The state government on Tuesday promulgated an ordinance to establish comprehensive fee regulatory authority for the recognised professional courses run by the private unaided educational institutions, so that profiteering can be prevented.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that state Cabinet has decided to issue an ordinance since admission process for various courses would begin before the academic year starts in June 2015. Since the Monsoon session of the state assembly will start after the academic year begins, Cabinet decided to issue an ordinance, said Fadnavis. The bill is expected to be tabled in the Monsoon session.
He said that the ordinance will help decide an appropriate fee structure for the professional courses, thereby curbing the profiteering. He pointed out that the Supreme Court had instructed to enact the law in this regard many years ago, but perhaps since the education barons dominated in Maharashtra, the law could not be enacted.
As per the ordinance, these colleges will have to display the fee on the notice board, the course fee will remain same till the completion of the course. They can’t collect fees for more than one year. Not only will the fee hike be controlled by the “competent authority” headed by a retired high court judge, their common admission process will also be supervised by an authority headed by a retired high court judge.
Even the institutional quota will be filled through merit only, under the supervision of the authority, states the ordinance.
This will be applicable to all degree, diploma and postgraduate courses offered by private unaided professional colleges and most provisions of the ordinance may displease institutions.
Since admission in engineering, pharmacy, polytechnic, hotel management, management and others is already conducted through a centralised admission process controlled by the government, the ordinance will have a major impact on admission in medical, dental and paramedical courses offered by unaided professional colleges in the state.
“Though their admission process will also not be affected this year as the entrance exams are slated for next month, the government may be able to effectively curb irregularities in admission and fee-structure”, said a highly placed source in the Higher and Technical Education department.
The authority will determine the reasonableness of fees levied Institutions considering various factors including profiteering or charging of capitation fees, no person who is associated with any private aided or unaided professional education institution shall be eligible for being a member of the FRA, states the ordinance.
The fees of these professional institutions are currently being looked after by the Shulk Niyantral Samiti (fee control committee), which has been failed in its mandate, blame NGOs and parents associations.
The colleges will also have to follow the SC/ST quotas as specified under Maharashtra Private Professional Educational Institutions (Reservation of Seats for Admission for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, De-notified Tribes (Vimukta Jatis), Nomadic Tribes and Other Backward Classes Act, 2006.
Minority colleges will have to admit at least 51% students from the minority category. The unfilled seats will have to be surrendered to the authority which will first offer them to minorities, and then to general candidates on merit as per their admission test scores.
If such institution fails to admit a minimum 51% of its sanctioned intake from the persons belonging to the concerned minority, for three consecutive years, such institution shall be liable for action under section 12C of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions Act, 2004.
The ordinance also has a provision to nullify the irregular admission and penalise the institutes.