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Pradeep Singh

The Odisha government's recent instruction to ensure that the strength of self-financing courses (SFCs) in universities should not exceed 20 per cent of the strength of regular courses is an act against the poor students in the State, alleged the Chhatra Congress, the students' wing of the State Congress on Saturday.

Accusing the State government of commercialising education, Congress alleged a secret nexus between the State government and private educational institutions. The new norms will only lead to the closure of several programmes in the government universities thereby benefitting the private institutions, claimed the students' wing.

"The State government continues its system to support the corporate houses and education mafia by taking money from them. Students will now have to pay Rs 15 to Rs 20 lakh for courses in private institutions which they could have pursued by paying between Rs 40000-Rs 1.5 lakh in state-run universities," alleged spokesperson of the Chhatra Congress, Biswa Bhushan Mohapatra. 

Due to a single wrong decision of the Odisha government, a student will now have to shell out course fee of around 10 to 15 times more, he added.

A student of self-financing course n Ravenshaw University said, “There is a huge difference in the course fees being charged by the government and the private colleges. Students are immensely benefitted by pursuing self-financing courses in government institutions.”

"I am able to pursue this course here (Ravenshaw) as the fees is far low than what is charged by private educational institutions," she said.

Asima Sahoo, Chairman of Ravenshaw University P.G Council, said there were instructions from the office of the Chancellor to all universities in the State that the students' strength of SFCs shall not exceed 20 per cent of the total student strength of regular courses. 

"As per the order, we have reduced seats of SFCs. Besides, we also had to shut some departments. In our under-graduate classes, we have stopped two programmes- Data Science Management and Bachelor's Programme in Journalism and Mass Coummunication. We have also put an end to five PG programmes- Analytical Chemistry, Bio-Chemistry, Public Health, Electronics and Telecommunication, and Entrepreneurship. This apart we have to decrease seats of different programmes," she added.

Raising concerns over the decrease in the number of seats in SFCs and closure of different programmes, educationist Amiya Mohanty said this decision of the government is going to hurt the poor students most, and, the private educational institutions will start ruling the roost in offering self-financing courses.

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