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Written by Professor. S.Padmanaban B.E., M.B.A., M.Phil, (PhD) The origin of Self Financed Engineering Colleges
The self financed engineering colleges in Tamilnadu were permitted to function by the AIADMK Government headed by Dr. M.G. Ramachandran during the year 1982-83. At that time 1500 engineering seats only were available in the entire state. Government was also not having enough budget to build more engineering colleges, for instance even today government is not liberal in spending for education. Hence any idea was mooted by someone and it was agreed that 50% of the seats will filled with meritorious students and the remaining 50% will be given to those rich and affordable students who could bring capital to run the engineering colleges. With this in mind and informal agreement between the chief minister and the riches private engineering colleges were permitted to run for the benefit of both who have money and those who have the merit. Only few trusts and societies committed to educational service and those who the CM believed will serve the purpose were given license, without any suitcase being exchanged. After that every year one case or other was filed in the high court or Supreme Court and all judgements were in support of the self financing colleges. The judges also did not understand the purpose and the reason of permitting the private parties into running engineering colleges for that matter any private college. All the colleges are run under the banner of charity, in the name of society, in the name of trust. But all most all the practices are bad and as the time passes by things went to the extreme, even few murders were taken place in jealous of this business. The officials of the AICTE were enjoying like anything and made money in crores. The latest arrest of AICTE member secretary is the best example to note.
The conversion to Deemed University
Later, when the government wants to satisfy the WTO agreement, decided to permit foreign universities in education, before permitting them in 2005, some suggested the conversion of these engineering colleges to go for deemed university, so that they can compete with the foreign universities. But what happened now, the deemed universities are admitting the entire 100% or unlimited seats (there is no sanctioning authority for any course or number) in the name of university banner depending upon the market conditions, as much as 500 to 1500 seats of MBA are created and run like a seasonal factory. Where is question of merit? Where is the question of admitting meritorious students? Where the true scholarships are for performing students?
Affiliating to Anna University
Every AICTE inspection and Madras University affiliation inspections were all dramas to make money for all those connected with the process. Only Dr. M.Thambidurai made a great attempt to improve the quality of engineering education by affiliating all the engineering colleges to ANNA University. He was also troubled by other low class engineering college owners and they attempted to dilute the quality in education. That resulted in two kinds of treatments in the teaching –learning process by Anna University. One for the students studying in the Guindy campus which is under the Anna University’s direct control and another one quality poorly monitored to the affiliated colleges, for the benefit of money minded owners and those students who wanted to get an engineering degree without any hard work.
The Bad Practices in Admission
The admission qualification to B.E and other professional courses were diluted so badly with the support of court – just a pass is enough to get admitted and the secret aim is to maximize the capacity utilization in these colleges. Moreover these college owners convinced the Ministry of Finance to sanction educational loan to all and meritorious, a poor –not clear policy helped these students to get loans in lacks of rupees and that filled the bags of these owners. Lateral entry system of admitting diploma holders into the second year engineering is another crooked idea that generated funds for these colleges. These colleges running in Tamilnadu serves mostly the students coming with money from other states. There are instances of extremes offences done at the cost of SC and ST community, by admitting the forward community students with fraud/ fake certificates in the SC and ST quota with the instigation and design of college management.
Poor Administration by Kith and Kin
The administration of these colleges were so bad that even in one college teachers like me have to wait for the municipality water tanker to come for fetching drinking water. The toilets were so badly maintained, no good cabins for faculty, no books of latest edition available in the library and so on so forth. Some college owners are so foolish that they want to earn every bit of money by exploiting the opportunity – by compelling the students to come in their own transport, eat only in their canteen and mess, buy books only from them. I find no words to explain the torture meted out to students in the name of discipline by the unlearned executives, workers and teachers administering these colleges. Each college is designing their own administrative practices that are very funny and those administering are learning the skill of administration by experimentation process. Ask the suppliers of these colleges to know the various kinds of purchasing and payment behaviour of these colleges.
Most of the colleges are behaving in a socially irresponsible manner. The allegations are many. 1. Looting the students money in one way or other. Black marketed seats at high rates ranging from 3 lakhs to 10 lakhs. For medical colleges it runs up to 30 to 40 lakhs.
2. They grab the government lands or encroach the lands slowly. They also spoil the nearby agricultural lands by sending out their drainage. 3. Most of the buildings were built without any approval from local municipal authority and normally they don’t pay the correct building tax to the panchayat. 4. Employee welfare is totally neglected and even the basic Provident funds were looted and not paid back. 5. No pay as per the AICTE or UGC. Actual payment is different from the acknowledgement. Most of the reports submitted to them are fake or false. 6. Two or three colleges are running with one college facility. 7. Poor staff-student ratio. Class room strength running into 100s. 8. The teachers and professor’s educational certificates and testimonials are kept under their custody and are treated like slaves. 9. When opportunity comes teachers are not relieved to join a good job, they were demanded 3 months salary as compensation or asked to wait for months before they are relieved. 10. Teachers are rarely permitted to upgrade their qualifications. No earn leave or medical leave. No quality improvement programs. If at all anything they are only in paper and may be for their relative/caste employees. 11. All most all the colleges are backed by a political party leader or functionaries and There prevails an element of fear among the parents, teachers, workers and students to deal with them on any issue, because of the ‘Gundas” culture.
The Good Colleges
Only few good colleges are run by professionals in a democratic approach but getting admission in those colleges become very costly. Only few Great colleges and their trusts surrendered the whole (100%) of their seats to government quota and still serve the society at the government fixed fees. They all stood first and the proof for the same can be heard at the time of admission counseling.
The fees syndrome
Every year the self financing colleges approach the government or the court to raise the fees under the government quota and management quota, rarely they are honest to maintain those fees, they are similar to our Auto drivers- who never wanted to put the meter and collect the right fare.
Conclusion Yes, the Deemed Universities in Tamilnadu should be banned as they are functioning against the purpose for which they were permitted (i.e handing over 50% of seats to government) and run against the philosophies and charitable thoughts of Dr. M.G. Ramachandran, the former Chief Minister.
These deemed universities converted from self financed engineering colleges, should go back to college status or they may be permitted to run as university if they agree to handover 50% of the seats to government to encourage the meritorious students community for the benefit of the nation.
These Universities can be nationalized at one stroke for the benefit of all, when governments can takeover toddy shops and liquor shops, (for example TASMAC, owned by government is a monopoly seller of Indian made foreign liquor in Tamilnadu), why can’t they run engineering colleges for profit. Another alternate solution is that to run these universities similar to Annamalai University, in Chidambaram, where the pro-chancellor post is given to one of the family members, who donated the land and buildings to the government of India and the university runs on the statutory act of parliament. When companies created for profit are asked to follow corporate social responsibility norms, these deemed universities meant for a socially responsible task should be monitored and controlled strictly with a high level of quality yard stick. There is no time to discuss and analyze the whole story and the various specific events happened for the past 25 to 30 and hence I stop at this point. One thing that made me happy was that somehow most of the unaccounted money and black money is invested in India itself- by building facilities and employing few workers. Another thing that made me happy as a teacher is that at one point in time or another good engineers coming out in large number at 10 to 15 % of those admitted will safeguard our nation’s economy as well as our industrial growth.
A Big Note This write up is based on authenticated news and my observation for about 23 years serving self financed engineering colleges. This is not to offend any individual or any college management. This is simply for the people to correct themselves in understanding the life and have empathy on the lives, as owners of these colleges are at a great advantageous monetary position and status. My humble request to the whole world and Indians is that please avoid corruption, bad practices and attempts to become rich through Temples, Educational Institutions, Hospitals, Cremation Grounds and Courts of Justice. If you want to make a way to riches avoid these places. Take lessons from TATAs, Birlas, Bill Gates, Ambani’s and great businessmen like FORD. You can be rich by adopting their ideas and strategies. *****
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