Walkout over self-financing colleges

M.A. Baby  

Special Correspondent

Education Minister says final agreement on fee structure will evolve in a week

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Members of the Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) staged a walkout in the Assembly on Tuesday after the Speaker denied grant of leave for an adjournment motion on the ‘uncertainty’ over fee structure and admission norms for self-financing professional colleges in the State.

V.D. Satheesan (Congress), who sought leave for the motion, said the uncertainty over fee structure, admission and reservation of seats for various categories continued into the fourth year.

The law enacted by the present government [soon after it assumed office] for admission to self-financing colleges had become toothless. There were a series of cases on it.

He accused the government of adopting an ant-minority stance by cancelling the affiliation to four [professional] colleges under Calicut University. The uncertainty had benefited professional colleges in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, he said.

Denying the charges, Education Minister M.A. Baby said the Cabinet subcommittee concerned had held discussions with the managements and the majority of them, except four medical colleges and 10 engineering colleges, had an understanding with the government.

The government’s objective was to ensure 50 per cent of the seats in these colleges in merit quota and set an affordable fee structure for the students. Admissions would be made in strict compliance with the reservation norms. The final agreement on fee structure would evolve in a week, he said.

In order to ensure the quota for the Scheduled Tribes, the government had conducted special coaching and examination with the permission of the Supreme Court. The charge that the government had an anti-minority stance was baseless, the Minister said.

Mr. Baby said he had urged Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal to pilot a Bill for ensuring social control over self-financing colleges.

Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy accused the Minister of passing the buck to the Centre by demanding a Central law.

He alleged that the government had failed to act in time and the delay was causing anxiety to both parents and students.

Based on the Minister’s clarification, Speaker K. Radhakrishnan denied grant of leave for the motion and the Opposition walked out in protest.