New chapter poised to open in Andhra intermediate education

Amaravati: Secondary education in Andhra Pradesh is going to change from 2021-2022 academic year as many aspects known to the public for decades will cease to exist, opening a new chapter of higher secondary education in the state.

Strictly online admission, fixed fee and women’s reservation in admission in SC, ST, Other Backward Classes (OBC) and all junior colleges among others will bring unprecedented change.

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Board of Intermediate Education (BIE) secretary V. Ramakrishna said all these illegal offline admissions have no official sanction and will not be recognized. “They don’t have any sanctity or clearance from the board. We give a login and only through this the details of the students can be entered and it will be considered as proper entry to get hall-tickets for BIE Intermediate exam Will go,” Ramakrishna told IANS.

All other illegal offline admissions will not be recognized by BIE. This is important as some of the popular junior colleges have already admitted hundreds of students illegally, even BIE has not released the notification for admission.

“Junior Colleges merely entering the names of the students in their register will not make the admission in BIE Intermediate valid. They are taking admission informally like booking slots,” the secretary said.

Further, he said that it will not be easy for the board to trace the admissions offline as colleges can easily manipulate. Ease of getting admission into the college of the student’s choice, eliminating illegal custody of certificates with college management and data integrity are the goals of online admissions.

BIE has also done away with the need to physically verify the Class 10 certificates and other documents of the students, which is a much abused process to gain complete dominance over the students.

With this move, the Andhra Pradesh government aims to cut the wings of several corporate junior colleges, which have a notorious record of harassing students by keeping their certificates.

The online process enables a student to join a college without the need to submit any physical certificate or even e-certificate to the college management.

With an aim to put an end to the decades-long widespread misuse and indiscriminate commercialization of intermediate education in the southern state, the board introduced online only admission from this academic year.

Apart from these illegal admissions, the corporate colleges are also demanding the students to pay more fees during the online classes which they are conducting now but the board has other plans.

Considering the profiteering nature of these institutions, BIE is working on capping fees for Intermediate course, which depends on the nature of admission like Day Scholar, Boarding, Intermediate Tuition and Competitive Exam Coaching and others.

“Now the process of finalizing the fee is almost over. It will be announced soon. Then there will be clarity,” he said.

Following this process, the Board will clearly define the fee structure for Day Scholar admission, hostel admission, transportation and coaching cost, which cannot be violated at any cost.

The fee structure will be uniform across the state, which will be decided by the Andhra Pradesh School Education Regulatory Monitoring Commission (APSERMC).

APSERMC reserves the right to decide the fee structure for tuition as well as coaching.

Now the fee portion will be clarified as colleges will be required to give clear bills of tuition fee, coaching fee and others, unlike the earlier practice of creating ambiguity and taking gullible teachers and students for a ride.

“Now you can demand from colleges to write in the challan what is the cost of coaching? What is the meaning of coaching? How much for intermediate? It is fixed. That clarity will come. We are not stopping them from giving coaching. Only One thing is they are merging both tuition and coaching and collecting fees.”

Ramakrishna, a senior Indian Revenue Service (IRS) official, highlighted that the private intermediate education lobby and corporate college cartels are always on their toes to initiate any long-pending reforms.

While it is illegal to merge intermediate courses with coaching classes of competitive exams for tests like Engineering, Agriculture and Medical Common Entrance Test (EAMCET) or Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), the status quo continues for the time being.

EAMCET coaching classes are classified as tutorial classes as per section 32 of the Education Act and the institutions wishing to enter this segment will have to take separate permission from the government and have their own facilities, which is different from intermediate colleges.

BIE is keen to take strong action on these illegal practices and has already sent files to the government for separation of intermediate classes and coaching classes, which are yet to come.

To implement the reservation, Ramakrishna said that the board will issue a circular, clearly stating all the rules and instructions to be followed.

On the online admission process, the secretary said, “In the first week of August, the board is planning to hold a meeting with the stakeholders of intermediate education. We will take the views of the stakeholders, compile our instructions and issue circulars.”

Based on the instructions of the Health Department, physical classes are likely to start from mid-August.

He said that the admission notification for first year students is getting delayed as the actual result for SSC students is yet to be declared though all have passed.

According to Ramakrishna, considering the reforms introduced in the form of online admission, reservation and fee structure, the 2021-22 academic year will be fundamentally different from the past, while the 1:40 teacher student ratio will take some time to implement.

The southern state has a strong presence in all branches of education, from kindergarten to college and university, to profiteering corporate players who have made money for decades, taking gullible students and parents along for the ride with their promises.

Ramakrishna says he is on a mission to clean up intermediate education, which has been misused for decades and condoned by successive governments and authorities.

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