The Kochi centre of the Mumbai-based All India Institute of Local Self-Government (AIILSG), an institution with a legacy of 85 years, is struggling for survival.

The centre fell on bad days after the Public Service Commission (PSC) recognition for its one-year Sanitation Diploma course was taken away during the time of the last government in August-September 2008.

Significantly, the same course run by the AIILSG's centres elsewhere in the country is still held valid by the respective State governments.

Bolt from the blue

The State government then launched its own Diploma in Health Inspector Course. The centre feels that with the expertise and infrastructure at its command, it could at least have been allowed to run the government course.

The flow of students to the centre, which was till then teeming with hundreds of students for each batch, suddenly dried up as the sheen of the course was lost to a great extent with the derecognition. The move came as a bolt from the blue as the centre was not given even a prior intimation of the impending derecognition.

The authorities at the centre had to face the ire of students and their parents since the derecognition came midway through the course.

Subsequently, the centre stopped offering the course since 2009, which had provided job opportunities for its students in as diverse areas as defence, Railways, hospitals, hotels and catering, pest control companies and municipalities within the country and abroad.

In the government service, the certificate issued by the centre was one of the eligibility criteria for being called up for the examination of the Junior Health Inspector (Grade II) conducted by the PSC. “Most of the sanitation inspectors who had retired from the service post Independence and many now in service were the products of any of the 26 centres of the AIILSG across the country,” sources said.

Battling for survival, the centre tied up with the Saurashtra University and is now offering a two-year course in Diploma in Public Health Services.

The fee is Rs. 15,000 for a year, which is more than double the fee of Rs. 8,000 for its now extinct Sanitation Diploma.

Besides, the student flow is only a fraction of what it used to be earlier, prompting the centre to convert one of its three big halls into a computer centre that was opened on Friday. The centre eyes the potential of various online examinations besides offering computer courses in the future.

Besides, the centre had tied up with KITCO to offer a six-month course in Geriatric Care and Home Nursing at a fee of Rs. 10,000.

The centre is ready to launch Diploma in Food Technology (18 months) and Postgraduate Diploma in Hospital and Health Care Management (part time course for one year) anytime but for the cold response from students.

The PSC withdrew recognition for the insitute's Sanitation Diploma course.