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As CET Row Rages on in State, Top Education Officials Go Missing

Two education-related departments in the state are languishing without heads as confusion reigns over this year’s CET.exam-notification-

Private professional college managements and the government are at loggerheads over seat sharing and fee structures, plunging the CET process into uncertainty, and leaving parents and students worried.

The Medical Education Department is being run by an in-charge principal secretary to the Health Department, who has other things on his plate. No one is in charge of the Higher Education Department.

Where are the Bosses?

Medical Education Secretary Rashmi V is on long leave, and Higher Education Principal Secretary Rajneesh Goel is on an official tour of the United Kingdom.

Principal Secretary to the Department of Health and Family Welfare, N Sivasailam, is overseeing medical education in the interim. In the Higher Education Department, Goel, who is expected back on Tuesday, has not handed over charge to anyone. After Rashmi took a tough line on seat sharing that the private colleges did not like, she was allegedly pressured to go on leave for 15 days. Many politicians run professional colleges. Miffed, she applied for leave for 125 days, and left.

The elections are adding to the confusion. The Election Commission had roped in Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) Executive Director Ramegowda. He wrote to them, explaining the need for him to stay back at KEA, and got an exemption from election duty.

According to senior officials, the role of IAS officers and senior bureaucrats is crucial in settling the CET confusion, which has left thousands of students in a quandary.

“Officials are as important as ministers in negotiating with the private professional college managements. They are the ones who sign the agreement finally,” a senior KEA official told Express.

In the meantime, the High Court has directed the state government to fix fees for professional colleges in accordance with the Karnataka Professional Educational Institutions (Regulation of Admissions and Determination of Fee) Act of 2006.

“When the departments are headless, who will take these big decisions?” wondered a former official.  Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande and Medical Education Minister Sharan Prakash Patil were not available for comment.

Officials indispensable

In some instances, CET-related problems have been solved in the absence of ministers. During President’s rule, CET 2008 issues found redressal at the hands of former IAS officers who served as advisors to the governor.

What do college managements do when the CET gets into a tangle?

Step 1: Meet secretaries

Step 2: Meet ministers

Step 3: Meet chief minister

Date: April 12th, 2014

Source: The New Indian Express