ANANTAPUR: It is highly likely that the state government will again reimburse the tuition fees for Pharmacy D – Doctor of Pharmacy – students under the Jagananna Vidya Deevena program. This will benefit about 14,000 Pharmacy D students in Andhra Pradesh. The AP State Board for Higher Education (APSCHE) is submitting the relevant case for consideration by the state government, council chairman Dr. Hemachandra Reddy revealed.
Deccan Chronicle previously highlighted the plight of Pharma D students following the withdrawal of the fee reimbursement facility previously available to them under Vidya Deevena. The reason given when the fee refund was withdrawn was that it was a postgraduate course and the Deevena program was restricted to students preparing for their degree or bachelor’s degree.
Although the six-year course leads to a doctoral degree equivalent to a post-graduation, students join the course shortly after completing their intermediate education or pharmacy degree. DC pointed out that the six-year duration of the course leads first to graduation, followed by post-graduation. The course is therefore different from other postgraduate courses and is similar to professional courses. Reimbursement of costs could therefore be provided for in a particular case.
Following the DC report, the APSCHE president said Pharma D students, who had previously been eligible for the Jagananna Vidya Deevena program, do not need to pay their college fees. He also ordered college principals not to pressure students or parents about paying fees. In addition, Pharma D colleges, which have withheld certificates for non-payment of fees, must return these certificates to students; as they will get reimbursement of expenses under the Jagananna Vidya Deevena scheme.
Deccan Chronicle also pointed out that after obtaining funds from the Vidya Deevena program, several private PG colleges failed to refund tuition fees they had already collected from students, in some cases forcibly. The colleges have turned the program into a source of revenue for management.
In AP, 59 colleges offer the Pharma D course. Students are attracted to this course because it is similar to MBBS.
Dr Hemachandra Reddy said: “The course is different from other PG courses as students have to study all six years. We are moving a case to resolve the issue. APSCHE.