Parents fall prey to glib talk of campus middlemen, writes L. Srikrishna

The scramble for admission to schools and colleges is not yet over long after the public examination results were published in May. Educational institutions are the most frequented of all places by parents and students in the recent days. While the toppers have got the seats of their choice without much effort, it is not so the case with many others. Even among the majority of students with high marks, the rush is so huge that every parent has to use ‘influence’ to get admission for their ward. Utilising this ‘lucrative season,’ middlemen have emerged on the scene, targeting the gullible ones with glib talk. As many of the heads of institutions — be it a school or arts and science college — are inaccessible, some parents fall into the hands of these smooth operators. According to police sources, a few cases of cheating have come to light where the middlemen had collected huge sums of money from parents after promising to get admission to their wards and vanished from the scene.

On campus itself

In one case, a boy with 88 percentage had sought admission into Plus One in a premier educational institution. Sensing their anxiety, a smartly dressed man approached them on the campus. He even assured to get the choice of group the boy wanted, saying he was close to a key man in the school management.” Without cross-checking his bona fides, the parents fell prey and made a ‘token advance’ with a relief that the admission process was over in a jiffy after all. But, the con-man vanished after giving a fictitious mobile number.

Link that was not

In another case, the father of the student was waiting to get an appointment with the headmistress of a girls’ school. As he was advised to approach the school through a source from the Education Department, he met a retired official who claimed to have links to the school authorities. Under the guise of speaking to the PA to the headmistress, the person took an ‘advance.’ After getting the seat, the balance should be paid, he told the man who has very little hope of either getting the seat or the money back now.

The scene with colleges (engineering) is all the more complex, where many politicians have lined up seeking admission, armed with recommendation letters. A parent said many institutions take capitation fee and give acknowledgement as well.

With not many parents preferring to lodge formal complaints with the police, the custodians of law were unable to take action, a police officer with the Madurai police said.