The association of technical polytechnics in Tamil Nadu has sought a financial relief of Rs 50,000 crore for 50 lakh students pursuing higher education covering engineering, technology, hotel management, pharmacy and management studies.
In a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking financial relief the Association of Managements of Aided Polytechnic Colleges, Tamil Nadu stated that this package will help students, especially those pursuing technical studies in colleges located in rural India during Covid-19.
“The financial relief package would enable students to meet their fee obligation to colleges and purchase computers with internet to pursue studies in the coming semesters in e-learning mode,” the association President Mr C Valliappa stated.
This relief alone can ensure sustainability of technical education by providing relief to the institutions, parents and students, the appeal adds.
Nearly, 77.8% colleges in the country are privately managed, comprising 64.3% un-aided and 13.5% aided. These privately managed colleges entirely depend on the fee collected from 18 to 23-year olds.
The letter notes that the fee-paying capacity of students enrolled in 39,931 Colleges and 10,725 standalone Higher Education Institutions is deeply affected due to the Covid crisis.
Rural India is home to 60.53% of the 52,000 higher education institutions in India. To be sure, annual per capita income in rural India is Rs. 40,925 according to the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Statistics and Program Implementation (MOSPI) reply to a question in Rajya Sabha on December 2, 2019.
The onset of pandemic and closure of education institutions resulted in a backlog of fee collection for the academic session 2019-20. As per government guidelines, the fee for the ensuing semester cannot be collected. Also, fresh admissions for the academic year 2020-21 cannot begin and the class start dates too are uncertain.
The association considers Government guidelines to pay salary to all its employees as an appropriate and just measure. However, to support the livelihood of an estimated million plus teaching, administrative and support staff in these institutions it looks to government support for interest free soft loans from commercial banks.