Ahead of the upcoming academic year, TA Shiware, director, KPB Hinduja College, Charni Road, explains why parents have to pay up to Rs 40,000 as fee for Class 11 and 12.
Do you think junior college education has become expensive?
The fee has definitely gone up in the past few years, making it more expensive than degree courses in some colleges. The spurt of unaided and self-financed divisions across colleges has led to the hike in fee. Nowadays, colleges charge anywhere between Rs 15,000 and Rs 40,000 a year, just for Class 11 and 12.
Are the colleges offering better facilities?
There is a perception that if you pay more, you get better facilities, but it’s not so. Many colleges, especially junior colleges attached to schools, that charge Rs 20,000-30,000 for a course do not offer any special facility. Some of them don’t even have approved teachers or infrastructure. Many of these colleges have stopped participating in the audit conducted by the deputy director of education, as they know they will get a poor grade.
Why such a huge gap between the fee for aided and unaided courses?
In case of aided courses, the government pays for teachers’ salaries and also provides non-salary grants. So the colleges can afford to offer courses for much less than its actual cost. The government stopped paying non-salary grants for aided divisions since 2005, so colleges have no option but to increase the fee. Unaided courses are expensive because the college has to bear all expenses.
Why is the number of unaided divisions on the rise, while aided divisions remain the same?
The government has stopped giving approvals to open any more aided divisions because of paucity of funds. Consequently, all colleges started opening unaided divisions. In 2012, the government allowed the opening of new divisions and colleges on a self-financed basis. The fee of these institutes is also high because they are not eligible for government grants.
Do degree colleges also hike fees at the same pace as junior colleges?
The University of Mumbai has prescribed the maximum fee to be charged from degree colleges, even from unaided divisions. In contrast, no cap has been put on the fee for junior colleges, so they are free to charge as per their wish. We have asked education minister Vinod Tawde to set a limit for junior colleges too.