As the summer gets hotter, time has come once again for the season of dreams achieved and dreams shattered, time for decisions that can change ones life and most importantly the time parents feel the heat in their pockets. Yes we are talking about the season of results and admissions into higher courses.
As the result dates of various 12th board exams and various entrance exams (especially Engineering and Medical)approaches, the parents of the students who appeared in these exams are found contacting various brokers already for securing admissions into different engineering and medical colleges across India. This is especially true for students who are not very well off academically but their parents want to make them engineers or doctors in private institutions with their money. The preferred destinations are the same as every year. For engineering, in order of preference it is Tamil Nadu (Chennai and Coimbatore), Karnataka (Bangalore, Tumkur and Manipal), Maharashtra (Nagpur and Pune), Orissa and Sikkim (only Sikkim Manipal University). Here, we would take a look at the various loop holes which the parents as well as students of Assam need to be aware of.
High donation – more amounts paid by parents of Assam
Bedata, a student hailing from Sivasagar,currently in third year of Electronics Engineering in SRM University, Chennai says his father paid two and a half lakhs rupee donation in addition to the college enrollment and other fees. He was shocked to find his room mate from Kota (Rajasthan) to have enrolled for the same course for only fifty thousand.
Jyotisman, a student from Siddaganga Institute of Technology, Tumkur (Karnataka) complained the same thing, – his father had paid five lakhs for getting a seat in the Electronics and Telecommunication Department only to find his counterparts from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and even Nepal to have enrolled with less than half of what he paid.
Bitopi, a student of Priyadarshini College of Engineering in Nagpur said her friend from the same school, who had come to the college a year earlier, had acted as a mediator between her parents and the agents to give her admission and took two lakhs rupee. A year later Bitopi found that the agent actually took ninety thousand and the rest of the money just went to her friend’s account!
There are thousands of such examples and known reports where students of Assam and North east are found to have paid higher donation than students from other states. And following are the reasons:
- No questions asked or bargain -It is nothing to do with discrimination with Assam. The brokers who manage admissions of students coming from Assam have found that parents of Assam do not usually question about the money asked for, or never bargain at all. Students from other states usually question a lot and refuse to take a seat if amount asked is not suitable. Parents from Assam, on the other hand, are usually desperate to secure a seat for their son or daughter and pays without a question. In almost all cases, there is no receipt for the donation money paid and works on the model of bribery.
- Artificial Unavailability of seats -Agents usually makes the parent wait for a few days at the hotel he is staying without results and then create an artificial unavailability of seats, claiming that seats are full in the college and only he can manage if the amount he has asked for is paid. In 90 percent of the cases, parents do pay whatever amount is asked dreaming about a bright future for his child and in 100% of those cases, a huge percentage of the donation money does not even reach the college but only the pocket of the agent.
- When your trusted friend’s son acts as the agent to rob your money– In many cases, the ex students of a college or current students themselves act as brokers or agents to admission. In such cases, the ones from Assam makes sure they reap off the same or more amount from parents of new aspiring students. The parents too believe that since the person helping them is also from Assam, in most cases a son or daughter of a friend or relative, they blindly trust them only to end up paying lakhs of money.
Beware of Frauds
Fraudsters are in abundance in the admission industry. Last year, Dulal Saikia from Nagaon paid around two lakhs rupee to a person surnamed Kumar, who claimed to be the official agent of MIT (a premier engineering institute of Pune). Mr. Saikia and many others had come to meet him in a hotel in Guwahati reading advertisements in local newspapers. The person claimed to be from the admissions department of the college and even produced documents. Dulal Saikia paid all the money he had borrowed from his friends for his child’s future, only to find no trace of that person in future. On contacting the college, they denied to know anyone by that name and confirmed they do not send out anyone for admissions. Saikia and many other are ruined now and his son studies Physics major in a local college.
In SRM University, Chennai two parents have lodged complaints against few former students (who act as agents) who took lakhs of rupee from them promising to get them seats for their children. These brokers now claim that they have never received any money and the parents can not prove this, for there was no receipt or acknowledgement for the money paid all in cash. The college authorities are completely out of the scope of the dispute and the parents are hunting agents instead of hunting a seat for their children.
The above cases are not few exceptions. These happen every year and to hundreds of sufferers. Yet nothing can be done by authorities or by the people due to lack of evidence. In most cases the ignorance of the parents are to be blamed for this.
Is it really worth it?
Debajyoti, from a lower middle class family in Jorhat, passed out of an Engineering college of Nagpur university and now says he feels deeply frustrated and blames himself. His father had arranged with great difficulty a donation of two lakhs rupee and a
loan for his fees of over three lakhs (other living expenses extra). Debajyoti took two additional years to complete his engineering degree due to constant backlogs in his exams and now works for a mere ten thousand rupee salary in a call centre in Pune. His relatives and neighbors back home feels prod of his engineering degree and his working in a MNC in a metro! But truth is he can not even pay back the loan his father had taken for his education. Ten thousand, he says is too less for surviving in Pune and he knows he can not go back to Jorhat for he would not get any good job there, specially now that everyone knows he is a engineer and works in MNC! He now blames himself saying he should not have done his engineering as his results in 12th (52%) and his low all Indian rank in engineering entrance exams had showed he should not have pursued engineering.
Debajyoti is not just an exception again. There are thousands of students from Assam who rush to private colleges outside Assam to pursue an engineering or medical by paying donation, after they were rejected in the entrance exams and failing to get good score in their 12th boards. The smart and the meritorious ones do make it good from those colleges and gets good jobs in campus placements. But hundreds of others just move on to live a hopeless life with mere jobs in call centers, small firms, – something for which they never wasted so much money for a degree.
With medical students, the concern is even bigger. How justified is to allow a person rejected by all entrance exams to become a doctor with money and not with merit to play with lives of sick people? In fact donations to medical colleges are much more
expensive and may range from ten lakhs to fifty lakhs depending on the college.
In Guwahati, there has been a growth like that of mushrooms with consultancy offices of brokers and agents who arranges for admission to colleges outside Assam. Almost all of them have tie ups with brokers or students of various colleges across students who acts to negotiate with the college authorities. And almost all of them charges high money and fools the parents who come to them for seats.
It is high time that parents as well as students of Assam start realizing the truth. Student Bodies, civil organizations and Government authorities are all silent on the corruption of admission by paying money. Every year hundreds of crores of money goes out of Assam as bribery to get admission to students of Assam and yet everyone seems to be silent about it. There is no use shouting against corruption if we continue letting our own young generation get degrees with a mean of corruption.
Disclaimer: Some names mentioned above have been changed as per request for anonymity.