BANGALORE: Hundreds of African students land here every year, hoping Bangalore is the promised land that would deliver them from the poverty and backwardness of their homeland. But the dreams of most crashland, as they realize the colleges that promise to catapult them into a bright future, shortchange them at every step.
Nelson (name changed), whose father sold their land and raised a loan to get his son enrolled for a bachelor’s degree in computer science at a private college, arrived in Bangalore and got his first shock when he visited the college near Banaswadi , East Bangalore.
“I was almost in tears as the college management told me the course I had paid for was not available. They offered me a course in law. Law and computer science are like chalk and cheese. I had neither the interest nor the passion ,” he told TOI.
Nelson, who’s from Ghana , discovered he wasn’t the only one to be cheated by the city college.
Admission there, fraud here
Several colleges send middlemen to African nations and advertise on websites to market their courses. Most courses exist only on paper. Managements have an escape hatch: they say they’re waiting for government permission. African students are fleeced in case of legal courses — they have to pay three times the fee an Indian pays. The admission drama plays out in August and September. Admission fee is collected and receipts are issued when the students are still in Africa. They need them to obtain visas.
Hassle-free CET soon, says govt
The government is mulling bringing a law to ensure hassle-free admission through CET. The proposed Act will regulate both admission process and fee structures of both medical and engineering colleges. The law will regulate private medical colleges in the allotment of seats, according to medical education minister Sharan Prakash R Patil. P 5 ‘Political links hinder probe’
“We brought the matter to the notice of the embassy. Based on their direction, we filed a police complaint. But now the college is not ready to repay even my admission fee, saying it’s nonrefundable ,” he said.
Nelson had come to the city on a student visa and has already lost one year. “After much difficulty, I joined a diploma certificate course, which is not of much use. But I’ve lost nearly Rs 3 lakh because of this college,” he explained.
Police sources said that in the past two years, there are at least 60 such complaints of cheating lodged by African students against colleges that promise them a good course, and fail to keep their word. Most of these colleges are located in East Bangalore. Most of the students are from Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria.
A senior police official said on condition of anonymity that they face political pressure on acting against such colleges. “Yes, we get many such complaints . These colleges run a well-organized racket,” he said.
“A college principal in East Bangalore faces several such cases. But our hands are tied as the college management has political connections. Every year, around 1,500 students from African countries arrive here. But only around 1,000 complete the course, the others simply vanish after they are shortchanged by their colleges,” he added.