Laughing fine to beard fee: How Kerala colleges squeeze students
- Discipline officers make regular raids in hostels for mobile phones.
- Challenging your teachers or questioning the management will have dire consequences.
The death of engineering student Jishnu Pranoy who put an end to his life last week after being harassed by the college authorities, has opened a Pandora’s Box for the private self-financing colleges in Kerala. When the agitating students received a strong public support when the shocking details of the harassment and torture they underwent in Nehru Enginnering College were revealed, bizarre and shocking practices existing in colleges across the state came to light.
The copy of the receipt for Rs.50 exacted by the authorities of Vimal Jyothi Engineering College in Kannur is doing round on the social media. The fine imposed for ‘laughing!’ Another college slapped a fine for Rs.500 for having food in class room during lunch hour!
The college authorities create an atmosphere of fear and the students dare not to speak out. Students of Nehru College opened a Facebook page to expose its management through trolls. Facebook took it down four times for ‘unknown’ reasons!
Ironically, the Kerala Technical University (KTU) itself issued circular gagging students from speaking to media. When students of various colleges under the university raised a protest recently for postponement of examinations, the KTU issued a circular against such 'nefarious activities.'
"The students of the colleges should first represent the matter to the principal and the principal may forward the request to the higher authorities including the university depending on the merit of the case and with clear recommendations." The university also warned students to face "the consequences of misusing telephone, mails and social media based on the acts and cyber laws of this country," the circular said.
A few customs in currency in self financing colleges in Kerala:
- Never question the management or teachers.
- Challenging your teachers or questioning the management will have dire consequences. Apart from harassment, the student may miss the semester!
- Don’t mingle with other gender: many colleges have disciplinary officers who will keep an eye on boys and girls and make sure that they don’t speak.
- Cameras will be everywhere in the campus, except in toilets. So, it won’t be difficult to catch those who violate the rule. If caught, the students will be harassed and fined.
- No mobile phones after 8 pm: Forget smartphones, some colleges don’t even allow multimedia phones. Fine up to 2,500 for bringing phone to college.
- Discipline officers make regular raids in hostels for mobile phones. Recently, when these officers raided the girls’ hostel of a college, the inmates were locked up in the mess room.
- Low on marks? Get out! Insult and injury await poor performers.
Fine is imposed for:
- Late coming
- Sporting beard.
- Speaking to other gender.
- Bad hairstyle.
- Huge fine for late payment of fees.
- Keeping mobile phone.
- For not properly tucking in shirt.
The list is endless. A college exacted around Rs.10 lakh from students as fine in a year!
Colleges keep an online depository on the 'disciplinary history' of students.
Every college has a complaint box placed in its premises. But students don't use it. Guess why?