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Don't shatter dreams of meritorious students: Saldanha

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, JULY 17. The State Government should immediately evolve a formula which ensures that no meritorious student is deprived of pursuing a professional course, the former judge of the Karnataka High Court, M.F. Saldanha, has said.

He was speaking at a round-table conference on the "Common Entrance Test impasse and governments' role," organised by the Akhila Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.

He said such a step would improve the quality of higher education and also ensure that no meritorious student gave up his idea of pursuing a professional course because of his inability to pay fees.

Every year, he said, 41 per cent of the students dropped their idea (of taking up such courses) for this reason.

"If the governments, both at the State and at the Centre, make financial provision for such students it will be a real social justice," he said.

Higher education was as important as primary education, he added.

As a permanent solution to education-related litigation, which he termed as an "annual feature," Mr. Saldanha urged the State Government to set up a high-powered education tribunal.

The tribunal, akin to river water tribunals, should be composite and include representatives from the Government, private educational institutions, and students. Such a tribunal could correctly understand the complexity and give decisions, which concerns the careers of students, he said. "This does not mean disrespect to courts, which were overburdened and could not set aside enough time to such matters," Mr. Saldanha said.

P.V. Krishna Bhat, coordinator of the regional office of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, said the State Government should go in for the Kerala model of admission to professional courses. "It can subsidise fees for poor and meritorious students for engineering and medical courses to the extent of 50 per cent," he said.

Mr. Bhat wanted the Government to work out the unit cost of education for medical and engineering courses. This would help the Government in deciding the actual cost and prevent the private managements from charging a heavy fee. "The unit cost for engineering course was Rs. 22,000 two years ago," he said.

The MLC, Arvind Limbavali, said the CET issue would be discussed in both Houses of the legislature for finding a permanent solution. He charged the advocates representing the State Government with not arguing the case properly in the Supreme Court.

Uday Ravi, a student from Marimallappa College, Mysore, who has secured 400th rank in CET in the medical category, said it was not possible for a Government servant with a meagre salary to pay the course fee of Rs. 2.5 lakh for his ward.

The writers, Sa. Shi. Marulaiah and H.S. Parvathi, the advocate, Ashok Harnahalli, and M.K. Sridhar, Reader, Canara Management College, Bangalore, were among those who spoke.

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