Srinagar: Two months after The Kashmir Monitor broke the story about underprivileged students unable to afford higher education in the Pir Panjal region, Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (BGSBU) has slashed the fee up to 50 percent for newcomers.
On April 7, The Kashmir Monitor reported how dreams of engineering aspirants from underprivileged families crumbled after BGSBU hiked the annual fee by 23 percent.
“To make education more affordable for one and all, a historic step has been taken by the university to slash fee up to 50 percent,” Prof Iqbal Parwez, Dean Academic Affairs, BGSBU, said in a notification.
BGSBU also tweeted that the fee has been slashed. “A historic decision has been taken by vice-chancellor Prof Akbar Masood regarding the fee structure of various programmes. Up to 50 % fee slashed. Admission for academic session 2021 begins from June 1,” BGSBU said on its official Twitter handle.
The varsity has invited online application from eligible candidate for admission in different graduate and undergraduate programmes including B.Tech, BBA, MBA, MCA, M.Ed, and other courses.
“In a historic decision vice-chancellor of BGSBU has slashed fees up to 50 percent from the academic session 2021. Thank you to all who supported in this matter. BGSBU is our pride and we all should come forward and contribute to its development. Thank you @manjosinha_sb @EduMinOfInidia,” tweeted Guftar Ahmed, a social activist from Pir Panjal region.
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 have been 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 had increased multifold in all these years.
As a result, enrollment had fallen sharply. Against the intake capacity of 300 seats, only 86 students enrolled for the 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 the 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,” Guftar Ahmed, a social activist from Pir Panjal region, had told The Kashmir Monitor.
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 had 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, had 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.