The Punjab government is set to bring in an umbrella Act to regulate admission and fee structure in various private professional colleges in the state. The institutes that will come under the Act include all private engineering colleges, education colleges (offering B Ed courses) besides polytechnics and industrial training institutes (ITIs), among others.
The move, mooted by the department of technical education, was given the nod by chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal at a meeting on Tuesday. A draft of the proposed Act was also discussed.
Currently, there is an Act in place for regulating admissions and fees for medical and dental colleges in Punjab. The Punjab Private Health Sciences Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admission, Fixation of Fee and Making of Reservation) Act was enacted in 2006 following a Supreme Court judgment.
But, there is no legislation in place to control the manner in which students are admitted into professional courses or the fee that is to be charged by the colleges offering these courses.
However, there is a fee regulatory committee for technical colleges that fixes a uniform fee structure to be charged by engineering colleges and polytechnics. Admission to these colleges is regulated through the centralised mechanism under Punjab Technical University in case of engineering colleges and the state technical education board in case of polytechnics and ITIs.
All courses included
The proposed legislation, while replacing the current system, will go beyond these two or three kinds of institutes and include all courses notified as professional irrespective of the level of the college or institute offering them. If a skill development course being offered at the school level to Classes 9 and 10 students is notified as a professional course, its fee structure and admission criterion will come under the ambit of the proposed Act. Colleges offering BEd and MEd degrees will also be controlled by the Act.
Sources said the Act would also allow colleges and institutes offering the same course to have a differential fee structure. An institute imparting the course using world-class facilities will be allowed to charge a higher fee, while another that does not have these facilities will charge a lower fee for the same course.
The admission criterion through a centralised government controlled system will remain the same. The Act will also lay down rules for admission to the management quota and NRI seats and fee to be charged from such students.
The Act provides for the appointment of a nodal officer to entertain complaints with regard to violations of provisions of the Act and also take a suo motu notice of these. The Act will provide for initiating inquiries into these complaints, and also penalise the institute by withdrawing its affiliation, imposing a fine and cancelling admissions.
What proposed act will do
Regulate admission and fee structure in private engineering colleges, ITIs, polytechnics, BEd colleges
Replace current system of fee regulatory committee
Have a nodal officer to entertain complaints
Penalise the institute by withdrawing its affiliation