Small technical colleges demand fair play, cheaper loans

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New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) Urging the government to save the “self-financed technical institutions” in the country, a group of small private colleges here on Sunday demanded uniformity in fee structure, faculty-student ratio, and rebate in interest rates on student loans.

“More than 90 per cent of technical education is being offered by the private sector but because of many reasons for last five years, this sector is under big financial crunch,” said K.V.K. Rao, General Secretary, All India Federation of Self-Financing Technical Institutions (AIFSFTI).

He requested the government to implement the faculty-to-student ratio uniformly at 1:25, as recommended by the Kaw Committee (2015), against the existing 1:15 recommended by the Ministry of Human Resource Development.

“We are hard-pressed for qualified faculty members. There are very few of them. The existing ratio is unjustified, and it also leads to disingenuous practices on paper, when colleges fake documents to show them as following the guidelines,” Rao told IANS.

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Terming the prescribed guidelines for approval from All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) lopsided, he sought relaxation for small institutions.

“The tuition fee that such institutes are allowed to charge varies from Rs 30,000 to Rs 100,000, according to scale and other factors. But such small institutes as ours, which can only afford to charge lower fees, still have to abide by the same guidelines as those for bigger institutes. These regulations should vary for us,” Rao said.

AIFSFTI is a national association of small, self-financed technical institutes and has been formed this year.

Anshu Kataria, President of AIFSFTI, demanded that student loans and loans to small educational entities must be made available at lower interest rates.

“Banks have always been treating this sector as normal commercial sector and used to charge high rate of interest to self-financed colleges as well as to the students… education sector should be treated as priority sector and colleges should be financed on cheaper rates while students should get interest-free education loan,” he said.

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