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Enrollment dips to historic low as Rajouri’s BGSBU Engineering College hikes fee

SRINAGAR: Imagine a government-run college charging more fee than a private institution!

Dreams of hundreds of engineering aspirants from underprivileged families have crumbled after Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (BGSBU) hiked the annual fee by over 23 percent.

Established in 2008 in Rajouri, the BGSBU Engineering College had kindled a ray of hope among the students of downtrodden families in the Pir Panjal region. Twelve years on, the students are reluctant to join the university given the exorbitant fee.

From Rs 40,000 in 2012 to Rs 1.04 lakh in 2020, the tuition fee for B.Tech progamme has increased multifold in all these years.  Even the annual hostel fee has reached Rs 44000.

As a result, enrollment has fallen sharply. Against the intake capacity of 300 seats, only 86 students enrolled for B.Tech programme last year. In fact, enrollment has been decreasing at an alarming rate.  From 245 students in 2015 to 154 in 2019 and 86 in 2020, the wheel has come full circle.

“BGSBU is receiving a lot of funds from UGC and state government. Despite that, the fee of students is being increased every passing day. The fee in 2008 was Rs 40,000 and today it is Rs 1-04 lakh. Students prefer private colleges outside J&K,” said Guftar Ahmed, a social activist from Pir Panjal region.

Guftar said the engineering college has an intake capacity of 300 students in all the branches. “However, only 86 students preferred this college. The same thing is happening with other departments of the university. Hostel fee of the university is also constantly increasing,” he said.

However, BGBSU said they are getting a small part of the funding from the government and the rest is being generated from the fee of students.

“There has been an overall decline in engineering enrollment all across the county. BGSBU is not the only institution. To compare BGSBU with other universities, which are fully funded by the government, is not fair. We are the university where we get a part of the funding from the government. The remaining part is something that is being generated from the fees. Not that we are happy with this situation of having a little higher fee,” Prof Iqbal Parwez, Dean Academic Affairs, BGSBU, told The Kashmir Monitor.

Prof Iqbal, however, said they are trying to review the policy and rationalize the fee as much as possible. “This is our compulsion. if we do not have this fee, we will not able to meet salaries and other things. We are looking into it and trying to review our policies. We are trying to rationalize it as much as possible. But you cannot compare the situation with other universities,” he said.