June 4, 2007
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, June 3: Meritorious students hailing from economically backward families, women and the physically challenged will get free education in engineering colleges.
The All-India Council for Technical Education has earmarked 10 per cent of seats in engineering colleges for "tuition fee waiver scheme". These 10 per cent of seats are in addition to the total intake of the respective colleges. The admission for these students is through convener and is purely based on merit and economic backwardness. The upper income limit fixed to qualify for the scheme is Rs 2.5 lakh per annum.
The State government has welcomed the AICTE's move as it will benefit at least 10,000 poor students in the State alone. The AICTE, acting under Section 10(e) of AICTE Act which empowers it to formulate schemes for promoting technical education for women, handicapped and weaker sections of society, has decided to introduce the scheme all over the country.
The proposed scheme will be applicable to the students of all AICTE approved technical institutions offering bachelors programmes in engineering, pharmacy, architecture and applied arts and crafts and diploma programmes of three years duration in all disciplines.
The scheme is purely voluntary but engineering colleges have welcomed it. "We do not have to set up more infrastructure. All we have to do is to provide six more chairs and one or two more computers. We are not losing on the economics because the no tuition fee seats are in addition to our regular intake strength," said Abid Rasool Khan, chairman of Mannan Institute of Science and Technology.
According to Dr K Narayana Rao, AICTE member-secretary, the waiver is limited to the tuition fee as approved by the State-Level Fee Committee for self-financing institutions and by the government for the government and government-aided institutions. All other fees except tuition fee have to be paid by the beneficiary.
"In the event of non-availability of students in this category, the benefit will be given to any other candidate of other categories according to merit. An award letter is this respect will be issued by the respective institution with the approval of the competent authority for admissions," he pointed out.
The institution, in turn, will be allowed to admit 10 per cent of its sanctioned intake or the number of actual tuition fee waiver granted by it, whichever is lower, as an additional intake in the same discipline/branch of study. The colleges will have to give an undertaking to the government that they will not charge tuition fee from these students for the duration of the course.
The State governments concerned will announce in the admission brochures the names of the colleges which have volunteered to provide free admissions to meritorious students.
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