From our Correspondent
TINSUKIA, September 18: As fallout of the education department’s failure to keep up with its commitment to release fees outstanding to the colleges within two months, which the government owed to the colleges following its directive to make admission totally free in HS and degree first year, the colleges now are facing dire fund crunch and are uble to even pay salary to contractual employees, including teachers. Developmental works have come to a grinding halt.
According to college sources, this directive of the DHE, Assam came into effect at the instance of State Education Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma when the admission process had already began. The earlier practice was to refund 70 per cent of the ‘tuition fees’ only while the rest 30 per cent was retained by the college to meet contingency expenses. The institutions, besides tuition fee, also realize other fees like development, students’ union, library, examition, etc. at the time of admission which is collectively termed as admission fee. For those colleges which had completed the admission process prior to the directive had refunded the fees with a hope of it being reimbursed and the others are waiting for the education department to release the fees as per estimate submitted to the government. In either case, an uncertainty looms large over the government’s move while the institutions are currently at the receiving end. Usually fees under various heads collected at the time of admission are transferred to various funds maintained by the colleges within a month to facilitate proper disbursement and payment under respective needs.
But whimsical and arbitrary directive without perceiving its effect created serious problems for the institutions. The directive issued by the DHE did not stipulate any specific guidelines nor there was any policy pertaining to retention of funds, said a source. As a consequence of this policy, most of the colleges failed to undertake any developmental works. While condition of small and medium colleges that used to sustain on students’ fees is pitiable, the colleges with higher enrolments have been utilizing reserve funds, which are reportedly depleting day-by-day. Most of the colleges set their annual planning and budgetary allocation in anticipation of fund generation through fees collection, stated a retired Vice-Principal of a reputed college. In Tinsukia district, taking 10 provincialized colleges together-Tinsukia, Tinsukia Commerce, Women’s, Jata, Digboi, Digboi Mahila, Margherita, Ledu, Doomdooma and Sadiya, with an average of 700 enrolment in HS-I and TDC-I levels, a whooping amount of more than Rs 2.5 crore is lying in the government coffer, of which 70 per cent of the tuition fee (less than Rs 300 per student) is supposed to be retained by the government while rest of the amount is to be returned. A college Principal on condition of anonymity urged upon the DHE for early release of applicable pending admission fees.