in advance. As the government promised to implement the Karnataka Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Determination of Fee) Act, 2006 from next year, I thought we should comply with it this year and then consult parents and students before proposing a hike. I quit because I wanted to retain my honour. I did not want to do anything unjustifiable to the student community.”

The KUPECA will have another meeting with the government on Wednesday. Principal Secretary, Higher Education, Rajneesh Goel, said: “The association had earlier agreed to sign the agreement. We have to find out the reason for this U-turn.”

Medical Education Minister Sharanprakash R. Patil added: “The government is clear that there should not be an increase in fee. But as the association members decided to sign the agreement in a meeting with the Chief Minister, we will have to consult him before taking a decision.”