Capitation fees: The stench of corruption in the Indian body academic

Varkala in Kerala. India.

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This past week I have been travelling in the southern Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

The growth is palpable and vibrant. But it is chaotic and uncontrolled – and probably uncontrollable, The best that can be hoped for is that movement is in the general direction desired but it is futile to to try and exercise any micro-control. The speed is such that there is no time for consolidation, for reflection, for developing values or standards or for any feedback. Feed forward is the only thing that can keep up.

But in every field of operation – whether construction or government or industry or financial institutions or academia – the stench of corruption is contained under a thin veneer of apparent sophistication. The overpowering fundamental value which gets free reign is greed.

What has become apparent to me is that in spite of many good intentions by government, the shortage of supply in the face of an ever-increasing demand for education has allowed the unfettered growth of  private colleges and universities. But the demand is only used as a vehicle for satisfying greed not for satisfying educational needs.

All degrees and especially post graduate degrees in medicine, engineering and IT related subjects from private colleges in India are granted solely for the payment of a capitation fee.

Capitation fee refers to the unlawful collection of payment by educational bodies in exchange for a seat in the institution. It is also known as donations. This practice is popular in private colleges and universities in India, especially those that grant baccalaureate degrees in Engineering, IT and the sciences. This is an example of institutionalized corruption prevalent in India.The practice goes mostly unnoticed because the board/owners of these institutions hold political/financial powers and also the parents who pay the donations are more than happy to do so.

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines capitation as follows:

The payment of a fee or a grant to a doctor, school, etc., the amount being determined by the number of patients, pupils etc. Origin (denoting the counting of heads)

The Kerala Self Financing Professional Colleges (Prohibition of Capitation Fees and Procedure for Admission and Fixation of Fees) Act 2004 defines capitation fees as follows.

“capitation fees” means any amount by whatever name called, whether in cash or in kind paid or collected or received directly or indirectly in addition to the fees determined under section 4.

The Supreme Court Judgement in 1993 in the Unni Krishnan Case declared that charging capitation fees was illegal.

But capitation fees are now the only way of  getting a seat in a private college. It guarantees a degree will be awarded. Academic staff  have no say in the selection of students. That selection is reserved for the owners and they usually auction the seats to the highest bidder. Capitation fees are unrecorded, undeclared and paid in cash. Academic standards are irrelevant.

This is not to say that competent engineers and doctors do not exist. But a degree from a private college is an empty thing. It only proves that a capitation fee was paid and is totally silent regarding the capability or competence of the person receiving a degree.

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3 Responses to “Capitation fees: The stench of corruption in the Indian body academic”

  1. Many faculty members involved in fake institute at IIT Kharagpur « The k2p blog Says:

    […] The stench of corruption in the Indian body academic is not restricted to the private “education industry” but is present even in the most respectable institutions. […]

  2. At least 8 more papers from biotechnology department at Kalasalingam University retracted « The k2p blog Says:

    […] Capitation fees: The stench of corruption in the Indian body academic […]

  3. Another case of misconduct at a private Indian college: Plagiarism at Nagpur College of Engineering « The k2p blog Says:

    […] Capitation fees: The stench of corruption in the Indian body academic  Advertisement Eco World Content From Across The Internet. Featured on EcoPressed How an Artificial Leaf Could Boost Solar Power Share this:StumbleUponDiggTwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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