AP Government plans to grade engineering colleges

The state government which is in deep trouble over the fee reimbursement arrears that amount to nearly `3,500 crore, is once again talking about a “grading” system for engineering colleges apparently to rein in the college managements. To this effect, it has directed the high-power committee set up for the purpose to grade the colleges within two weeks.

The managements, meanwhile, see it as an “arm-twisting tactic” adopted by the government to create panic among the colleges which are demanding the fee reimbursement arrears.

The government had appointed a three-member high-power committee in August last year to grade the colleges based on their faculty and infrastructure after it received several complaints that majority of the engineering colleges in the state had failed to comply with the AICTE norms despite running for several years.

Sources said that the government wants to grade engineering colleges into four categories. Top colleges will be graded “category A” and average colleges “category B”. The remaining below-average colleges will be graded as “C” and the rest will fall under the D category which are “unfit” to run classes.

The government plans to release fee reimbursement arrears on priority basis to colleges depending on the grades. While A-grade colleges will get 100 per cent of the arrears, the B-grade ones will get 50 per cent and the C-grade colleges will get 25 per cent arrears immediately. The D-grade colleges will be issued notices to comply with the minimum norms to claim the funds.

As per official estimates, less than 70 colleges out of 700 engineering colleges in the state fall under “category A”. A major chunk of the colleges are sub-standard and can be “checked” while releasing the funds.

Sources said that the government wants to bring to the notice of the Supreme Court the existing “ground realities” in colleges with regard to the quality of engineering education being offered to students after claiming huge amounts from the government. This will be done as part of its affidavit to be filed before the SC within four weeks.
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