One of the most talked-about institution of India i.e. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is right now suffering from the darker clouds of protest against fee hike.
There is a major hike in the hostel fees from Rs.20 to Rs.600 for a single person per month. The mess charges are also doubled along with the additional charges of Rs.1,700 for sanitation and maintenance. These hikes in the fees are enough for protests as many of the students of JNU belong to backward socio-economic classes.
Hence, thousands of JNU students protested in front of the Council For Technical Education against the hike in New Delhi on Monday, November 11th 2019.
Meanwhile, the JNU administration justified their modification by blaming the time gap. They haven’t made any change in the past three decades. They need funds to maintain the campus infrastructure. JNU Registrar Pramod Kumar said last week, “JNU is incurring an expenditure of more than Rs 10 crore per annum for payment towards the service charges. These charges are not paid by UGC”.
However, the JNU teachers have made a reference about the university’s 2017-18 annual report, which represented that more than 40% of JNU students came from families who have a monthly income of less than 12,000. They are the ones who will be most affected by the hike. This will certainly result in an increase in the number of dropouts. Students most probably have to take up meagre jobs to support their families.
The fee hike is seen as a cause of concern by female students, said Indu Kumari (25yrs) studying M.Phil. in Women’s studies.
“There are so many female students in JNU who continue with their studies only to avoid being forcefully married off back home. That has been possible since education is cheap here. For a lot of people, the increase to Rs500-600 might not seem much, but you need to consider where we are coming from,” she said.
“We need much more accessibility and support for diverse students. It’s unprecedented how in the last few years we have been getting a diverse community of students trying to access higher education in universities. The problem is that we have not invested enough in good quality public institutions of higher education and we don’t even have the numbers and kinds of teachers who can support this diversity. The students of JNU are rightly and unanimously protesting against this, not only for themselves but for the millions who will be deprived of a rightful opportunity to access good education,” said Anita Rampal, former Professor of Education, Delhi University.
JNU was known for giving concessions to the students with a policy called “deprivation points” to support the students who are financially unstable and below the poverty line, in terms of creating future leaders. The university had to remove this policy in 2017 for the students taking admission in M.Phil. and PhD. Even though the policy is still in action for undergraduate and postgraduate students.