IN A RATHER daring move to shore up its revenue stream, the Guru Nanak Dev University will now charge a whopping Rs 25,000 per subject from a student wanting to clear his compartment examination. Students with compartments in more than one subject will have to shell out Rs 25,000 per examination paper, an official announcement made by the GNDU said.
Termed as a "One Time Special Chance,” students from 2011 onwards who were placed in the compartment category and have reappear/reappears, will be able to appear again, provided they can afford a fee of Rs. 25000 per paper. There is no provision of reducing the fee for any student, irrespective of financial status or any other reason.
"Why don't they end the drama of a university and simply auction the degrees to the highest bidders?"
Dr. Manoj Kumar, Professor Incharge (Exams) said students can apply for this "special chance" for December 2017 from October 6 to October 23, and no form will be entertained after that deadline.
In order to garner maximum revenue for the cash-strapped university, the GNDU Syndicate has opened the "Give Rs 25,000 per paper, and clear your compartment" scheme to everyone, including the students under Credit Based Continuous Evaluation Grading System, Semester System and Annual System.
Committed to the "studies and research on the life and teachings of Guru Nanak" and "spreading education among educationally backward classes and communities" — as per its mission statement on its own website, the GNDU's super-duper Pay Top Dollar For Golden Chance Scheme has left many students high and dry. Coming in the season of farmer suicides, the high cash-for-education planning may cost the politicians involved dearly.
The GNDU claimed that "in its eventful history of 43 years (it) has taken long strides in spreading the message of the Guru," but experts said spreading education among poor students may be slightly difficult if university charges dollar rates.
The decision was taken by the GNDU Syndicate, headed by Vice Chancellor Jaspal Singh Sandhu. Members include Registrar and Dean of the GNDU; Principal Secretary Punjab for Higher Education; MLAs Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Tarsem Singh, Harminder Singh Gill and Amit Vij; Agriculture Expert and Chancellor of Central University, Punjab Dr S S Johl, apart from other academics and a bunch of principals.
Established in 1969 to mark the advent of 500 years of Guru Nanak, the GNDU, which actually acknowledges on its website that educationally, "a large area is still beyond the reach of the rural poor" and that the university has been making efforts "to be proactive in its reach to the rural masses," will have to explain hard the Rs 25,000 per examination paper price tag.
Spreading Guru Nanak's Message, GNDU scheme says Come One Come All. If you failed in one subject, pay Rs 25,000, and appear in exam again. If you failed in two, pay Rs 50,000. NO DISCOUNT. But everyone can avail. Those who failed in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016...GNDU Motto is spreading the message of Guru Nanak.
Punjab Government is already under a very strong attack from farmers and other progressive groups which claim the state has been reducing public spending on health and education, and is instead facilitating five star hotels and private expensive universities.
The Rs 25,000 Special Diwali Sale Education Scheme is not likely to be taken lightly by the opposition or those fighting for a more responsible role of the government in the key domains of education and health.
"Why don't they end the drama of a university and simply auction the degrees to the highest bidders?" said a particularly angry retired professor of the GNDU.
Academic Dons React to GNDU’s Rs 25,000 per Compartment Exam Price Tag
Dr S P Singh, former vice chancellor, GNDU
Dr Akshay Kumar, Professor, Department of English & Cultural Studies, Panjab University
Driven to generate resources at their own ends, the Universities in Punjab are devising indirect means to exact more money from their students. Raising tuition fees is a risky proposition, so the method is to raise fees of different services that the universities offer in the form of examinations, re-evaluation or migration charges. All this is at the cost of quality education. The rich can never fail, the poor shall simply drop out.
Dr Pramod Kumar, Director, Institute of Development and Communication (IDC)
Public sector universities, more so regional, are mandated to provide access to higher education to students on the margins. Charging such high fees and making education inaccessible negates the constitutional requirement. Not only the students but the university establishment itself should protest against the central govt making it conditional for public sector universities to raise some resources on their own to be eligible to get grants from the UGC. It is because of this pressure that higher charges are imposed. Rather, the universities should use the money collected from students to award merit-cum-means scholarships.
Prof Mohammed Khalid, Political Scientist, Panjab University, Chandigarh
Financially starved universities are resorting to such measures. The State is running away from its responsibilities and has no funds for its higher education institutions. Lopsided priorities are dominating the state policy. Nevertheless, charging such exorbitant fee for compartment examination is the worst kind of commercialisation of education. It is a mockery of the education system.
Dr. Pyara Lal Garg, Former Professor; Former Registrar, Baba Farid University of Health Science
The decision to charge such an exorbitant fee is anti-academic, anti-student, and is thoughtless. Such a decision can only be arrived at by shortsighted managements, which act as bad salesman and having a tubular vision due to their squeezed field of vision. Punjab is already starving on account of a dearth of intellectuals and shall be further pushed into a situation where the degrees, even of the universities run by the state, shall be on open sale, and shall be treated like paper purchased with money power instead of being seen as a mark of intellectual strength.
Prof Kuldip Puri, Professor, University School of Open Learning, Panjab University, Chandigarh
It's extremely dismaying. The decision of the university to charge such an irrationally high fee will deprive the economically poor students of this opportunity. One should realize that among such left behind students, many might have been facing genuine problems for which they could not sadly complete their courses in time. This auction kind of a fee structure is a cruel joke on their deprivation. I wish the Guru NANAK DEV University should have refrained from doing it.
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