The Bihar government has now initiated an exercise to crackdown on sham institutions, including degree colleges affiliated to different universities in the state, after it was stung by irregularities surfacing in the functioning of private colleges.
State education minister Ashok Choudhary has written to all vice-chancellors to identify colleges that do not fulfil affiliation norms, but are still enrolling students at will.
There are 331 degree colleges affiliated to different universities and eligible for state government’s performance-linked funding scheme. Under the scheme, an affiliated institution gets Rs 4,500 for every student passing in the first division, Rs 4,000 for every second divisioner and Rs 3,500 for every third divisioner.
The affiliated colleges are in addition to around 250 constituent colleges in the state.
Bihar has already decided to order a probe into all the 242 private intermediate colleges that get grants from the state.
According to sources, the matter of degree affiliated colleges came into focus after the government received a request for affiliation of an inter college in Sitamarhi district up to graduation level.
“However, it was later found that the college, belonging to a political leader, had no additional infrastructure, but wanted to run the degree college from the same institution offering intermediate courses,” they said.
Though Choudhary declined to comment on the issue, he admitted that there were many such instances, which called for an immediate need to set things right.
“The chancellor is also aware of it and he will direct the VCs at his own level, but on my part, I have sought from the universities details of infrastructure, enrollment, the number of faculty members with qualification, the number of examinees etc,” the minister said.
An education department official admitted that the exact number of affiliated college was still not known, though it had been tentatively estimated at 331.
“Following the abolition of unaided education policy in 2008, the government has so far been able to release funds just once for 2007-10 session as utilisation certificates from these are never available. Instead, there are court cases by claimants asking for money,” he added.
The official said around 50 cases have been filed so far in the court by teachers of affiliated colleges and it was getting tougher for the state. “The government has earmarked Rs 109-crore for affiliated colleges for the 2008-11 session, but the disbursal has got stuck. This is 2016 and one can well imagine the scenario,” he added.
According to a study on higher education conducted by MHRD in 2013, Bihar has just six colleges per one-lakh population (18-23 age-group), while the national average is 25. The average enrollment in the state’s colleges is 1852.