Engineering and medicine have always held high career aspirations for students and big business stakes for private colleges in the two states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. With less number of seats and colleges, medicine ends up becoming more competitive and pricey.
More than two lakh engineers and 6,000 medical graduates are churned out annually from these states. Many of the engineering students knock at higher studies in the US or flood the IT market in the country. Medical graduates too look for greener pastures abroad or rough it out in the corporate hospitals or private nursing homes.
This has led to a proliferation of private engineering and medical/dental colleges in the states. A good number of these are owned and run by political leaders from all mainline parties, leading corporates/trusts and educationists.
Relief to many
In this background, it should not be a surprise that the Presidential ordinance keeping at bay the implementation of NEET (The National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test), brought major relief to students and management of private colleges and resulted in credit taking by political leaders.
The latest developments imply that the students from the Telangana have to write two tests – Eamcet and NEET – their counterparts in AP have completed Eamcet and have to take the NEET exam slated for July 24. State government-run medical colleges are exempted from the Supreme Court mandated NEET exam for this year with the ordnance.
If NEET becomes mandatory, private medical colleges stand the risk of losing their hold on filling up seats in the management and NRI quota, which run up to more than 30 per cent.
So far, private medical colleges in both AP and Telangana managed discretion and questionable methods to fill up seats thereby ensuring that over 90 per cent of the students ended up from the two states. Similar was the case with NRI quota, wherein students from the US, the UK or Middle East, belonging to these states filled up.
As and when NEET kicks in, the merit in the all-India common entrance exam will determine the basis for selection. It would also mean that students from other states could get admitted in the private colleges in these states.
This, in short, will curtail the freedom and scope of managements to fix the annual fee structure, capitation fee etc. In addition, it is common knowledge that the managements are able to tweak the admission procedures in a manner that helps them ‘pick and choose’ some candidates willing to pay hefty capitation fees. Unofficial estimates quote as high a figure of ₹50 lakh to 75 lakh in some of the top corporate-run medical colleges in Hyderabad.
According to information available, a private medical college in Telangana charges 9 lakh per annum for a student admitted under management quota, while it’s 11 lakh in AP. This again will be different for NRI quota students. The fee structure also varies in different states.
If you look at the medical education scenario in the two states — AP has a total of 27 colleges of which 12 are government-run and the number of seats on offer are around 3,750.
In Telangana, the total is 20 of which the government-owned are just 5 and the number of seats is 2,300. The competition, however, is extremely high with over a couple of lakh students writing the tests.
Several top corporates like the Apollo Hospitals Group, Kamineni, Mediciti, Deccan College, Malla Reddy in Telangana and Gitam, Narayana (owned by P Narayana a Cabinet Minister in Naidu’s govt) and NRI group in AP along with several Trusts floated by corporates, educationists etc., run the private medical/dental colleges. In addition, dozens of well-known institutes like Narayana Education Society, Chaitanya, Vigyan, Gayathri, Vision 40 specialise in coaching students to competitive exams.
It was no wonder that the State Minister for HR in the AP government, Ganta Srinivas, claimed at a press conference that Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had played a key role in getting the ‘breather’ for students and private college managements from NEET this year.