Government must step in to resolve Hyderabad's JNTU crisis

HYDERABAD: Students caught in the tangle over college affiliations. It’s time for the government to step in and resolve the intensifying row between Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University (JNTU) and private engineering colleges, which has been taking a devastating toll on the careers of students for more than a decade.

The latest spat over payment of service fee dues worth Rs 60 crore has cast a cloud over the fate of thousands of engineering students, forcing educationists to call on the government to intervene immediately and resolve the crisis.

The controversies, resulting in complete confusion, is nothing new as every year dozens of new colleges spring up and many among the existing 180 (approx) colleges seek affiliation for new courses with the varsity . While unsuspecting students get enrolled for new courses in hordes, the colleges keep mum in the hope of getting clearance easily. Then the entire cat and mouse game begins.

Records dating back to 10 years show how JNTU has been cancelling affiliation of many colleges on the grounds of poor facilities, but the problems have always remained. In 2007, the varsity cancelled affiliation of 12 affiliation of 12 colleges, which did not have adequate number of computers, licensed software, computer labs and other facilities.

While the affiliation was lost in March-April, students had to wait till September to participate in the second phase of counselling. About eight colleges got back the affiliation after the committee’s re-inspection. But many students, who had paid lakhs of rupees to get admitted to these institutes, got disillusioned and some even opted out of engineering.

Cut to 2015, the issues continue to plague the education sector, with some colleges even getting fake staff list to clear the inspections.

Last year, with the high court cracking down on 174 private engineering colleges for poor infrastructure, thousands of students waited for months before colleges admitted that they were staring at a shutdown. College managements complained that a majority of them were not even issued show-cause notices before being dened permission to take part in Eamcet counselling.

In view of the massive impact on careers of students already studying in these colleges, educationists want the government to look into the issue proactively and help chalk out a better strategy for yearly inspections.

Now, the latest flare-up over the service fee dues could snowball into another controversy as Rs 60 crore is no nominal amount. While JNTU says it shot two reminders to all colleges seeking payment of the common service fee before October 28, the colleges have been knocking the doors of the government to release money for fee reimbursements.

Staring at withdrawal of exams as the varsity is adamant on not releasing stationery and hall tickets, students are all set to suffer without having the slightest inkling what hit them. In order to safeguard the interests of students, the government should immediately take steps to release the money due to colleges and sort out the fiasco over the common service fee.

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