Students’ Fees and Employees’ Salary: Catch 22 Situation of Academic Institutions
| Dr Bala Subramanian R, Bhubaneswar - 18 May 2021

By Dr.Bala Subramanian R

The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) recently issued a notification to all the colleges and universities that no students should be insisted to pay the fees. The notification also instructed the educational institutions to give the salary on time and not remove the employees. While we can understand the humanitarian motive under this notification, there are few concerns in the anomaly of the instructions.

COVID 19 crisis is a perfect example of a 'black swan,' a theory developed by Nicholas Talib. The Black swan is a metaphor for an unexpected, rare, hard to predict event but has large magnitude and consequences. The COVID 19 impacted all aspects of our life. Some sectors experienced super growth, and many of the sectors got poorly affected.  The media reported the sorry state of unorganized retailers, farmers, and organized sectors like theatres and hotels. But the status of the education industry, which was also affected, is underreported. 

 All the educational institutions have adopted online methods of teaching and evaluation since the last years' lockdown. Post lockdown, when some institutions started functioning physical mode, they were forced to discontinue after reports of COVID positive cases inside the campus.

The anomaly in the notification is 'don't demand the fees, and don't delay or cut the salary.' Because of the online classes, the hostel and mess income is not there. As the COVID crisis continued, students who planned for post-graduation post phoned their decision which affected the admissions and the fresh flow of revenue to the institutions.

With the AICTE notifications (that not to insists the students pay the fees), now the institutions can’t even ask (forget demanding) to pay the fees. With the reduction of the fresh flow of income, and If the existing students of the institutions also have not paid the payments, the institution will be under severe financial crisis. Paying the salary is not the only commitment of the academic institutions. They must manage the physical infrastructure; renew the library subscriptions and software licenses. With the drying of funds, all these can’t be met.

The concern of the AICTE is that as many people's regular income got affected during the pandemic time, they may not be able to pay the fees. But, many (parents working in government sectors, reputed private organizations, and essential services) have a stable income. With the AICTE notifications, parents having regular income also do not bother paying the fees on time. Already, many colleges and schools have reduced the salary of the teachers.

Students and parents should understand that their fee is the employees’ salary. When they failed to pay the fees, the faculty and staff got affected. Hence, on moral and ethical grounds, those parents who have a regular income should not hesitate to pay the fees on time. The government can help those parents who lost the income to pay the fees through bank loans. This will discourage the (wilful) defaulters from not paying the fees, helps the needy people with money, and safeguard a sector to function more effectively.

(The views expressed in this article are of the author)

ABOUT AUTHOR

Dr Bala Subramanian R, Assistant Professor, (HRM), School of Commerce, Xavier University Bhubaneswar. Specialised in the area of OB and HRM.


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