As Panjab University (PU) faces its worst financial crunch in recent times, a think tank formed to suggest measures to increase revenue and decrease expenditure has recommended increasing the tuition and examination fee by 20% for the 2016-17 session.
In addition to that, for the year 2017-18, a hike of 25% and for 2018-19, another 25% hike has been recommended by the panel, keeping the base year for fee structure as 2015-16.
However, the syndicate in its meeting last week approved a hike of 5% for all PU courses for the 2016-17 session.
PU vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover has said examination and hostel fee need to be increased. “The hike in tuition fee has already been decided by a committee. The hostel and examination fee will be hiked to generate income,” he said.
For 2015-16, the PU budget deficit has been Rs 278.55 crore, but till date it has received just around Rs 150 crore from the Centre.
The Board of Finance meeting to discuss budget for 2016-17 is slated for Monday.
Other varsities much expensive
A study of the tuition fee data of five universities — Panjab University, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Punjabi University, Patiala, Kurukshetra University and Himachal Pradesh University — shows that KU leads when it comes to lower fees, followed by PU in the region.
In a meeting of think tank held on February 1 whose minutes of meeting were circulated on February 12, it was suggested that two sub-committees be formed to suggest algorithm to recommend increase the tuition fee and examination fee after taking cognisance of the fee being charged by three universities of Punjab, two of Haryana, one of Himachal Pradesh and central universities — Banaras Hindu University ( BHU), Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
Along with vice-chancellor Arun Kumar Grover, Dean University Instructions professor AK Bhandari and registrar Col GS Chadha (retd), professor DVS Jain, professor BS Brar, professor Ronki Ram, professor M Rajivlochan, Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) president professor Akshaya Kumar, former Chandigarh MP Satya Pal Jain, Ashok Goyal and professor Dinesh Gupta are members of the think tank.
During the meeting, vicechancellor Grover said that the fee being charged by partially/ fully self-financed departments like University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET), University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS), Dental Institute and traditional courses could be enhanced to increase the income.
Professor AK Bhandari, Dean University Instructions, suggested that in the traditional courses 50% of the total seats could be run on self-financing basis and 50% on subsidised rates.
Professor Ronki Ram had remarked that the central universities, which were charging less fee from the students were surviving because they receive liberal grants from the Central government.
Regarding other measures, vice-chancellor also said since there were no different yardsticks of selection of the faculty for different subjects in University School of Open Learning (USOL) and Department of Evening Studies (DES), these faculty members could be utilised for teaching in the main departments of the university, including Panjab University Institute of Social Sciences Education and Research (PUISSER).
Such faculty members should also be treated as part of the main discipline, and a rotation policy for adjunct appointments be thought of, he added.
After Kurukshetra University, PU cheapest in region
A comparative chart of tuition fee structure in universities was also circulated among think tank members which clearly showed that barring Kurukshetra University of Haryana, PU is cheapest in comparison to Himachal Pradesh University (HPU), Guru Nanak Dev University (GNDU), Amritsar and Punjabi University, Patiala.
But central universities like Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh, and Jawarhar Lal Nehru University, New Delhi, have a much lower fee structure than PU. “The only universities which are charging lesser than us are central universities-AMU, BHU and JNU-which have much higher budget allocation. We are short of funds, we have to devise ways to increase the income,” said PU V-C Arun Grover.