Seats in Intermediate colleges are all set to double to 44 lakh in the state with government inviting private institutions to set up new ones at a time when various stakeholders, including the state-run institutes have sought a ban on sanction of new colleges. There are 5,800 junior colleges in the state and half the seats in these intermediate colleges do not get filled up due to lack of students, educationists said. Critics said the move will only increase cut-throat competition between private college managements who even offer incentives to students for joining their institutes. The last date for submitting application for new colleges is May 29. Several representations have gone to the government saying that an average of 10 lakh students pass out of SSC (Class X) every year, and even existing colleges are left with vacancies. “Two of the big brands, which own most of the 4,000 private junior colleges in the state, stand to gain out of the new notification as they would set up colleges in the more lucrative urban areas,” said P Madhusudan Reddy, general secretary, AP Government Junior College Lecturers’ Association. “But no one would be willing to set up colleges in 56 rural mandals which do not have even a single junior college,” he said.
Reddy added that government junior colleges will be most affected due to private college boom. There are 820 government junior colleges and 170 aided junior colleges in the state. With the increase in the number of private junior colleges, the number of students in these colleges is expected to drop further. According to Board of Intermediate Education (BIE) rules, the new intermediate colleges need a nominal approval from the board, which involves construction of buildings with 8,000 square feet built-up area and a playground. Apart from this, the buildings need to have fire safety mechanisms in place along with laboratories. Interestingly, as per the BIE norms, a total of 2,000 intermediate colleges could come up in urban areas where there could be more number of takers for Intermediate seats. Educationists said the move will further cause a drain of public funds into private pockets as all private college students belonging to weaker sections are currently eligible for fee reimbursement scheme. “The fee reimbursement scheme has been misused by several private intermediate college managements to get money from the government. There were incidents of fake student identities being used to draw funds under the scheme. Why would the government encourage private managements by giving them a free hand in setting up colleges,” rued a senior administrator of a government college in the city.