If implemented effectively, the new law on regulation of fee could prove to be of great help for thousands of students seeking admission to unaided professional institutes, particularly those pursuing the medical stream, where capitation fee or “donation” is in the range of Rs 25-50 lakh, claim academicians.
Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao signed an ordinance on the Maharashtra Unaided Private Professional Education Institutions (Regulation of Admissions and Fees) Act, 2015, last week. According to the provisions of the Act, the state will have separate authorities to regulate the admission process and conduct entrance exams, and to regulate the fee at all unaided private professional educational institutions. The fee regulating authority will have the power to give the final approval for fee proposals, verification of infrastructure facilities, amenities, and redressal of grievances of students, parents and college management.
The Act will be applicable to all unaided and private higher, technical, medical and agriculture education colleges and universities. It will, however, not cover deemed universities and institutions such as IIT and 15% management quota seats.
Maharashtra has 27 unaided medical and dental colleges with more than 5,000 seats for MBBS, BDS, BSc (nursing) and other paramedical courses. According to the state medical education department, private medical colleges often take huge capitation fee from students, a malpractice which the law will put an end to.
Dr Snehalata Deshmukh, former vice-chancellor, University of Mumbai (MU), said, “Earlier, there was a fee-fixation committee, but it did not have enough powers to summon the authorities from private colleges. With new provisions, the authority can take stricter action.”
“Medical students have been facing issues related to fees for the past few years. They are often made to pay extra at private colleges. Students should get admission based on merit. The government should increase the number of seats at state medical colleges,” said the dean of a medical college, on condition of anonymity.
Authorities feel the regulation will simplify the redressal of grievances. Dr Pravin Shingare, director, Directorate of Medical Research and Education (DMER), said, “The new law, which has more powers, will bring in a simple and effective system to address grievances.”
The new law also calls for a cell to be appointed by the state government to conduct the common entrance test (CET), putting an end to the tests by private and unaided professional education institutions from the next academic year (2016-17).