In yet another step to combat the plunging finances of Panjab University, the Panjab University Senate has announced a 12.5% fee hike for all its courses, effective for the upcoming 2017-18 session. This decision comes after a meeting regarding the same was held on March 26th, 2017. Arun Kumar Grover, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, introduced this proposal with an aim to rationalise the fee structure in comparison with other universities of Punjab.
However, this proposition wasn’t welcomed by everyone, as many Senators considered it an unfair burden on the students and rigorously opposed it. Others were more subtle, and came up with various other suggestions to increase the revenue instead of the fee hike. The surcharge will be applicable only on the students who will enroll in the upcoming session. The existing students will be subject to a 5% increase in their tuition fees.
While some departments like BA/BCom (Evening batch) will witness a nominal increase from Rs. 2200 to Rs. 10,000, others like B.Pharma will bear a substantial increase from Rs. 5000 to Rs. 50,000. The increase in professional courses (3 years LLB – Rs. 4000 to Rs. 25,000; Dental Course – Rs. 1,50,000 to Rs. 8,64,00; Engineering – Rs. 70,000 to Rs. 90,000 and MBA- Rs. 9400 to Rs. 1,20,000) is colossal as compared to non-Professional courses ( BSc- Rs. 2320 to Rs. 15,000). This is because of the ease of placements and availability of more entry-level jobs that come with professional courses.
The Vice-Chancellor considers this hike trifling and necessary, given the current financial situation of the University. However, the interests of economically weaker sections (EWS) haven’t been kept at a back-burner. Separate schemes and a budget for them have been formed. According to one of the schemes, students who have qualified their class XII examination from a government school, and have an annual family income of Rs 5 Lakh or less, will be eligible for fee concessions up to 50% of the tuition fees. If the annual family income in such a case is Rs 2.5 Lakh or less, concession upto 75% will be granted.
For this purpose, Income Certificates along with the admission forms will be made mandatory. According to the Vice-Chancellor, individual faculty members will work on the EWS cases and ensure that deserving students get scholarships, so that the education of EWS is not hindered.
Besides the fee hike, various other suggestions to improve the deteriorating financial health of Panjab University were analysed. The chief consideration that was embraced by almost everyone was to stop the unnecessary payments to the faculty. It was a shared opinion that remunerations for paper-checking and paper-setting, and honorariums for flying-duty should be curtailed.
Since most of the students of Panjab University are pursuing B.Com, the idea of opening a new evening department for M.Com Course was canvassed. This could substantiate the income of the University drastically. The possibility of strengthening the Placement Cell and improving the quality of teachers was also considered.
However, no crucial decisions were taken with regard to the escalating expenditure. According to a senator, a hefty amount of Rs 46 Lakh has been spent on the renovation of the VC Room and the VC Committee Room, which could have been postponed. While the Senate tackled various issues concerning the present financial crisis and came up with many ideas for generating more revenue, it failed to address the problem of ever-increasing and excessive expenditure.
Given the current scenario, there is no option for the students except to bear the brunt of this financial crunch.
About the Author:
Introvert. Outspoken. Bibliophile. Unpredictable.
Books, nature and milkshakes are heaven.