The students seeking admission in B. Ed course are facing a hard time as four different counselling exercises being conducted for admission to 197 education colleges of the state.
Students aspiring to study in the colleges of their choice have to pay separate counselling fee for each counselling exercise, they opt for.
Counselling for 39 education colleges, all government or government aided is being conducted by Punjab University, and on behalf of 143 self-financed education colleges, a separate counselling is being conducted by Federation of Self Financing Colleges of Education, Punjab (FSFCE).
Besides this, a separate counselling is being done by Lovely Professional University for its 300 seats and nearly one dozen education colleges have called direct applications from the students for admission to their colleges after getting legal respite from Punjab and Haryana High Courts.
For every counselling, students have been asked to submit Rs 1,000 as counselling fees and students who wish to join college of their choices near their areas have to submit separate fees for each counselling.
"First college of my preference is a government college while the second one is a self-financed college. Now there is no other option than to deposit double fees as both are associated with different counselling groups," said Pallavi, a student.
"When there was not much difference in the fees of the course, there was no need to allow multiple counselling schedules for the colleges in the state," said Dr. Vandana, a lecturer adding that, "it is an additional burden for the students."
The government has fixed Rs.45000 as fees for the course while colleges associated with Federation of Self-Financed Colleges of Education, Punjab and Lovely Professional University have fixed the course fees of Rs. 49000.
The Students seemed to be inclined towards the government and government aided colleges while the self-financed colleges are expecting to face heat once again as more than 60 percent seat are lying vacant in most of these colleges in the first round of counselling which is going to close on July 15.
Contrary to it, the government and government aided colleges, have emerged as the choice of B.Ed. aspirants as more than 15000 applications have been received for nearly 6000 seats. The first round of counselling for these colleges is going to close on July 20.
"It is an alarming and worrying factor for most of the self-financed colleges. As the strength in degree colleges have reduced, we are receiving less input for our colleges. If we go by the trends, we expect occupancy less than 70% in the colleges and the situation in the rural colleges will be worst affected," says SP Bansal, chairman of the FSFCE.
"We opted to separate us from the centralised counselling with a hope to get better prospects but it seems it has not clicked the way we wished," he added.
"These days, after schooling most of the students opt for professional colleges to secure their careers; lesser pupils are choosing school teaching as their profession. Citing this only, the entrance test was abolished and colleges were allowed to admit the students with graduation marks as the qualifying criteria," he further added.
Coordinator for B.Ed. Admissions, Punjab University Chandigarh, Prof Kuldeep Puri too admitted the additional burden on students. "It was the decision of self-financing colleges to disassociate them with us. We are getting overwhelming response and we expect to get three times more registration of students for the seats in our colleges.
In a very transparent way, we will assure the admission to all of our colleges, once our counselling is complete, the unsuccessful students would be absorbed by the colleges which are running short of admissions," he said.
"The dilemma to pay extra fees for the different category of colleges is there but nothing can be done in this matter, till government intervenes and pass the necessary orders to all the colleges/universities to come under one umbrella only as was working three years ago," he added.