The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked colleges and universities to be ‘sympathetic’ regarding the fee payments. The governing body in a recent notice said that it has received complaints from students and parents that several colleges and higher education institutes are ‘insisting upon immediate payment’ of the annual fee and exam fee among other payments.
Taking cognizance of the situation, the commission asked higher education institutes to consider the matter “sympathetically and if feasible, may consider offering alternative payment options to students till the situation returns to normal”. UGC also asked colleges to “consider individual requests from students, received if any, concerning payment of fee, in a considerate manner, keeping in view the present COVID-I9 Pandemic.”
The UGC had recently set-up a task force and an online grievance portal wherein they have received representations from teachers and parents. According to UGC, several parents have reached out using these platforms and said that” due to the financial hardship being faced due to the lockdown, they are not in a position to make payment of the fee.”
Calling the situation unprecedentedly difficult times, the UGC asked colleges to plan activities by giving the highest priority to the health, safety, and interest of stakeholders. It also reiterated that colleges and universities need to set-up task force to handle situations arising due to the coronavirus pandemic and solving these issues in a time-bound manner.
Earlier, the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) had asked colleges not to hike fee for the next academic session. It had also directed the institutes under its preview to pay salaries to its teachers on time. The AICTE suggested institutes not to worsen the ‘national emergency’ by delaying or cancelling salary payments.
The Human Resource and Development (HRD) Minister too had asked IITs, NITs and IIITs to not hike their tuition fee. “Even though IITs and NITs are autonomous and financially self-regulatory institutes, we still had requested them to not take up the annual fee hike for this year considering the coronavirus pandemic. I had asked chairpersons to convey this to all the institute heads and directors and hope that this sentiment would be respected,” the minister had said.
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