If the Planning Commission has its way, your college fees will soon triple at least. The proposal could be put up in the 11th Five Year Plan to be presented before the Budget, said Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission.
“At present, fees cover just five per cent of the total cost of education. We suggest that they cover 15-20 per cent of the cost. But with the increase in fee, we need more scholarships and student loans,” he said, adding: “With all this, education would still be heavily subsidised.” The National Knowledge Commission’s recommendations in this regard have been forwarded to the Planning Commission, which is examining and assessing them.
Ahluwalia, chief guest at the 145th Annual Convocation of the University of Mumbai, said: “reliance on fees” was needed. “Funding problems in the higher education system cannot be solved with private funding alone,” he said.
Academician Snehalata Deshmukh could not agree more. She said fees for undergraduate courses were “less”, and “much less” for medical education in government colleges. “Those who want to pursue higher education should be willing to pay,” she said.
Just 10 per cent of Indian students get university education (five-six per cent from rich families) in contrast to 20-25 per cent in developing countries. “Not just quantity, quality is suffering too. And India needs to move quickly to remove deficiencies in the higher education system,” said Ahluwalia.
He said primary and secondary education should be subsidised, but the subsidy in higher education would have to come down.