At a time when people are reeling under the economic impact of the pandemic, the State government on Thursday decided to increase the fees in private medical and dental colleges for the 2020-21 academic year.
While the fees in government quota seats in private colleges has been raised by 15%, those for institutional quota seats has been increased by 25% compared to the previous year. There has, however, been no change in the fees in government medical and dental colleges.
With this, the fees in private medical colleges this academic year is ₹1,28,746 and ₹9,81,956 for government quota and institutional quota seats respectively. Meanwhile, the fee in private dental colleges stands at ₹83,356 and ₹6,66,023 in government quota and institutional quota seats respectively.
The hike comes at a time when many have lost their jobs or taken pay cuts because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Colleges and schools had been told not to increase the fees due the financial hardship that a large section of people are facing this year.
Sources in the medical education department said private college managements had demanded a hike of 30% and 40% in government and institutional quota seats respectively, but the government had not agreed to such a steep increase.
“Our fee structure is much lower compared to colleges in neighbouring States. We had to agree for the hike as the faculty of these colleges have to be paid salaries on a par with the 7th Pay Commission,” a source said.
Many student organisations have opposed the move and have urged the government to roll back the increase, failing which they would go on a State-wide agitation.
Amaresh Kadagada, State President, Students Federation of India, said the government’s decision was unacceptable. “People are not able to pay school fees for their children. By increasing fees, the government is denying students from lower income groups and middle class families access to medical and dental education,,” he said adding that the dreams of many students will be shattered with this decision.