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NRI parents upset at education fee hike back home
By Ashraf Padanna March 24, 2017
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TRIVANDRUM: Nonresident Indian parents have started a campaign against a six-fold hike in the fees for their children getting admissions to technical colleges this year.

They say the authorities have made the fee structure of the five-percent supernumerary quota for the children of Indian workers in the Gulf (CIWG), ordered in 2004 and implemented last year, after sitting on it for more than a decade. The law says CIWGs should pay the fee applicable to the general merit back home, but the brochure published for the new academic year for special admissions prescribes a huge tuition fee of US$8000 a year.

“My son is preparing for the next month’s SAT (scholastic aptitude test). But I can’t afford its costs,” said a parent from Kuwait, who does not want to be identified. “It defeats the very purpose of the quota.”

Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee announced the quota at the annual diaspora conclave in New Delhi, as a tribute to the workers in the Gulf who were contributing half of its foreign exchange reserves then.

The rationale behind it was to improve the quality of workforce exports and the proportional increase in remittances.

The All India Council for Technical Education, the regulatory body soon issued a notification setting up the quota.

But he lost that year’s national elections and his successor, Dr Manmohan Singh, did not take the initiative to implement it.

“We were all having high expectations when the present government headed by Narendra Modi, who considers Vajpayee as his mentor, took a bold step to start making admissions in the quota last year,” he said.

“We suspect some bureaucrats are behind the present move. We have begun an online petition at change.org and are planning to place a request the Prime Minister and the foreign minister.”

The brochure says children of NRIs from the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran and Iraq are eligible for admissions on their SAT2 scores, the cutoff of which has also been increased drastically, under the Direct Admissions to Students Abroad (DASA) 2017 to premier state-run technological schools. Applications are open from April 1, and admissions begin in June.

“Last year it was almost on par with the resident Indians (US$1400 a year) for engineering seats. Now it is on par with foreign students,” he said.
 

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