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Raman panel may review fee structure for unaided colleges

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, AUG. 19. The Justice A. Raman committee constituted by the Government for fixing a fee structure for unaided engineering colleges in the State is likely to review its previously announced fee at least in respect of a set of colleges that appealed for change.

Pending a final decision, the colleges should collect only the fee prescribed for this year, the Government has stated.

In June this year, the Raman Committee recommended an annual fee of Rs. 32,500 for all courses and Rs. 40,000 for engineering courses accredited by the National Board of Accreditation (NBA). This amount would include all types of fees, charges and levies. However, the colleges could collect extra as charges for providing food, hostel and transport, though students could not be compelled to pay these charges, the order had said.

The order while recommending the fee structure also stated that in case any of the individual institutions wanted any change, it should individually send appeals to the committee, giving valid reasons and relevant documents for seeking a higher fee structure.

`It is low'

However, several college managements contended that this was too low a fee structure and that it cost them at least Rs. 45,000 to provide quality education to each student per year, and developing the institution, as also for updating educational software. Some of the institutions also approached the High Court and obtained an injunction against a penal clause that provided for proceedings against colleges that violated the recommended fee structure. The colleges also contended that as per the Supreme Court order in the Islamic Academy vs. State of Karnataka case, the committee could arrive at a fee structure for individual institutions, based on individual visits and assessment of the infrastructure available and the record of the college concerned.

The committee had stated that the fee structure recommended was only an interim measure taken to prevent any further delay in the fee fixation.

Later, about 15 institutions filed individual representations before the Raman Committee: Sri Sairam Engineering, Sona College of Technology, Bannari Amman Institute of Technology, Kumaraguru College of Technology, Dr. Mahalingam College of Engineering and Technology, Sri Krishna College of Engineering and Technology (Coimbatore), Sri Ramakrishna Engineering, Sri Ramakrishna Institute of Technology, Kongu Engineering, VLB College of Engineering, PSG College of Technology, Velammal Engineering, St. Joseph's College of Engineering, Saveetha Engineering and Jeppiaar Engineering.

In a letter sent to these institutions two days ago, the Department of Technical Education has stated that a prescribed format will be sent "in due course" (for the colleges) to furnish particulars to the committee for fixing a (new) fee structure.

But, till the matter is decided by the committee, the institute can charge only the amount already fixed for 2004-05.

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