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Just 50% in HSC? Go get a degree in medicine from K’taka

Tina PAREKH

Wednesday 26 May 2004, by PAREKH*Tina

AHMEDABAD: A low score in HSC science should not mean end of the road for students these days. For, they are no more condemned to do a BSc course and end up in a laboratory as a technician. Now it’s time for ’have money, will get degree’. What with self-financed colleges in Karnataka and Maharashtra providing an alternative - a seat in a professional course at a hefty fee, marks don’t matter.

Self-financed colleges in these two states, offering berths in medical, dental, physiotherapy, pharmacy, engineering and a variety of other courses, look for an eligibility criteria of just 50 per cent pass marks.

So to secure admission to a medical college in any of these two education hubs, a student needs to shell out tuition fee ranging from Rs 2 to Rs 3 lakh a year and donation, or admission fee as the colleges prefer to call it, of about Rs 10-15 lakh. For a dentistry course, the fee ranges between Rs 1.75-Rs 2 lakh, and the donation comes to about Rs 8-10 lakh. Engineering courses come at anything between Rs 40-60,000, with the donation going up to Rs 5 lakh in good colleges.

Several agents in the state have now begun marketing universities of these two states to cash in on the growing demand among students here. "We book almost 40-50 seats from the quota provided to the college managements and then strike a deal with the trustees. We take a token amount of Rs 10,000 from students, but our main income is from the colleges that pay us about Rs 1 lakh," reveals one agent.

But parents are not complaining. With the market becoming competitive, agents take parents for a dekko of the SFIs where their wards wish to seek admission. And to woo them, agents even take care of their lodging and boarding and even go the extent of making Gujarati food available to suit their palates in a new state.

"My brother is studying pharmacy at Rajiv Gandhi University in Shimoga in Karnataka. I am planning to go there too. Although studying in another state will be a little expensive, I am glad that I will be able to pursue the course of my choice," says Vishal Shah. Shah secured 58 per cent in HSC science and wants to study pharmacy, a course he feels would be difficult to pursue in Gujarat. He will pay a fee of about Rs 60,000 every year and Rs 20,000 as living expenses. He will also be paying Rs 1-2 lakh as donation and Rs 4,000 as commission to his agent here.

But when the state government is increasing seats in professional colleges, why are students not interested in studying here? "That is because SFIs here are new. In Karnataka and Maharashtra, colleges are almost three decades old. In Gujarat, SFIs began being set up only since 1995. So they have yet to prove their credibility, hence parents hesitate in taking admission here," says an agent, Dr Vasant Patel.

The colleges that are thronged by students from Gujarat are Acharya Institutions of Medicine, Physiotherapy and Pharmacy, Bangalore, Dayanand Sagar Engineering Institute in Bangalore, R V College of Engineering Institute in Bangalore, Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Pune Institute of Technology and Kolhapur Institute of Technology, among others.

See online : The Times of India

P.S.

in The Times of India, Wednesday, May 26, 2004.

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