The Government and private professional colleges are never on the same wavelength when it comes to fixing the fee structure
The fee structure for professional courses in Karnataka has, for many years, been a contentious topic.Every year the State witnesses a tussle between the managements of private professional colleges and the Government on the issue. Till the Supreme Court came out with the judgment on the Islamia institution case and later in the P.A. Inamdar case, the fee structure for both Government and private colleges was fixed by the Government through the Common Entrance Test (CET) Cell. The first CET examination was conducted in 1984 and, since then, it has undergone several changes.It is only in the last few years that the managements of private professional institutions have begun to assert themselves. They have questioned not only the Government move to impose itself on them by means of bringing in legislations on the fee structure and admission matrix but have also been vociferous in contesting the various directions of the two committees appointed by the State Government.
The Government, some years ago, constituted two committees, headed by retired judges of the High Court, to look into the admission and fee structure as per the directions of the Supreme Court. These panels were reconstituted a month ago by the State Government after the Karnataka Education Act was passed. While one panel was to oversee admissions to private professional colleges, the other was empowered to fix the fee structure for the colleges — medical, dental, engineering, Indian system of medicine and other professional courses. The admission committee is headed by a former High Court judge, Venkataraman, while the fee panel is headed by another High Court Judge, Rangavittalachar.While Mr. Venkataraman has headed the admission committee since its inception, A.B. Murgod, a retired High Court Judge, was the first chairman of the fee committee. Mr. Rangavittalachar took over as chairman after Mr. Murgod quit.
The fee committee fixes the fees for all categories of students to all the medical colleges in the State. The fees depends on which course a student has selected and how he/she has been admitted. There are mainly three types of admission in the State and the fees for each varies:1) free seats or merit seats 2) payment seats3) management quota, including the Non-Resident Indian ( NRI) quota. The fees for the government medical and dental colleges is much less than that charged by private colleges. The fees for any professional college, be it medical or dental, has to be fixed by the fee committee. Several institutions have challenged the fee structure in the High Court.The institutions claim that the fee fixed by the committee is very low and that they would not be able to operate the colleges. They say a lot of money goes to purchase of medical equipment and these are very costly. Moreover, teachers have to be paid high remuneration. The first medical college in the State was opened in Bangalore in 1929. It was shifted an year later to Mysore and came to be known as the Mysore Medical College. The medical college in Bangalore was started in 1954. The one in Hubli was started in 1956. The only other Government medical college is in Bellary.
Candidates wishing to opt for seats under the State category must compulsorily appear for the Common Entrance Test conducted by the State Government for both for "free seats" and "payment seats". The CET Cell publishes the rank list for medical and dental courses only in respect of candidates who secure 50 per cent of marks taken together in physics, chemistry and biology (PCB) subjects in both qualifying examination and the CET (40 per cent in case of SC, ST, Category-1 & OBC category candidates). The CET Cell will do the seat selection on June 26, 2006 (Monday). More information on the CET norms can be accessed through its website.B.S. RAMESH