The colleges running self-financed postgraduate courses are likely to be asked to implement a uniform fee structure the state government will come up with.
The colleges have been enjoying the freedom to fix their fees since the government allowed them to run self-financed masters’ courses towards the beginning of the last decade.
“The government wants a uniform fee structure for all self-financed postgraduate courses because the fees charged by most colleges for the masters’ courses are several times higher than what the students studying the same courses in universities are paying,” education minister Partha Chatterjee said.
“Several colleges are charging very high fees for the postgraduate courses. A proposal to maintain a uniform fee structure is under consideration.”
The government will soon meet representatives of the universities to discuss how the disparities could be removed, Chatterjee said.
The fees charged by the universities are less because the expenses for running the courses, including the teachers’ salaries, are paid by the state government.
The masters’ courses run by the colleges, on the other hand, are self-financed. All expenses for running the courses are borne by the colleges themselves.
The government wants to examine on what grounds some colleges are demanding “excessive fees” for some postgraduate courses, an official in the higher education department said.
“The department will examine the infrastructure and the staff strength of all colleges offering self-financed postgraduate courses to find out whether the fees being charged are justified or not,” the official said.
“A college in south Calcutta charges Rs 1.3 lakh as tuition fee for their two-year postgraduate course in geography. Students enrolled on the same course at Calcutta University pay Rs 12,000 in two years. A college on the northern fringes of the city charges Rs 60,000 for its postgraduate course in geography. The West Bengal State University, in Barasat, to which the college is affiliated, charges Rs 12,000 in two years for the same course.”
The government, the official said, will come up with a uniform fee structure for the self-financed postgraduate programmes in consultation with the respective universities and after inspecting the infrastructure of the colleges.
The universities to which the colleges offering self-financed postgraduate courses are affiliated are Calcutta, West Bengal State, Kalyani, Burdwan and North Bengal.
“Once the decision is finalised, a government order will be issued by the higher education department,” another official said.
A government order is necessary because according to rules, the colleges are not bound to follow any instruction from the affiliating university on an administrative matter.
The universities only have a say in academic matters of the affiliated colleges.
As for the postgraduate courses, the colleges also enjoy the freedom to frame their syllabuses, conduct their examinations and assess their answer scripts.
The degrees are awarded jointly with the universities.
Calcutta University, following an advisory from the higher education department, had recently issued a circular to its affiliated colleges asking them to follow its fee structure for postgraduate courses. Hardly any college has responded to the circular.
Source: The Telegraph