New Delhi: Last week, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students from a private engineering college in Chennai were made to wait for 30 minutes outside the exam hall as punishment because their fees had not been paid.
The Tamil Nadu government stated that it has not released the SC/ST Post Matriculation Scholarship amount since June 2017 due to the Central government’s failure to release its share of the amount, according to a Times of India story.
The students of Shri Andal Alagar College of Engineering in Mamandur were caught in the crossfire between the state government and the Centre over the release of the SC/ST grant which is used to pay their fees. The students are not expected to pay it themselves, rather the government has to directly pay the fees to the concerned institution.
Andal College initially stated that it did not penalise any student by making them wait outside the examination hall, but later said that it will look into the matter. The management, however, did admit that students were often pulled up for not having paid their fees.
The government’s failure to release SC/ST grants affects thousands of students in colleges affiliated to the state-run Anna University.
This is not the first time that students from disadvantaged communities have been harshly penalised for not being able to pay fees.
In February this year, a class XI student in Hyderabad was punished by her school for not paying Rs 2,000 as fee. She later committed suicide at home.
According to a news report, the girl was made to stand outside the class for not paying fee on the day she was to appear for her examination. The school authorities reportedly barred her from taking the examination.
In 2015, a 14-year-old in Telangana killed himself after being humiliated in school for failing to pay fee. The same year, a 17-year-old jumped off the third floor of his private college. He fractured his legs and broke his back from the fall. An NDTV report quoted him saying, “My father doesn’t have enough to pay fees. Every time, the college would harass us to pay. They also hound us over marks.”
The son of a driver from Warangal, the student spoke about how his college had made him stand outside the building for three hours. They let him in only after his father promised to pay the outstanding Rs 25,000 fee.