Panjab University gasping for funds, fee hike a necessary step
The 12.5% hike in fee by Panjab University has made headlines in the tricity, giving the impression that it is unreasonable. But the truth is that the oldest university in the region is gasping for funds to stay afloat, and needs to do everything possible to mop up resources for its survival.punjab Updated: Mar 29, 2017 14:53 IST
The 12.5% hike in fee by Panjab University has made headlines in the tricity, giving the impression that it is unreasonable. But the truth is that the oldest university in the region is gasping for funds to stay afloat, and needs to do everything possible to mop up resources for its survival. The hike, which will fetch the varsity an additional sum of Rs 12.5-13 crore, may not be enough for the varsity to tide over its crisis but it is a good start.
The university’s catchment area is prosperous to say the least. A stray look at the number and kinds of cars used by the students provides an ample proof of their economic status. The students who can afford such swanky wheels can certainly shell out a heftier fees. Also, PU has already taken care to ensure that it doesn’t jeopardise the future of economically weaker students by proposing a rebate of 50% for students with an annual family income of up to Rs 5 lakh.
Any step to shore up the university’s finances must be lauded as it will not only ensure that the varsity maintains its academic standards, but also help in revamping its infrastructure, besides boosting research. The austerity measures suggested by senators on Sunday prove that the teachers have their heart in the right place. Now it’s the turn of the students and the state governments to contribute.
Last year, the varsity had increased the fee by 5%, which had helped it garner Rs 38 crore. The PU think tank, set up to suggest measures to improve the varsity’s finances, had suggested a hike of tuition fees and examination fees by 20% for 2016-17, 25% for 2017-18 and 25% for 2018-19. The only universities that are charging less than PU are central universities, such as Aligarh Muslim University, Banaras Hindu University and Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU), which have a much higher budget allocation.
It’s unfortunate that the university, whose alumni include the likes of former prime minister Manmohan Singh and a galaxy of industrialists doing fabulously well across the world, hasn’t been able to get any help from them. PU is in a deep financial crisis — its budget for 2017-18 shows a deficit of Rs 244 crore — the alumni must rise to the occasion and rescue the university. So must the state governments of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, which feed on this varsity.