Kerala: Self-Financing colleges give merit a go-by
Thiruvananthapuram: It is well-known that capitation fee and not merit determines admissions in self-financing colleges. But government agencies cannot intervene in the matter due to the lack of complaints.
The fees fixed for medical colleges by the fees regulatory committee ranged from Rs 4.80 lakh to Rs 5.60 lakh, but some colleges collect Rs 40 lakh to Rs 50 lakh. The amount that comes above the legal fees is paid without receipt and, hence, it is not easy for the agencies to trace it, sources said.
Some institutions offer a Rs 1.5-crore capitation fee package by clubbing both MBBS and PG courses in a single go. Students book their seats at the time of Plus-Two.
Justice J.M. James, former chairman of the Admission Supervisory Committee, told Deccan Chronicle that during his tenure only a single genuine complaint had come up before the committee. It was filed by a police officer who pointed out that capitation fee was demanded from his daughter. Though a few sittings on the complaint were completed, the case could not be brought to a logical conclusion as the tenure of the committee ended, he said.
Educationist Rajendran Puthiyedath said that the government decision to introduce a common admission protocol had reduced the scope for capitation fees. Even then, the seats have become out of bound for economically backward students due to the exorbitant fees, he said.
Social activist N.M. Pearson’s daughter N.P Sethulekshmi was an applicant with a NEET rank of 31,379 but she did not get into the ranklist of the private colleges in 2016. He said the issue was that students or their parents do not complain if they get admissions. Hence, the managements had been on a strong wicket, he said.
However, the attempts to sabotage the inter se merit in admissions to suit financially sound candidates with lower NEET rank had caused suspicions about the involvement of huge money in the admission process. In 2016, candidates ranked as low as 1, 80,000 were admitted to some medical colleges even when candidates like Pearson’s daughter failed to get into the list.
The lack of transparency followed by medical colleges in the admission process was noted by the James committee which set aside the admissions of 150 candidates by the Kannur Medical College and that of 30 seats in Karuna Medical College, Palakkad, in 2016 for violating the orders of the committee and the court. As per the directions of the court, the ASC scrutinised the admissions made by the medical colleges. Though they were directed to make available all the documents, the colleges failed to produce them.
While scrutinising the ‘online application’ forms, the committee found that they were not actual ‘online applications.’ The forms did not show the name of the medical college to which the applications were made. They also did not carry the photograph of the applicant, signature or application date.
The committee had received 75 complaints against Karuna and 102 against KMC.
The committee concluded that both the medical colleges ''fully compromised on the inter se merit, failed to maintain transparency and academic excellence and deliberately gave the go-by to all norms of procedure.”
Moreover, in case of some candidates, there were no supporting documents and as such the category of applicants could only be ascertained from the statements in the application. Non-creamy layer certificates were not produced along with the applications of some SEBC candidates seeking relaxations, the committee found.