Srinagar, Dec 11: The Kashmir University (KU) authorities seem to have developed a novel idea to earn quick bucks from unemployed and poor youth of Jammu and Kashmir. A fee notification issued by the University shows how.
The notification issued by Deputy Controller of Exams regarding “Special Examination” and “Division Improvement and Additional” for various Undergraduate (UG) programmes has kept the examination fee for per-paper as Rs 2600 which the candidates have to deposit online through “Debit Card/Credit Card/Rupay Card/UPI.”
As per the notice available on the KU website, the Special Examination is being conducted for B.A/B.Sc/BCA/B.A. Honours/Fazila/B.Sc IT, including Division Improvement and Additional for 1st, 2nd and 3rd year for the Session 2000-2014.
Soon after the notification went viral on social media, the University authorities have been slammed by the candidates who are alleging “loot and extortion in the name of a special examination”.
“The fee of Rs 2600 per-paper is pure loot. I am a Ph.D holder and intended to go for division improvement in three papers of my UG degree. But when I saw the fee fixed by the University per-paper, I decided not to apply for division improvement. Where shall I get 7800 for three papers when I don’t earn a penny?” said Aqib Amin, a distraught student who has now appealed to the LG Manoj Sinha to look into this “extortion” by the KU authorities in the name of the examination.
Another candidate, Mohammad Mushtaq, who is desirous of applying for a mercy chance examination said, “I have been waiting for this special examination to be conducted for many years, but the fee structure shattered my plan to appear in it. I come from a poor family and cannot afford such a huge fee for four papers, which amounts to nearly 10,000 rupees.”
Mushtaq said these “special examinations” are held mainly for unemployed youth or those from downtrodden sections of the society and the fee structure for them should be less than the fee charged for regular examinations.
“University authorities are insensitive to the unemployed status of students in Jammu and Kashmir. Hope LG sir personally intervenes in the matter and stops this exploitation of educated unemployed youth,” he said.
Like Mushtaq and Aqib, scores of other students mocked the University authorities for seeking money through “Credit and Debit Cards” from unemployed youth who don’t even have bank accounts in their name.
“Students appearing in regular examinations are asked for Rs 250 examination fee per-paper. The same fee structure should be followed for Special Examination and Division Improvement also. Even private Universities in the country do not ask for such a hefty amount as examination fee,” the candidates said.
Some years ago, the University authorities had to face a similar public criticism for charging Rs 5000 examination fee per-paper from candidates for ‘mercy chance’ examination. Later, the authorities had to eat a humble pie and revoke the order after massive outrage.
“KU is a public university and its authorities should be sensitive to the ground realities. Recently, LG cancelled the recruitment process of Assistant Registrars and Junior Assistants for which 6000 candidates had applied. The University pocketed the whole application fee money from such a huge number of candidates instead of returning it back to them,” said one applicant, adding that “the KU authorities should be held accountable for such bad orders which are against the interests of youth and society.”
When contacted, Controller of Examinations KU, Dr Majid Zaman, told Greater Kashmir that the conduct of the Special Examination was approved by the Vice Chancellor in the larger interest of the students who were pressing hard for it.
"A committee was constituted by the University to determine the fees, whose recommendations were implemented by the Office of Controller of Examinations," he said.
However, Dr Majid said that since the students have requested for concession in the examination fee, "I will submit their plea to the Vice-Chancellor on Monday for favourable consideration."
He said any extension required for submission for the fee will also be considered.
In the evening, KU Vice Chancellor Prof Nilofer Khan said she will have the matter examined.
"I will look into it," she told Greater Kashmir.